Members' Information

Members' Diary

We will start rehearsals again in September. The concert dates and programme are yet to be finalised but full information will be posted as soon as possible. It is going to be fun and exciting, though! 

Wed. 06 09 23         Term begins 7:00pm Finish 9:00pm

Sun. 24 09 23         ‘Big Sing’ in Alnwick Market Place, in                                    aid of Alzheimer’s Society.

Wed. 11th Oct         7:00pm AGM followed by rehearsal

Wed. 01 11 23          Half-Term Holiday

Sat. 18th Nov. 23     Anniversary Concert. A selection of movements from pieces we’ve sung in the past, followed by Vivaldi’s Gloria

Fri. 24th Nov.           Anniversary Dinner

Dec.  Dates and times of Christmas rehearsals in St Paul’s to be confirmed    

Sun. 17th Dec 23    Christmas Concert in St Paul’s at 3:00pm – music to be confirmed

Wed. 10 01 24         Term Begins

Wed. 21 02 24         Half-Term Holiday

Sat. 16 03 24          Spring Concert – Cherubini’s Requiem and some of Beethoven’s Mass in C 

Easter Holiday       27th March + 3rd & 10th April     

Wed. 17 04 24        Term Begins

Wed. 29 05 24       Half-Term Holiday

Sat. 22 06 24        Summer Concert 7pm in St Paul’s.          Pieces by Rutter et al, details to follow.

End of Term           [tbc]

Covid-safe return to rehearsals

A comprehensive risk assessment has been carried out by the committee to enable Alnwick and District Choral Society to return to rehearsals. By following covid-safe best practice we hope to minimise the risk of contracting covid. Please open the pdf to the right to reassure yourself that we take the pandemic very seriously and are taking all steps necessary to keep you safe.

Committee Members

Chair: Karen Carlson

Vice Chair: Paul Newman

Secretary: Jolanda Cartwright

Treasurer: Sheila Duncan 

Librarian: Joyce Clayton

Social Secretary:  Claire MacKarill 

Programmes, Posters & Publicity Rep: Paul Newman

Sop. Line Rep: Felicity Edmunds

Sop. Line Rep: Vicky Johnson

Alto Line Rep: Cindi Pexton-Shaw

Bass Line Rep: Colin Lesser

Tenor Rep & Website: Ian C Brown

Friends’ Secretary: Debbie Howey

Data Protection Officer: Joyce Clayton

Contact Info:

If choir members would like to contact their line rep, please make use of the dedicated link below. We will try to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for getting in touch!

Alto Line Rep

Bass Line Rep

Soprano Line Reps

Tenor Line Rep

Latest Version of Handbook for Members

Click Here

Online Poster

Spring Concert - 16 03 24

The Programme:

Please click on the programme for a better view

The music for our Spring Concert was chosen for its significance to Alan Gidney, who has been our marvellous organist and rehearsal pianist since Autumn 2010. It was special as it would be the last time he would accompany us. ADCS and Alan have journeyed musically through the years with great success, and on March 16th 2024 with the concert in St Paul’s Church, Alnwick we arrived full circle, as the Cherubini ‘Requiem’ was his first collaboration with the choir some 14 years ago and is one of his favourite works. Peter was very pleased with the controlled hushed singing and dramatic outbursts and the choir really enjoyed singing this lovely piece which for many is an overlooked treasure.

After the interval we sang Mendelssohn’s: ‘Verleih uns Frieden’, Rossini’s: ‘O salutaris Hostia’, Brahms’: ‘Geistliches Lied’ and Brückner’s: ‘Locus iste’ which were appreciated by the audience. Two contrasting organ solos by Karg-Elert followed– the slow paced, charming ‘Freu dich sehr, O meine Seele’ and the exuberant intricacies of ‘Nun danket alle Gott’. Alan closed his solo playing for ADCS with this beautiful ‘marche triomphale’ and it was an absolute delight. Karg-Elert is frequently performed by concert organists and this joyous improvisation is perhaps his most well-known and loved for its grand impressive flourishes and technical challenge.  Alan played brilliantly as always and went out on a high, what a wonderful piece of organ music!

We closed the concert with two movements from Beethoven’s ‘Mass in C’, the ‘Kyrie’ and ‘Agnus Dei’. They are both pleas for mercy, yet they embody a cheerfulness, a sense of hope and uplifting celebration; the repetition of ‘dona nobis pacem’ [a treat for tenors to sing] anticipates the peace of answered prayer. As the final ‘peace’ is breathed out and fills St. Paul’s with its stillness it is quite emotional – a farewell concert with such sublime music. Thank you to Peter our superb musical director and a final thank you to Alan Gidney. We wish you the very best. We will miss you so much. 

Online Poster

Carol Concert - 17 12 23

The Programme:

Please click on the programme for a better view

In our 90th Anniversary year it was wonderful to finish 2023 with a Christmas concert in St Paul’s. The first thing the audience would note were the Christmas jumpers the choir were wearing to celebrate and stay warm! I think the less serious attire had a positive impact on us as we were relaxed and confident singing. The audience enjoyed the carols sung by the choir and joined in with some traditional ones.

We sang a number of carols really hushed and enunciated the words very well, making it especially moving for some in the audience. Thank you to our soloists Frances Buckingham and Vicky Johnson who sang the opening verses beautifully in ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ which was recorded and can be listened to by clicking on the player below.

I love singing carols and fill the house and car with their beautiful sound as soon as it’s December.  My personal favourites from our Carol Concert: ‘The Infant King’ for its emotional intensity and because in four short verses it simultaneously portrays the birth of Jesus in the context of his later passion, death and resurrection. I also really enjoyed singing the tenor line of ‘The Shepherds’ Farewell’ which still is quite a new carol to me.

It was lovely to chat and catch up over mince pies: thank you to everyone who helped prepare and serve the refreshments and to those who took care of the raffle and tickets. I would also like to thank Alan Gidney for his excellent organ accompaniment and his solo ‘Interlude on Coventry Carol’. Lastly, thank you to our outstanding musical director, Peter Brown for bringing it all together.

We hope you have a have a very happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

"In the bleak mid-winter" Words: Christina Rossetti, Music: Harold Darke


Online Poster

90th Anniversary Concert - 18 11 23

The Programme:

Please click on the programme for a better view

The stirring and majestic ‘Zadok the Priest’ began our 90th Anniversary Concert. Its famous opening starts triumphantly, the music ever expanding, demonstrating authority and power as Solomon is anointed King with God’s blessing. The acoustics of St Paul are so good that no detail was lost. The coronation music is full of excitement and is meant to impress. What a way to start- immediately the tone of this anniversary concert in November is gloriously uplifting.

Each movement of our next program item, the ‘Patchwork Mass’ is taken from a different larger work which the choir has already sung and has significance to its members.  Each person in the audience and in the choir will have their own personal highlights, some overlapping. For many in the audience, particularly those who didn’t know the work, Karl Jenkins’ ‘Benedictus’ stood out as a beautiful piece of choral music, the soaring notes and repeated phrases calming and yet uplifting.

The more complex pieces such as the ‘Kyrie’ from the ‘Great’ Mass in C which opened our ‘Patchwork’ Mass, Stanford’s ‘Gloria’ in B flat and ‘Dona Nobis’ from the Mass in B minor by J.S. Bach went well. These were new to me and demanding to master; in the performance the tenors sang them almost as one voice so we were very happy afterwards. Our md, Peter is also a brilliant composer and we were thrilled to sing the ‘Agnus Dei’ from his Requiem Mass which he wrote for ADCS; this lovely reflective piece was my personal favourite. Technically this concert was excellent with alto, bass, soprano and tenor sections acquitting themselves very well. A special mention must go to the soprano soloist Veronica Gilbert whose wonderful performance in the ‘Kyrie’ brought us close to tears.

After the break we sang Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ in D. The music is joyous and the audience were very appreciative of this well-known dramatic masterpiece. Thank you to all the soloists, drawn from within the choir, who sang so beautifully: Sue Baines-MacNeill [contralto]; Frances Buckingham [alto] and Vicky Johnson [soprano]. The delightful duet ‘Laudamus te’ sung by Frances and Vicky was outstanding.

Thank you to Alan Gidney for his expert and sensitive organ playing and to our gifted md Peter Brown who showed the ability to conduct from the keyboard during parts of the ‘Goria’!

Thank you to Joyce Clayton, our amazing librarian, who regularly goes above and beyond, sourcing and dealing with all our choir music. Organising this interesting display which details the elements of our ‘Patchwork’ Mass and the significance behind each one for the society was a labour of love.

Online Poster

Brinkburn Summer Social - 18 06 23

Message from the Committee:

Reflecting on a very enjoyable day at Brinkburn it struck us that we’ve had a wonderful year singing together. We hope you agree. Our particular highlights were Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Handel’s Messiah and then capping it off with a fun and enjoyable day on Sunday. We’re sure you’ll have your own.

It was wonderful to see so many members participating in singing this term, despite it being the holiday season for many, and then for so many of you to join us at Brinkburn. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. 

We’d like to wish you all a wonderful holiday and we look forward to us all back together singing again in September

The Programme:

Relaxing with friends and family

Online Poster

Spring Concert - 01 04 23

The Concert Programme:

Please click on the programme for a better view

G. F. Handel: Messiah

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

Claire Boulter: Soprano
Sam Marston: Tenor

Beth Mackay: Alto
Patrick Owston: Bass

Handel’s ‘Messiah’ is one of the best loved pieces of sacred music sung in English. Our record audience closely followed the thrilling music, some sang along and many stood for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and gave a standing ovation. The night was something special.

Choirs mostly sing ‘Messiah’ at the start of Advent as it is culturally connected with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The inspirational oratorio covers the birth, life, passion and resurrection of Jesus; we sang it the day before Palm Sunday and the result was an emotional experience for everyone involved.

It is hard for visiting soloists [we had 3 new ones], who arrive not knowing the other soloists, professional musicians, nor the choir. At rehearsal we knew we were in for a treat when Sam Marston started to sing his first tenor recitative and aria ‘Comfort ye’ & ‘Every valley’. You could sense it, a desire to deliver their very best performance and throughout, a shared joy of singing with such stunning, young soloists. The musicians were also brilliant and ADCS rose to the challenge, too. We were delighted when the soloists sang the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and ‘Worthy is the lamb that was slain’, closing the performance with the ‘Amen’.

Peter was very pleased with the clarity of the choir’s singing and people commented on the diction and blend of dynamic contrasts. Although the choruses were quite spritely, there was always control and the performance flowed; the music had an unusual dramatic force.

My personal favourites: the tenor, Sam Marston’s first pieces which set the amazing standard; the graceful poise of Claire Boulter’s soprano ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ & her beautiful duet with Beth Mackay ‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd’; Beth Mackay’s marvellously theatrical alto aria ‘He was despised and rejected’ and Patrick Owston’s bass aria ‘The trumpet shall sound’ with the exceptional trumpet accompaniment.

Thank you to Alan Gidney whose confident chamber organ playing underpinned it all and to our gifted music director Peter Brown.

This was my first ‘Messiah’. It was a pleasure to take part in such a wonderful performance. Thank you to everyone.

Please click on image for a better view of the soloists

The Chamber Orchestra:


James Dickenson, Karen Wigham and Julia Boulton


Chrissie Slater


Ele Leckie


Dick Stacey

Chamber Organ:

Alan Gidney

Thank you to Jean Sawyer who organised the varied display of old copies of ‘Messiah’, one was dated 1847 but each one had its own story to tell. They created great interest before and after the performance.

Online Poster

Christmas Concert - 17 12 22

The Concert Programme:

Poster. Piano on left and Christmas tree lights blurred on right.

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

Christmas Concert

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

'A Ceremony of Carols'

Harpist: Janet Bennett

The performance in St Paul’s energised the choir. Many in the audience took time to tell choir members how much they’d enjoyed the concert; it was lovely to chat and catch up over mince pies, Stollen and drinks. Thank you to everyone who helped prepare and serve the refreshments.

We began with Britten’s popular masterpiece for choir and harp ‘A Ceremony of Carols’. The choir was blessed to have Janet Bennett; her outstanding playing carried the whole work, always evocative, from sensitive and dynamic warm melodies to shiveringly cold discord! The carol texts are an eclectic mix: Latin, Middle English and Early Modern English. Phrases and moods are sung and passed on – Britten’s music is mournful and joyous, leaving a lasting impression.

The sopranos set the atmosphere and a high expectation of us. The church suddenly is in complete darkness, the congregation rapt in anticipation, then the plainchant rings out as they slowly walk down the aisle, the volume swells and fades as they approach and pass.  We are confident that the concert will go well. This festive ‘ceremony’, so called because of the ‘Procession’ and ‘Recession’, will be a great start to Christmas!

Britten’s piece was written for SSA and you still feel the strength of the music, even in this mixed SATB mixed choir version, lies in the interplay between the harp and the two female voices. The soprano and alto singing throughout was delightful and I particularly enjoyed ‘That Yongë Child‘ and the beautiful duet ‘Spring Carol’. Thank you to our soloists Vicky and Frances.  Overall, a stunning concert; we delivered in the tricky movement and managed to articulate well and moderate sound to connect with Britten’s texts.

The second half of the concert was a mixture of carols, some traditional, sung with good audience participation. We performed ‘Christmas Eve’, a world premiere of this new carol by Peter Brown who set music to words by Christina Rosetti. What a wonderful new piece! Thank you to Alan Gidney for his perfect organ accompaniment and to Janet Bennett who also gave 3 harp solos. She is such a fabulous harpist.

As the last echoes of the concert give way to lively conversation and laughter in church, we might remember the gift of the baby Jesus and reflect on the perfection of God and the imperfection of humans. “For Christmas bringeth Jesus,  brought for us so low.” 

"Christmas Eve" words: Christina Rosetti, music: Peter Brown

Please click on the player below to hear a recording of this lovely new carol.


Online Poster

In Remembrance - 12 11 22

Remembrance Poster. Dark green rowan with bright red berries

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

In Remembrance

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

A Remembrance concert to honour the Armed Forces of today and those who served to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms. We look to the past and weep, we look to the past and give thanks.

With 3 pieces sung in German, we perhaps remembered everyone caught up in the tragedy of war, which is healing. My Uncle Stan, who died aged 22 in 1943, is buried in Catania, Sicily. He was killed by a sniper, when he stood to salute an officer.

The audience enjoyed the range, balance and quality of the music. For many the highlights were ‘For the Fallen’ and the ‘Messe Solennelle’. We opened with Peter Brown’s outstanding work – it’s a pity we didn’t record it so that his composition might be more widely known! Our clear diction helped express the compelling pathos of the poem, and we managed the contrasting moods and dynamics well. The second work was Rutter’s ‘A Ukrainian Prayer’ a striking, emotional lament highlighting a modern global tragedy: we look to the present and weep, we look to the present and give thanks.

In the shorter pieces, both bass and tenors made errors hitting the right note and tempo but recovered by watching Peter. Our performance, I think, would have benefitted from a Friday night rehearsal. Although the tenors sang a number of sections beautifully, for me the sopranos held the music together all evening and sang throughout with a bright confidence.

Thank you to our soloists from within the choir: Vicky Johnson, Peter Biggers and Paul Newman. Alan Gidney chose the wonderful organ mass by Louis Vierne. The Kyrie opens with a deafening thunder of sound and the full piece has great impact; a splendid choice to showcase his expertise. Thank you, too for a charming, reflective organ interlude by Widor. Our personal appreciation and thanks lastly to our md, Peter for his skills and love of music.

With a huge debt of gratitude, we remembered: ‘When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
                                                                                  For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.’

Come and Sing - St Paul's Church, June 18th '22

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

Come and Sing 2022

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

What a joy it was to take part in the ‘Come and Sing’ on June 18th. Twenty-six guest singers added to the quality of each section and produced something quite special. Thank you for rehearsing with us and the evening performance, if you are able to, please join ADCS permanently next year!

Saturday’s concert began with Rutter’s ‘A Ukrainian Prayer’. This heartfelt piece has been sung and recorded by choirs the world over to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine and their continued suffering. It was very warmly received by native speakers in the audience.

The ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ followed. This packs an emotional punch for its short 5 minutes and was written by the 20-year-old Fauré. We were able to give some depth to this rich composition and could enjoy the phrases passed between the voices, particularly the dominant bass ‘qui la conduit’.

Fauré’s ‘Requiem’ is a lovely piece, full of beauty and lightness of touch, with its rise and fall of expressive sound. The choir responded well to Peter’s gestures to accent phrases and follow dynamics; we almost made it to ‘whisper’ but managed to create explosive crescendos!

Thank you to Alan Gidney for his excellent organ playing and our md, the wonderfully gifted Peter Brown. It is impressive that we can draw on the choir for the solo parts. Vicky Johnson’s ‘Pie Jesu’ was clear and pure and the feeling evoked was quite moving. ‘Libera Me’ showcased the skill of our baritone Paul Newman who sang beautifully and with confidence.

I enjoyed all the movements but my favourite was ‘In Paradisum’ with its playful, dancing gentleness of the organ and delightful soprano line. It aways makes me happy and want to smile as it prepares the singer and us all for a peaceful end – a happy deliverance and prospect of joy shared with the angels above.

Photos by Charles Cartwright

** We are very pleased to announce that the confirmed figure for donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal was an amazing £353.35. Congratulations to everyone. Thank you for your support! **

Online Poster

Music For Royal Occasions - 02 04 22

Poster invitation showing celebratory fireworks and crown of the moon's phases
Poster with list of composers, showing sculpture of royal coat of arms with unicorn, lion and central crowned shield

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

Music For Royal Occasions

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

View of choir and Peter during concert

Saturday night’s concert could rightly be called a Royal Concert.  The audience was taken on a journey through time with a wonderful selection of music which has been performed at one or more royal occasions.  The concert got off to a rousing start with the classic ‘Zadok the Priest,’ which was followed by a magically gentle rendition of ‘If ye love me’ by Thomas Tallis. This mix of uplifting and restful music continued throughout the evening.  

View of choir and Peter during concert

The organ interlude followed the same pattern, starting with a quiet piece followed by the exultant ‘Crown Imperial,’ using the multiple registrations of the organ to great effect.  “I was looking for the trumpet players,” someone in the audience was heard to say. 

Peter in full flow during the concert
Organist Alan Gidney and wife at organ

Other highlights were the recent compositions ‘I love all beauteous things’ by Judith Weir and ‘The Call of Wisdom’ by Will Todd. The concert was brought to a jubilant finish with Parry’s ‘I was glad.’

Before the concert; 2 pay desks with programmes
Choir members chatting after concert

It had been a challenging term due to storms and Covid which caused interruptions of rehearsals and unfortunately a high absence rate at the concert, but we still managed to deliver an uplifting concert of classics and less well-known music. Thank you to Peter, Alan and all the rest of the choir!

Photos and Review by Charles and Jolanda Cartwright

Online Poster

Carols for Christmas - 12 12 21

The Concert Programme:

A Celebration of Christmas:

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

We were once again in St Paul’s singing carols but it was a very different concert….. What a strange year it continues to be despite most restrictions having been lifted. Following best covid-safe guidance we decided not to have the usual treats to eat or drink and so there was much less socialising after the performance, but everyone enjoyed the lovely music and the shared celebration of Advent.

Carol Concert 2021. View of choir and scaffold

Our Christmas Carol Concert featured a diverse programme of carols some much loved and well-known. The sound was really good and a good advert for anyone wishing to join the choir. Thank you for the lovely solos, Vicky and Peter.

I would like to thank Alan Gidney for providing all the music and so making the concert possible and in particular for German’s delightful ‘A Festive Trumpet Tune’ which was so joyous and uplifting. Thank you to our musical director, Peter Brown for bringing it all together and releasing tension by intermittently playing Sooty-like with a bundle of festive tinsel!

Carol Concert 2021. View of choir and Peter facing guests

Thank you for joining in and making the concert so enjoyable. We hope you have a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year.

Oops! I’ve moved some of the previous concert reviews to the Archives! Sorry….

Please use the button to visit the landing page if you want to explore further and bring back happy memories!


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