On song for biggest event

IT’S 10 years since the Hartlepool Ladies Choir came into existence.

But the weeks that lie ahead promise to be among the most exciting that the choir has enjoyed since its formation.

Chris Cordner reports.

ONCE a week, a group of ladies get together to sing their hearts out - because they love it.

The Hartlepool Ladies Choir is a 37-strong team of women aged from 35 to 80 whose talent and abilities have been described by audiences as “thoughtful and full of gusto.”

And in the ten years since they first met, they have performed at venues across the North East.

It all started thanks to choir founder John Holmes.

At the time, he was a member of the Hartlepool Male Voice Choir which became a huge success thanks to its links with a twin choir in Germany.

As the connection grew, the German contingency came to England and the wives of the members helped to make the visitors feel welcome.

But they wanted some of the action for themselves and asked Mr Holmes to help out.

“There were about 15 of us and John did us a few pieces of music, and we performed of the last night of a visit in Germany, “ said choir secretary .

“We enjoyed it and we asked John if we could keep it going.”

Mr Holmes was succeeded by David Gibson and Mary added: “We are going from strength to strength.

“We have had quite a busy summer after fulfilling requests to perform at several different venues around the town and beyond.”

It included a recent concert at St Cuthbert’s Church for the charity LEPRA which raised £977. The next engagement is a concert at Holy Trinity Church in Seaton Carew on Saturday, September 29 at 7.30pm.

And then comes the biggest of them all.

The choir’s 37 members will be among 1,500 singers performing on Saturday, November 3, at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Choirs from all over the country will come together, joined by the world-renowned Cory and Grimethorpe Colliery Brass bands. All money raised will go to Cancer Research UK.

The Hartlepool contingency practises every Thursday between 7.30pm and 9pm at the Grange Road Methodist resource centre in Tankerville Street. Membership is £50 a year.

Mary added: “When we started, it was just the wives who did it but we have opened it up to anyone over 16 who wants to come along.”

To find out more about the choir’s activities, or any clubs or organizations who want to book the choir for 2013, should contact Mary on (01429) 277612.