Eleanor Mooney joined us as musical director in 2007, succeeding Sharon Durant who had been our leader since 2001. Since then our membership has grown to more than seventy and we have increasingly emphasised our focus as a performing choir. Eleanor introduced the weekly routine of a short informal performance in the Sage Gateshead’s Music Education Centre ‘gathering space’ at the end of each rehearsal, and this is enjoyed by all our members as well as The Sage Gateshead’s staff, participants in other sessions, and members of the public on the concourse upstairs.
Eleanor has extended our repertoire, adding beautiful arrangements of songs by both modern and classical composers as well as national and international folk songs. We have performed at a number of new venues, including Tynemouth Priory, Belsay Hall and several National Trust properties including Gibside Chapel and Seaton Delaval Hall in addition to continuing our annual visits to Cherryburn. Singing in Saltwell Park during the Enchanted Parks winter festival is always popular with the choir, as is performing on the Concourse at The Sage Gateshead during the annual series of Christmas Choirs performances.
We have taken part in a number of charity events including concerts to support Fair Trade Fortnight in Ponteland. We have also revisited John Kirkpatrick’s ‘Chariots’, an old favourite, for a concert with David Oliver, Rachel Unthank and other local folk artists in Gateshead Old Town Hall, and we are privileged to be on the list of choirs who perform at Citizenship Ceremonies in Newcastle Civic Centre.