Festival hits the right note

THE first Northumberland Music Festival has opened to positive acclaim, with the first six days being hailed a success.

A host of top performers from the world of opera, classical and traditional music have been brought together for the unique event, which began last Friday, and is being held at three of the region’s finest historic houses – Doxford Hall, Eshott Hall and Guyzance Hall.

The showcase is the brainchild of businessman Rev Robert Parker who owns all three venues.

He said: “I am delighted with the response. The standard of the singers and musicians has been absolutely exceptional and it has been a pleasure to listen to such a fantastic range of music here in Northumberland.”

So far, the festival has featured an array of performances, from Gala Opera Concerts to a showcase of traditional music by The Northumbrian Ranters and appearances from the nationally-acclaimed Polyphonic Brass Quintet.

The festival runs until Sunday and tickets are still available for the remaining concerts, which are listed below.

Today: Northumbrian Pipes and Fiddle. Andrew and Margaret Watchorn perform a selection of rants and jigs, slow airs and waltzes, hornpipes and reels, combined with traditional songs from Northumberland. At Guyzance Hall. 6.30pm. £12.50 including a canapé reception.

Tomorrow: Durham Miner’s Association Brass Band. Concert includes Big Band Classics and Traditional North East Music. At Doxford Hall. 7.30pm. £30 including pie, pea and pudding supper and Pimms or a pint.

Saturday, November 5: A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan. Former singers from The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company present highlights from The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, Gondoliers and HMS Pinafore. At Eshott Hall. 7.30pm. £55 (£500 table of ten), including three-course dinner, half bottle of house wine and fireworks.

Sunday, November 6: A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan. Same as above. At Doxford Hall. 1.30pm. £40 (£140 table of 4), including buffet lunch and a glass of house wine or soft drink.

A percentage of all ticket sales will be donated to the Great North Air Ambulance, Macmillan Cancer Support and HospiceCare North Northumberland.

For information and tickets, visit www.nmfestival.com or call 01668 283100.