The Society was formed in 1967 to fill a gap in the local music scene, and one of our first soloists was Sir Thomas Allen CBE, who is now our patron. Since our formation we have had six Musical Directors – Keith Shaw, David Macintosh, Ken Ormston, Norma Davidson, Rebecca Coulson and our present one is Peter Coulson.
Since Peter Coulson took over as musical director in January 2016, we have continued the tradition of performing at least four large-scale concerts per year. Works have included: Handel Messiah, Haydn Creation, Beethoven Mass in C, Brahms German Requiem, Mozart Vespers (de Confessore), Gounod St Cecilia Mass, Faure Requiem, and the Mozart Flute Concerto in G. For the spring concert of 2017 we are performing the gorgeous Durufle Requiem.
Many of the bigger works have been with full orchestral accompaniment; we employ excellent professional vocal soloists, instrumentalists, and organists/pianists. Concert highlights have included Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer with the then BBC chorister of the year, the piano duet version of the Brahms German Requiem, and staged performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. We perform works in their original languages.
Visits to Choral Society workshops and other singing events, both at home and abroad, have also been undertaken; most notably to Vienna in 1990 and 1998, Dublin in 1995, Cape Town in 1996, Paris in 2000, Venice in 2002 and The Lofoten Islands in 2005. Also in 2000 we took part in a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C as part of the Millennium celebrations. We also appeared on ‘Songs of Praise’ from Tynemouth with Harry Secombe and on Tyne Tees Television’s ‘Epilogue’.For our 20th Anniversary we commissioned and performed a new composition: “Tynemouth Rhapsody” from Kitson Spencer and for our 25th “Deep Harvests” from Patrick Hawes.
We have established and maintained a love of choral music in the coastal area, and our members have a wide range of backgrounds and musical experience. We run a variety of social events which are enjoyed by our members.