WORLD famous opera singer Russell Watson is to make a return performance in Hartlepool.
The tenor, known as The Voice, made his first visit to the town last year when he sang to 850 adoring fans with the Hartlepool Male Voice Choir.
Now the choir has announced that Russell is to make a repeat visit as the star of their summer celebrity concert next June.
Duncan Graham, chairman of Hartlepool Male Voice choir, said: “We’re delighted. He was very keen to come back. He said ‘any time you want me back I will come.’
“He is available so we booked him.
“Russell was on his comeback trail when he performed with us last year and he was fantastic then.
“I think he has got even better.”
Russell’s first concert at the Borough Hall on the Headland sold out in just 10 days, and the choir is expecting next year’s show to be just as popular.
Russell, who has sold millions of records worldwide sang alone and also with the choir.
The audience even joined in with patriotic favourites Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem.
Next year’s concert will take place on Saturday, June 16, again at the Borough Hall.
Tickets will go on sale to the public in February.
Mr Graham said the success of its recent celebrity concerts with Russell, Lesley Garrett and Aled Jones has boosted their ranks.
He said: “We are a big choir now. We used to have between 40 and 50, now we have got 75 active members.
“I think it is partly down to the status of the celebrities we have had.”
Before then, the choir is looking forward to its annual Christmas concert on Saturday, December 16.
The show, called Come Fly With Us This Christmas, is the choir’s 30th festive concert featuring seasonal music, audience participation and a grand raffle.
In April, 100 members of Hartlepool’s male and ladies choir will sing at The Sage in Gateshead in a Northern Choral Spectacular.
And next November, the male and ladies choir have been invited to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall in a charity concert.
Tickets for the Christmas concert are £8 and £7 concessions available from choir secretary Mick Waller on (01429) 423063 or Duncan Graham on (01429) 296945.