#BRING BACK MY CHOIR

#Bring back my Choir #Bring back my Band

This is a major campaign launched by Making Music. Working on behalf of amateur musicians in the UK, they are extremely proactive in representations to Government for a route back to performance.

‘Government guidance on reopening the performing arts published on 9 July has caused widespread disappointment, prohibiting amateur groups or groups with amateur participants – unlike professionals – to play or sing together, except in the numbers of people currently allowed to meet in public. 

It goes further to say that singing and playing wind and brass instruments isn’t even allowed in those numbers.

The guidance (England only) will only be reviewed when the results of just commissioned research into droplet and aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are available. The devolved administrations are expected to issue similar guidance shortly (Wales: this week, Scotland: next two weeks, NI: n/a).

Many groups, before the guidance came out, were looking forward to meeting again, even with strict risk management measures, and were already hard at work creating a new normal, just as pubs, hairdressers and gyms are doing – considering small sectionals outside, inventing new ways of making music together in socially distanced ways, planning some sort of future. Now, not even groups of 6 outside are permitted if you are singers or wind or brass players; and still only groups of 6 outside if you play anything else.

There is no explanation why amateurs are being treated differently to professionals in this guidance.’ Extract from Making Music’s campaign.

The music industry is currently being significantly supported by amateur musicians. Newcastle Choral Society along with many other local choirs, employs freelance professional music teachers, many professional singers, pays rent and purchases performance materials, as well as hiring concert halls and other venues. 

So until things change significantly, we must rely on our Zoom sessions on Monday nights. We had a surprise guest recently! Will Todd popped into give us a quick run through of Benedictus from his Mass In Blue. What a treat!

Our great achievement this year while in Lockdown was our 2 videos released on YouTube https://youtu.be/BWrFwA-0dEs and https://youtu.be/TxbOUeBSiGs Views exceeded 3000 over the 2 clips. Members of NCS and the Hertfordshire Chorus sang excerpts from James McCarthy’s Codebreaker which we would have sung in Sage Gateshead on 3.5.20 but now rescheduled for 16.5.21. All fingers crossed for that performance.

The second video released on the day of VE75, featured footage of the ‘Forces sweetheart’ Vera Lynn who died recently aged 103!  Poignant wartime images as a backdrop to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Sing me at Morn’.

Both videos featured recently on Star & Shadow Radio(https://www.starandshadow.org.uk) Star & Shadow Cinema is an entirely volunteer run community arts organisation supporting local artists, minority groups and disadvantaged people. It has recently moved online into the radio world.

One of our members is a volunteer there and recently co-presented a  programme called ‘Virtual Music-Making in a Virtual World’ about virtual music performances in the northeast. It featured NCS/HC performing Codebreaker and an interview with Mark Anyan our Musical Director.You can listen again here. It featured on 7th July 2020.
The programme also included contributions from several local bands and another choir, as well as interviews with Mark and other directors and performers.
Part of the purpose was to encourage other groups in the northeast to step into the virtual world themselves.
 
This may be the only choice while the guidance on Amateur performance is awaited!

 

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Land of Singing Waters – Words and Music from Northumbria and Beyond

Our summer concert this year was held on Saturday 11 June 2016 in the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Westgate Road; a new venue for the choir.
We were joined by some North East celebrities in an event featuring music, words, and even some dancing, from the local area and beyond.

Kevin Whately
Kitty Whately
Madelaine Newton
Will Lang and Guests
Pianist Joseph Middleton
Music by Will Todd and Will Lang along with more traditional folk music

REVIEW: The Chronicle and Journal published this fantastic review by David Whetstone: click here for review

Prior to the concert, the Chronicle and Journal also published this article with more information about the Whatelys, and the link which was uncovered between the Tyne Theatre and our Chairman! – Chronicle Live Article

Thank you to everyone involved in making this event a great success, and if you came along we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Land of Singing Waters 2

 

 

 

 

 

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The Creation – Joseph Haydn

Our concert on Saturday 19 March 2016 featured The Creation by Haydn, and was held in the Banqueting Suite of Newcastle Civic Centre.

These fabulous soloists joined us:
Angela Hicks, Soprano
Ben Thapa, Tenor
Dominic Barberi, Bass

We were supported by our friends Orchestra North East, and our Musical Director Mark Anyan conducted.

This concert was dedicated to the memory of John Parker, loyal member of the choir who died in November 2015.  A closing collection was held in aid of the Hadrian Trust, and raised over £730.  The Trust is a registered charitable trust allocating grants to charities and groups working for the benefit of the people and the environment of Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham, including Hartlepool, for which John acted as solicitor, trustee, correspondent and administrator for almost 40 years.

Creation sides

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Carol Singing

In the run up to Christmas, we enjoyed some carol singing:-

On 12 December we sang in Eldon Square on behalf of the Samaritans, and helped to raise an amazing £1253.  Thank you to everyone who came along to support us.

On 19 December we were pleased to have 2 slots singing in The Alnwick Garden.

We also helped provide some festive cheer for the residents of a care home in Newcastle.

Looking forward to next year……….!

 

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Mass in Blue / Christmas

Our concert on 5 December 2015 was held in the Banqueting Suite of Newcastle Civic Centre.  The main feature was Mass in Blue, by local composer Will Todd.  We were delighted that the Will Todd Trio, including of course the composer, took part in our performance.  The Trio was really fantastic, as was Sue Ferris playing saxophone.    Soprano soloist Lorna James was absolutely fabulous.

In addition to the exciting Mass in Blue performance, there was a selection of favourite traditional Christmas music to provide seasonal cheer, and we were pleased to be accompanied by the great Mike Dutton on piano.

The choir thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and hope the audience did too!

 

We held a closing collection in aid of the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which provides support to families with a seriously ill child.  Will Todd is very close to this charity, and he spoke about its work at the concert.
Rainbow Trust

Mass in Blue and Christmas Flier

 

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“Down South”

Our concert on 20 June 2015 featured music the Latin-American way!

Constant Lambert – THE RIO GRANDE
Ariel Ramirez – MISA CRIOLLA
Bocanegra (pub.): Hanacpachap Cussicuinin
Fernandez: Xicochi

We were very lucky to have guest Tenor Andrew Friedhoff (website) with us.   Andrew performed 3 solo pieces: ‘No Puede Ser’, ‘La Paloma’, and ‘Granada’, before joining us for the Misa Criolla.
We also welcomed David Curry, founder of the Newcastle Guitar Orchestra (website), who accompanied us in the Misa Criolla as well as performing a solo piece: ‘Milonga’.
Our fabulous pianists David Murray and Eileen Bown treated us to Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.  It was fantastic to watch their fingers flying over the 2 pianos!

"Down South" - Latin American concert on 20 June 2015

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