Musicians hope to hit right note

Bob Bolam (raconteur) and Alistair Anderson (concertina and Northumbrian pipes), who performed at the St George's United Reformed Church lunchtime concert.
Bob Bolam (raconteur) and Alistair Anderson (concertina and Northumbrian pipes), who performed at the St George's United Reformed Church lunchtime concert.

A special night of local traditional music, song and poetry by leading entertainers awaits the audience at the annual Northumbrian Concert next weekend.

Taking place at Morpeth Town Hall’s Ballroom on Friday, February 17, is a vital fund-raiser for April’s Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering, which this year will be the town’s 50th festival of traditional North East music and culture.

To mark the occasion all the performers are old friends of the Gathering who have supported it during its amazing half-century, with Alistair Anderson, of Whittingham, top of the bill. The globe-trotting concertina wizard is a regular at the annual concert, as is Bob Bolam, the hilarious dialect poet and storyteller based at Prudhoe.

One of the gathering’s prize-winning musicians and composers over the years is accordionist Colin Bradford, from Alnwick, who will be playing some of his own melodies.

There will be songs from Blyth’s Ann Wilkinson, a long-standing member of the Gathering committee who in her time has stewarded competitions, clog danced and introduced concerts.

From Newcastle Fiddler’s Elbow comes the exciting music of the twin fiddles of Robin Dunn and Rachael Hales, accompanied by dynamic pianist Sue Morgan.

Also making a welcome return to the stage will be mouthorgan duo Anita James and Ernie Gordon, from Stannington and Alnwick respectively, with Ernie coming out of musical retirement specially for the evening.

Last but not least will be Morpeth’s own Border Directors band, featuring three Morpethians – multi-instrumentalists Kim Bibby-Wilson, John Bibby and Derek Poxton – plus piper and fiddler Matt Seattle, now living over the Border in Hawick.

The whole night will be compered by the legendary MC and indefatigable entertainer Alex Swailes MBE, the Gathering’s very own Morpeth Gadgy, now a Rothbury resident.

The concert usually sells out quickly so the public is advised to secure tickets as soon as possible, either by contacting Kim on 01670 513308 or calling at Morpeth Chantry Tourist Information Centre 01670 623455.

Adult tickets are £10, concessions £9 and for children under 18 the cost is £8.

This event is a vital part of the fund-raising drive to ensure that the full programme of events for the Golden Gathering can take place this year from Friday, April 21, to Sunday, April 23, the weekend after Easter.