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Northern Sinfonia Chorus
The appointment of Simon Halsey as Principal Conductor, Choral Programme, heralded one of the most exciting periods in Northern Sinfonia Chorus’s history. The Sage Gateshead is home to the Sinfonia and the Chorus alike.
Formed in 1973 by Alan Fearon (principal timpanist, Northern Sinfonia) to complement the work of Northern Sinfonia, the Chorus is involved in all the orchestra’s activities from village hall concerts to international touring. The wide repertoire spans centuries, from the seventeenth to the twentieth, from Bach motets to oratorio, from a capella performances to world premieres. Recently the Chorus has acted as the opera chorus for several semi-staged operas including Mozart’s ‘Così fan tutte’ and ‘Don Giovanni’, as well as Purcell’s ‘Dido & Aeneas’.
In November 2004 the Chorus moved into the new home of Northern Sinfonia, The Sage Gateshead. This exciting time coincided with the appointment of one of the world’s leading choral conductors, Simon Halsey, as Principal Conductor, Choral Programme.
As well as conducting several performances per season, Halsey and Chorus Master Alan Fearon work closely together to prepare performances in The Sage Gateshead and throughout the North of England with conductors including Northern Sinfonia Music Director Thomas Zehetmair, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Nicholas McGegan and Thierry Fischer. The Chorus has also worked with renowned soloists including Magdalena Ko’enà, Susan Gritton, Lisa Milne, James Gilchrist and Jean Rigby.
Amongst the recordings the Chorus has made are Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s ‘Requiem’, Vaughan Williams’s operas ‘Sir John in Love’ and ‘Riders to the Sea’, Bliss’s ‘Pastorale’, and ‘Songs of Northumbria’.
Join the Chorus
Northern Sinfonia Chorus always welcomes new members. Current members come from all kinds of backgrounds, all age groups and with varying levels of previous experience – read on to hear more from members themselves on what being in Northern Sinfonia Chorus means to them.
“I’ve sung with choirs at various times in my life and also presented a regular choral series on BBC Radio 4 called Voices in Harmony. I really missed it when shift work as a BBC news reader forced me to stop. Now retired, I have the joy of talking gardening on Sunday afternoons on Radio Newcastle’s Garden Mania show and singing in the Northern Sinfonia Chorus rehearsals on Sunday evenings. Choral singing is incredibly therapeutic; it brings you alive and cheers you up. Being in the Northern Sinfonia Chorus alongside fantastic professional musicians and learning such a wide range of choral music, is challenging, demanding and exciting. The rehearsals give you a wonderful insight into the music and the exhilaration you get when a concert goes well is a huge morale boost, there’s nothing quite like it.” Marian Foster, Retired BBC presenter/producer
“I joined the Sinfonia Chorus in January 2006 after growing up in a Children’s Choir. It was refreshing to join an adult choir and have the opportunity to sing such fantastic and famous pieces of music. The Sinfonia orchestra and choir has an excellent reputation around the North East, which is how I came to hear about the choir! The choir is friendly and it’s a joy to sing with such talented musicians, I would recommend it to anyone!” Katie Jane Innes, Student at Newcastle University doing PGCE in Secondary Mathematics and Graduate of Newcastle University School of Mathematics
“I’ve sung in the Chorus for ten years as a full member. I was born and brought up in the North East and have been singing since the age of twelve, when I joined my local Choral Society. I’ve also sung with Cambridge University Music Society and the Bach Choir. Singing at the level demanded by the Northern Sinfonia Chorus is an amazing and intense experience, and you have to leave all your worries at the rehearsal door as there’s no time for lapses in concentration! I especially love the last few rehearsals before a concert, when the conductor gives us his or her interpretation of the music – that’s when it really comes to life. It’s also great fun being in the Chorus ‘ for example, having a party backstage with the cast of Don Giovanni DURING the final performance, or having last minute rehearsals on the bus on our way to a concert!” Nick Forbes, age 34, Chief Executive of a local health charity and Leader of the Opposition Labour Group on Newcastle City Council
“I’ve been singing with the chorus for three and a half years and I love every minute of it – both the social life and the singing! Although I enjoy all the performances, my favourite so far has been Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” at Easter 2008, with Handel’s “Messiah” in December 2005 a close second.”
Amy Maguire, Medical student, Newcastle
For more information about the Northern Sinfonia Chorus, and how to join, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 443 5251.