Described as our tenth anniversary season ( although records suggest both Wolsingham and Crook had choral societies which were functioning in the late 1930s) we sang ten concerts in ten different venues adding Willington Saint Stephens to the growing list of churches that we have visited. We welcomed some new singers: thanks to them, I hope they feel settled and welcomed. Next season promises at least one new tenor a new soprano, two altos and a Bass. But we may be saying farewell to Arthur and Ann – two of our most loyal and much loved members – we hope that they will sing with us for as long as they can and we wish them well in their new home - they will be an asset to any town or village they move to and they must join the local choir. One or two members have not been so well lately – best wishes to Pat, Cyril, Marjorie, Ellis and Mary (our totally committed artist in residence) we hope they have a good summer and will be back to full strength next season. Finally we lost a great supporter and singer when Lily Armstrong died at the great age of 97 during the summer. She was an inspiration to those of us who knew her and she and her family were real musicians who with great joy shared their skills with others and developed the tradition of choral singing in the area. She was a great lady and will be remembered – especially when we sing Non Nobis Domine.
Looking back - the Harvest Concert in Willington last October was good but not one of our top notch performances, with a number of members unable to attend and a problem with the printing of the programme. However the large audience seemed to enjoy the evening and the church raised a good sum. Four Christmas concerts – Hamsterley (reminding us of something from Thomas Hardy), Crook (more Laurel and Hardy!) Auckland Castle (very grand) and an amazing Nine Lessons and Carols at a packed Stanley church. Great carols and great singing with faith and gusto!!
On to Bowes Museum for a splendid evening of beautiful solos, atmospheric instrumental music and superb choral singing. The plaudits still resonate and what a wonderful setting.
I’m glad we managed Stainer’s Crucifixion in Lent at Stanley with our new Baritone find – Chris Johns. It was a very moving performance, putting us in the right frame of mind for Holy Week and Easter, with great accompaniment, on a lovely organ, from Alan Coombes, in a chapel that always gives us a very warm welcome (both metaphorically and literally!).
Haydn’s Creation was a challenge for us and I am sorry that I backed out of performance with an orchestra. However the performances at both Blanchland and Stanley Crook with the organ, were excellent. Blanchland, very special with its monastic links to Weardale and Crook, and a super organ, and organist – Alan scores again; a good acoustic and great choral (after a cautious start) and solo singing. Stanley Crook was even better in terms of a performance – a new Bass, but more confident, assured and inspired singing from the choir and once again superbly accompanied by Alan.
In between our “Creating”, the lovely church of Witton le Wear welcomed us with a varied programme which included a farewell Clarinet performance from Stephanie – lovely tone and beautiful playing of the Swan by Saint Saens. Good luck to her at University – sadly the average age of the choir rises again – although one or two of our new members and perhaps Vera’s practice of getting a year younger every year, will help!!! Our instrumentalists showed off their considerable skills in a very clear and yet warm acoustic and our soloists brought humour and sentiment to the evening wonderfully supported by David on the piano and the organ – great feedback from that evening capped by a very generous and spirited spread in the Methodist Church Hall. People often comment on the quality and sincerity of our singing and the depth of talent in our choir with our soloists and our instrumentalists. Thanks to everyone for using your talents so selflessly and generously.
Our finale was the choir party at Stanhope. Thanks to Margaret, Sheila and Judith for organising – a wonderfully happy evening with some great singing and super Quiz ( thanks to Heather) and a fantastic buffet. Numbers were down this year – was it the fact it was a Saturday night?
So a great 04/05 season – what of 05/06.
Well here we go. Firstly the Weardale Festival has invited to take part this year and I thought a concert of well known choral works (Jesu joy – Zadok, Halleluia- Achieved – Hebrew Slaves etc) would be appropriate.
After that David has asked us to sing at a Fundraising Gala concert at Consett Civic Theatre – again well known choral pieces. NB. It’s a Saturday evening and we must be clear on numbers well in advance. We need enough members to maintain the reputation of the choir.
A revival of the Faure Requiem at Ushaw College for Remembrance Sunday – I thought it appropriate with the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and a desire to reflect on the tragedy of the 7th July London bombings.
Christmas will bring Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols as well as tried and tested and new carol arrangements.
Lent- one of the cantatas – I would like to try Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary; and Eastertide - the Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan William – (they are lovely) and the Three Songs of Praise by Dyson – no relation to the Hoover!
Our summer offering will be a new programme of songs and solos to take around the churches and chapels of the District finishing with our end of term reprise at Stanley Crook. *A number of the venues are indicative and still to be confirmed – so be cautious. All concerts other than Rotary Carols start at 7.30.p.m.
Things to do:-
Take a rain-check on our practice venue – we have plenty of space at St Cuthbert’s School Hall but no interval refreshments and more importantly the acoustic is a bit too generous for practising. It’s a pity we couldn’t take on St. Andrews as the URC members are joining up with the Methodist Church in Crook and moving to the new Saint Andrews in Dawson Street. Just a thought!!!
Look at our ticketing and publicity policy – we have had some concerts where there have been more in the choir than in the church – would it help if we sold tickets, got into more local newspapers, Classic FM events, local news etc.
In Arthur’s absence we need someone to help Fred with stage management arrangements and we may need one or two new boxes.
Mike is sorting out our position with Gift Aid and our charitable status over the summer which should yield some extra income from tax concessions.
So thanks for all your commitment, good humour and joyful singing over the last year, welcome to our new members and I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer. See you prompt 7.25.p.m. September 13th at St Cuthbert’s School Hall with your Faure if you have one, your Messiah and the rest of the sheet music.
CWCS 2005/06 Season
Sept 13th Michaelmus Term starts
Oct 4th Weardale Festival Concert Wolsingham C/E
Sat 8th Consett Civic Theatre
October Week Holiday
13th Remembrance Ushaw College
Dec 6th Carols Frosterley Chapel/Church*
13th Carols at Wolsingham Church of England
17th Rotary carols Crook St Andrew’s Dawson Street
Christmas Holiday – no practice for two weeks
Jan 3rd Lent Terms starts
April 4th Lenten Music Stanley Methodist Chapel*
Easter Holliday no practice for two weeks
25th Summer term starts
May 2nd 5 Mystical Songs Wolsingham Methodist Church*
9th 5 Mystical Songs Crook St Cuthbert’s
Spring B Bank Holiday Week
20th Summer Music Eastgate Church/Chapel*
27th Summer Music St Bartholemew’s Thornley*
July 4th Final Concert Stanley Crook
11th End of Season Choir party