Sing-song merrily on high for choir debut

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A NEW choir featuring councillors and council staff hit the right note on their debut performance.

Members and staff at Hartlepool Borough Council have been practising during their lunch breaks and after work over the past few weeks ahead of their first performance at the annual carol service.

The council chamber at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, was packed for the hour-long service.

Choir members performed Jesus, My Jesus, Ding Dong Merrily on High and Silent Night. Now organisers say there are plans for the choir to keep going into the New Year.

Staff from Housing Hartlepool are also among the 51-strong choir.

Labour councillor Chris Simmons, a former music teacher and choir leader, has been overseeing the choir and says they have done “brilliantly” to bring it together in a matter of weeks. Coun Simmons, who represents the Victoria ward, said: “It has been quite a steep learning curve and I have had to arrange some of the material especially for them.

“I have been really impressed with their performances and I did ask them whether they wanted to continue after Christmas and the group was pretty enthusiastic.”

The idea for creating a council choir was the brainchild of Labour councillor Jim Ainslie, who represents the Headland & Harbour ward.

Coun Simmons was the head of music at Henry Smith’s and St Hild’s Comprehensive School for 32 years.

He was also a conductor for Hartlepool Youth Choir from its foundation until he retired eight years ago.

He was also vice chairman of the British Federation of Choirs and president of the European Federation of Choirs.