Mid Northumberland Chorus - History

The Mid-Northumberland Chorus has its origins in a choral group formed in the mid 1970's by Michael Doswell, formerly Head of Music at King Edward VI School, Morpeth known as The Mid-Northumberland Singers. This small group specialized in part songs and also performed smaller scale choral works such as the Vivaldi "Gloria and the , Haydn "Te Deum" augmented by the choir of KEVI School. The Mid-Northumberland Singers remained in existence until late 1980.

Members then wished to continue choral singing and invited Audrey Stimpson, Head of Music at Ashington Hirst High School to conduct. The Mid-Northumberland Chorus was established in 1981 as a much larger Community Choir.

Audrey Stimpson conducted and ran the choir until her untimely death in 1999. Norma Jewitt, a member of both choirs and former Music teacher at Chantry School, took over as Musical Director and continued until her retirement in 2009. During this period an elected committee was formed to assist the MD and on occasion guest conductors such as Derek Hobbs and Robin Forbes were invited to conduct. Paul Toward, our present Musical Director, was appointed in January 2010.


Paul Toward, Musical Director

Norma Jewitt, former Musical Director

Robin Forbes, regular guest conductor


Choirs cannot function without accompanists and Mid-Northumberland Chorus has been well served over the years. Jennifer Taylor was followed by Marjorie Neave who played for some 20 years up to her retirement in 2006. Ken Irvine shared duties with Marjorie and was a regular accompanist from the mid 1980's until his recent retirement. He was joined by Alyn Routledge in 2009/10, Peter Waugh in 2011/13 and most recently by Emma Straughan in 2014. Emma is now our regular accompanist.

Ken Irvine

Emma Straughan

Since its formation, the Chorus has presented an average of five concerts a year, some in local churches, some in larger venues such as Newcastle Cathedral and leisure centres in Ashington, Cramlington, Hexham and Morpeth. Concerts are often arranged in collaboration with other choral groups and orchestras.

The Chorus currently has some 70 members and its ambition is to continually improve the quality of its choral music.

A lottery grant in 1998 provided funds to buy a portable, high quality, electronic piano.This has enabled us to perform in venues where no other instrument is available.
Concerts have taken place in locations such as Acklington, Amble, Bamburgh, Blyth, Brinkburn Priory, Chollerton, Felton, Gibside Chapel, Longhirst, Norham, Rothbury, Shilbottle, Stakeford, Stannington, Tynemouth, Whalton, Warkworth and Wooler.