OUR LATEST CONCERT
Our spring concert of works by Beethoven and Gounod took place on Saturday 9th April 2022 in Berwick Parish Church.
It was a delight finally to be accompanied again by the Berwick Arts Orchestra and to be joined by four talented soloists.
The choir rose to the challenge of two difficult choral works and the evening was much enjoyed by performers and audience alike.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Handley
APPOINTMENT OF NEW ACCOMPANIST
We were very pleased to appoint Robert Gower as our rehearsal accompanist from September 2021.
Robert is an accomplished organist and has been Choir Master and Organist at Berwick Parish Church from September 2019.
Robert moved from his post as organist at Nottingham RC Cathedral to work in Berwick, following a teaching career developing musical and academic ambition in boarding schools. He has worked extensively within the field of instrumental transcription, publishing principally with OUP, for whom a second anthology of Christmas Organ Music is currently in production. His role as Chairman of the Finzi and Whitlock charitable trusts reflects his strong identity with British music.
NOVEMBER 2021 CONCERT A SUCCESS!
We are delighted that our postponed performance of Messiah took place on Saturday 6th November 2021 in Berwick Parish Church.
It was a wonderful occasion where we were pleased to welcome some visiting singers and to appreciate the excellent performances of our soloists.
The organ accompaniment was most ably provided by Robert Gower, organist and choir master at the church and our rehearsal accompanist.
It was a joy finally to perform to an in-person audience who were very appreciative.
BERWICK ARTS CHOIR ACCOMPANIST RETIRES
Earlier this year, our piano accompanist of 18 years, Margaret Gudgeon, announced her retirement. Over the years, Margaret has been a stalwart supporter of the choir and she will be much missed. However, we hope to be welcoming her back as a singer.
The choir presented Margaret with an engraved vase, a cheque and a bouquet, as a mark of our appreciation.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
Berwick Arts Choir seeks to keep social and environmental concerns at the forefront of what we do.
We are delighted that the catering for our soloists and orchestra for the December 2019 concert was provided by Northern Soul Kitchen (NSK), a food waste and social enterprise based in Berwick. Choir members generously donated a large proportion of NSK’s costs and a delicious meal was provided for the musicians between rehearsal and performance.
Members also donated generously to the choir Christmas Card scheme and over £60 was given to the Berwick Food Bank.
On the environmental front we have a green audit at the end of each committee meeting. Amongst the initiatives undertaken so far this year we have introduced fully recyclable cups for the rehearsal coffee break (and encourage members to bring their own cups) and promoted the use of reusable rather than single-use water bottles. We are also always looking to reduce paper use by using electronic communication as much as possible and we ensure that our printers use paper from sustainable sources. We have also explored car-sharing.
Our new website launched in August 2019.
We are delighted with the new layout and think that it gives a good feel for the choir and our performances, as well as useful information for anyone thinking of joining the choir, coming to a concert or supporting us by becoming a Friend.
The new website has been made possible by a generous grant from The Simpson McCreath Trust, for which we are very grateful.
SINGING WORKSHOP WITH KATHLEEN MCKELLAR FERGUSON
In October 2018 Berwick Arts Choir members and friends enjoyed a hugely entertaining and informative singing workshop, held in the beautiful surroundings of the ballroom at Ayton Castle.
The workshop, entitled Making the Most of Your Voice, was led by Kathleen McKellar Ferguson, Singing Tutor at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow.
Kathleen said of the day:
“What could be a better combination than a beautiful baronial castle, lovely hospitality and a superb crowd of enthusiastic singers all keen to learn and sing their hearts out?
We had such good fun and it was wonderful to hear them all singing with gusto and lifting the rafters at the end of the afternoon. This truly was a winning formula.”