Chorus prepares for a Christmas Journey

A Northumberland choir is preparing for two festive concerts.

And the Mid Northumberland Chorus will be presenting the first in Alnwick next Saturday.

The group’s festive treat, titled Christmas Journey, will be under the baton of Paul Toward, with solo pieces from baritone Jake Hardiment.

The concert will be a special one for the singers as accompanist Ken Irvine and his wife Gillian will be retiring from the group at the end of the month.

The popular Morpeth-based chorus has its origins in a group formed in the mid 1970s by Michael Doswell, former headteacher of King Edward VI School in Morpeth.

The Mid-Northumberland Singers, as the organisation was then known, was only a small outfit, which focused in part on singing and performing chrous works, such as Vivaldi’s Gloria, Te Deum and more.

The chorus was then established in 1981 and became the large community choir it is known to be today.

Audrey Stimpson, who was head of music at Ashington Hirst High School at the time, decided to set up the chorus and ran the choir until her death in 1999.

It is now under the direction of Mr Toward, who took over six years ago. He is known in Alnwick for directing many shows with the well-known Alnwick Stage Musical Society.

Mr Toward was musical director for the group’s first production, The Sound of Music, in 1987. Hee then went on to direct its anniversary production in 2012.

The singers, who regularly perform across Northumberland, have included a date at Alnwick’s St James’ United Reformed Church in Pottergate.

The performance takes place on Saturday, December 5, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 and can be bought on the door or by calling 01665 604216.

The group will then perform at St George’s United Reformed Church in Morpeth on December 12.