Members' Information

Members' Diary

We hope to resume full indoor rehearsals in September and to perform the following programme. How exciting! 

Wed. 07 09 22         Term begins 7:15pm Finish 8:30pm

Wed. tbc                  7:00pm AGM followed by rehearsal

Wed. 26 10 22          Half-Term Holiday

November tbc         Rehearsals in Church [times tbc]

Sat. 12th Nov 22     Remembrance Concert in St Paul’s                                       Church at 7:30pm [Louis Vierne’s                                        ‘Messe Solennelle’ + Other Music]

December 22          Rehearsals in Church [times tbc]

Sun. 17th Dec 22    Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’ +                                            Other Carols in St Paul’s at  3:00pm

Wed. 11 01 23         Term Begins

Wed. 22 02 23         Half-Term Holiday

March 2023            Rehearsals in Church [times tbc]

Sat. 1st April 22     Händel’s ‘Messiah’ at Paul’s [time tbc]

5th & 12th April     Easter Holiday

Wed. 19 04 23        Term Begins

Wed. 31 05 223       Half-Term Holiday

Sat. 17th June 23  Summer Concert [tbc]

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: Alison McKenna

Secretary: Jolanda Cartwright

Treasurer: Sally Onions

Librarian: Joyce Clayton

Social Secretary: Debbie Howey

Programmes, Posters & Publicity Rep: Brian Corbett

Sop. Line Rep: Felicity Edmunds

Sop. Line Rep: Vicky Johnson

Alto Line Rep: Cherry Hambrook

Bass Line Rep: Colin Lesser

Tenor Rep & Website: Ian C Brown

Friends’ Secretary: Doreen Davison

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

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

Carol Concert 2021. View of choir and scaffold

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.

2021 'In Remembrance'

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

After such a long time, after lockdown and restrictions it was amazing to sing in St Paul’s again. Remembrance is always a poignant time and this concert made our return to live performances really special. Despite numbers being down due to illness, the sound of the choir was well-balanced and conveyed the emotion within the lyrics well.

As St Paul’s is undergoing roof repairs, the choir and sanctuary are blocked off; seating followed covid-safe guidelines and the reduced space meant that most of the choir were in the aisles and the audience were also widely spaced out. With a dramatic poppy display in front of floor to ceiling plastic sheeting, not quite hiding the scaffolding, the atmosphere created within the church almost suggested it had survived being hit by bombs and was being renovated.

For the first half of the performance, Peter Brown’s two short Remembrance pieces sandwiched the Jenkins’ “Motets”. Opening with “In Flanders Fields”, the best we’ve ever sung it, set the musical tone for the evening. This powerful piece is so beautiful and undoubtedly deserves a much wider audience. Jenkins’ work is popular and has a lasting acoustic impact – layered repeated phrases weave their musical poetry but can be demanding on the vocal cords. Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria” completed the concert – what a delightful, early work.

Veronica Gilbert gave a glorious performance of the tenor solo in the Puccini; in fact, each of the voices had moments of beauty, but for me, the bass line stepped up the most, particularly the majestic and stirring “Qui tollis peccata mundi”.

Thank you to Alan Gidney for his excellent organ playing; his musicality and articulation always evoke strong emotional responses, and a huge thank you to the inspirational Peter Brown!

Our 2021 Remembrance concert was a solemn, moving occasion and allowed us, and all the other choirs this year to remember and not ‘break faith’ with the millions who kept us safe through their service and sacrifice.

Online Poster

Remembrance Concert - 13 11 21

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

Flowers and thank yous but no goodbyes!

During the AGM this Wednesday the choir presented two members of the committee with beautiful flowers and said a huge thank you for their work and support. Alison, who has been Chair for over 25 years, has stood down but has agreed to act as Vice Chair in the short term. In recognition of her long service and continued support for ADCS, Alison has been invited to be the president of the Society, an honorary role created especially for her! Gillie, who has been our Secretary for 5 years & done an amazing job has also stood down and Jolanda has now agreed to take on this role. We are thrilled that our good friends, Alison and Gillie are staying in the choir and wish them many more happy years of singing.                                                                       [October 13th 2021]

David presenting bouquet of flowers and balloons to Alison
Conrad presenting Gillie with bouquet of flowers

Online Poster

A Celebration of Christmas - 15 12 19

A Celebration of Christmas:

Conductor: Peter Brown; Organist: Alan Gidney

We are well into Advent and after our carol concert I’d say it feels officially more like Christmas! For many people coming to a carol concert is a great way to celebrate Advent, so thank you for joining in and making it so enjoyable.

We really enjoyed singing a number of new carols and revisited some old favourites –  traditional carols with audience participation and that something extra from the ladies of the choir. It makes such an amazing difference to have a beautiful soprano descant floating above the melody!

What I love about carols is that you can always be surprised at how varied and wonderful they are! My favourite carol this year was David Willcocks’ “Birthday Carol”. This was simply joyous and a pleasure to sing, once I got the hang of echoing the sopranos ‘Gloria, Gloria in excelsis Deo’!

Afterwards we enjoyed mince pies, Stollen bites, mulled wine and juice & caught up with friends and their family news. Spending time with loved ones is so important at Christmas.

Thank you for the lovely solos Frances & Veronica and for Alan’s organ improvisation on ‘The First Nowell’, which was the concert highlight for some of our guests.  Peter was brilliant as always. Happy Christmas!

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

Online Poster

Remembrance Concert - 09 11 19

Remembrance Concert:

Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Brown's Requiem & 4 Motets

This performance of Peter Brown's "Requiem" was a world première commission for ADCS for soloists, choir, organ, harp and timpani. What beautiful music!

On 9th November, 2019 the choir gave their Remembrance concert in the beautiful setting of St. Paul’s Church, Alnwick. We were singing Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”, a world première of Peter Brown’s “Requiem” and four motets. I don’t suppose professional singers would admit to being a little bit anxious about singing Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”, but if pressed, I imagine any of the choir would have freely confessed to being very apprehensive!

As usual we had three rehearsals in the week leading up to the concert, to enjoy the acoustics of the church and practise with the organ, and the percussion and harp soloists. Would we be able to rise to the challenge of the “Chichester Psalms” and do justice to the beautiful, new “Requiem” which Peter Brown wrote for us? Well, to be honest, each of the choir’s four sections had their moments in the “Chichester Psalms” but it didn’t lessen the impact this work had on its listeners. We loved singing Peter Brown’s “Requiem”: it is a beautiful piece, which deserves the praise so easily given to modern composers such as Anersen, Jenkins or Whitacre.

Though some came to experience Bernstein’s masterpiece, “Chichester Psalms”, the choir sang Peter Brown’s “Requiem” with awe: in both pieces, explosions of sound flow on to peaceful sections of lyrical beauty & rest. Thank you, Peter! Our own vocal soloists were excellent; I particularly enjoyed Vicky Johnson’s singing throughout and her duet with Frances Buckingham was simply perfect. Janet Bennett played the harp, the key instrument in Bernstein’s work with sheer class, enjoying the intricacy of the music and evoking a sense of wistful longing; Gerard Rundell triumphed on the percussion, giving us incredible layers of sound, from a single reverberating note on the triangle to an overwhelming wall of sound which closed the first movement of the “Psalms”; Alan Gidney showed his expertise again on the organ and Peter Brown kept us going and was just brilliant. The audience were really appreciative and some were very knowledgeable…..

Fear and faith ……. The music was powerful and deeply moving, a fitting way to honour the dead and comfort the grieving. A remembrance concert with a message of hope that people will dwell together in unity, Yaḥad – ‘together’, a plea for peace.

The Concert Programme:

Please click on image for a better view

A Song for Shelter - 'A Place to Call Home'

I am very pleased to upload our musical contribution for ‘Sing for Shelter’; Alex Woolf’s ambitious project which has encouraged so many choirs across the UK to highlight the plight of the homeless in 2019. The choir gave this informal performance of ‘A Place to Call Home’ at our usual rehearsal venue of Swansfield Park Primary School, at the end of year social on Wednesday 26th June, 2019.

A big thank you to Joyce Clayton who filmed and edited the recording and to Gillie Stapleton who brought the project to our attention and made it all possible. Thank you, also to the choir members who sang for a such a good cause and the expertise and infectious love of music of Peter Brown and Alan Gidney.

A cheque for £207.20 has been donated to Shelter.

I hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it and eating the delicious buffet afterwards!

Play Video

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

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