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.
Our spring concert of Handel’s Messiah in Berwick Parish Church had been due to take place on Saturday 25th April 2020 at 7pm.
It is with much regret we have to announce that the performance on 25th April has been postponed.
This is obviously disappointing for the choir, who have been working hard on learning the work, all the musicians and soloists, and of course everyone who has been looking forward to the performance.
Everyone's health is the most important thing at the moment and we will keep you informed of future plans.
DECEMBER 2019 CONCERT
Our latest concert took place on Saturday 7th December 2019 in Berwick Parish Church when the choir gave a joyous rendition of the Vivaldi Gloria and Schubert’s Mass No 5 in Ab D678.
Our fabulous soloists were Karina Bligh - soprano, Tamsin Davidson - mezzo soprano, Matthew McKinney – tenor and James Letham- bass and we were accompanied by a brilliant orchestra of 25 players including three horns, two trombones, a trumpet and timps!
The concert was much appreciated by the audience as well as hugely enjoyed by the choir. We now look forward to our next concert on 25th April 2020 when we will be singing Handel’s Messiah.
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.
MAY 2019 CONCERT
On Saturday 18th May 2019 in Berwick Parish Church the choir performed the very moving Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, Requiem Canticorum by James Whitbourn, a work written in 2010 with organ and saxophone solo accompaniment, and the Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Fauré.
Our soloists were Tamsin Davidson - mezzo soprano, and Liam McNally - baritone.
We were accompanied by Joseph Beech on organ and Sam Lord on saxophone. In addition to the choral works Sam and Joseph dazzled us all with music by Saint-Saëns, Madeline Dring and Albinoni.
The concert was a great success and the audience was very appreciative.
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.”