Feb 20th 2019
The last two months of 2018 proved quite hectic for the choir. We were involved in four concerts, two of which were the Remembrance concerts at Middlesbrough Theatre in December, and two further Christmas concerts in December at different venues. We were fortunate to have our regular conductor, John Dixon, with us for each concert even though he was suffering with a virus throughout. In spite of this he took us through these concerts, which were very successful, and for which we received excellent feedback.
Since the beginning of the year, however, his health has not improved and he has decided that he will be reducing some of his many responsibilities and unfortunately this includes Musical Director of the Apollo choir. We are very disappointed to be losing John because he was doing a great job with us, but we do wish him well and hope his health improves quickly.
April 26th 2019
Some good news lately. We have been fortunate to have obtained a replacement for John in David Beall the present Musical Director of the G&S Society and David has agreed to direct the choir for the foreseeable future. There will obviously be a lot of work involved in preparation for forthcoming concerts, some of which were either cancelled or put on hold until we had a Musical Director.
June 23rd. 2019
Our concert last night at Eston Methodist Church was the choir’s first under the baton of new Musical Director, David Beall. From all accounts and judging by the audience feed back it was a resounding success. The programme for the concert was put together at fairly short notice and both audience and choir went away very happy with the performance. So we must now concentrate all our efforts on producing new programmes for the concerts at the end of the year.
July 9th 2019
Our final rehearsal, before Summer break-up, will be on Monday 15th July. We will return on Monday 9th September, ready for some intense rehearsals. We also learned at last night’s rehearsal that our new choir President will be our long serving tenor, David Carter MBE.
We had our first rehearsal on Monday following a 6 week break. We are now working with three different music programme for our concerts which continue through to the end of the year. So from now on Monday evenings will involve a lot of hard work for all concerned until mid – December.
A big thanks to all who turned up at Holy Trinity Church last night to ensure we had an entertaining concert. The audience was appreciative, providing some good feedback and although the choir was light in numbers they performed well, as did soloists Susan Robertson, David Carter. Also apart from conducting the choir, David Beall provided us with two solos. We now have to prepare for our Annual Concerts and our Christmas concerts later in the year.
There is a general point I would like to make about this web-site. I manage this site, trying to keep viewers up to date with all of the choir’s activities and I can see how many visits are made to the site each day. On average there are some 15 to 20 visits each day but in the last month there have been almost 1000 visits. The striking thing to me, however, is that there have been no entries in the Guest Book for about two years. It would be helpful if there are any thoughts you may have on anything relating to the choir whether they be good or bad (no obscenities please) to put them into the Guest Book.. It is fairly simple to use this facility and who knows, it may help to improve the site.
We’ve begun advertising for our concerts at the Middlesbrough theatre and tickets are on sale at £10 at the theatre on tel. 01642 815181 or with Dave Pearce at tel. 01642 599786. This is our main source of income and we urge you to support these entertaining concerts.
Tickets are now on sale (£5 each) for our Christmas concert at St. Barnabas Church, Middlesbrough on Saturday 7th December at 7.30. This concert, which includes much audience participation, was a great success last year, according to feedback. Tickets can be obtained through choir members, at the door or through this website. We now have a busy few weeks ahead of us before our Christmas break.
January 3rd 2020 –
At the beginning of last year, without a Musical Director, we had great doubts about being able to fulfil our concerts commitments and we reluctantly turned down two concert requests. However when David took up the baton in February things were quickly turned around and he worked extremely hard to get the choir into shape for the year ahead with the seven remaining concerts involving three different music programmes.
At this point in the year we agreed that, with our concerts at Middlesbrough Theatre being allocated November dates again, we finally realised that it would not be appropriate to include any Christmas items in our programme. This may have disappointed our regular supporters so we then agreed to perform a full programme of Christmas numbers in two December concerts, one at St. Barnabas church and another at Middlesbrough Bowls club.
Our concerts at the theatre featured music ranging from Faure’s ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’ to when the ‘Saints go marching in’. Soloists for the night included guest soprano Susan Robertson, baritone Bill Lewis and tenor David Carter. Other choir members performing their first concert solos were tenor Ian Fraser and bass Peter McTiernan and of course we had the Lavelle twins working the audience through ‘The Hippopotamus song’ and ‘We three Kings’. Our MD David was also on form keeping the audience amused with readings from the books of Gervais Finn, Victoria Wood etc.
Our Christmas concerts, although billed as formal, included plenty of carol singing with the audience bringing a great seasonal atmosphere to the evening. For both of these concerts we had Samantha Holden as our guest soprano, Bill Lewis and David Carter as choir soloists.
There also has to be a special thanks to our MD David Beall, and accompanist Jenny Hesford for their courage and patience in taking us through a challenging year.
So, after another busy year and a busy decade we take a break until our next rehearsal on 13th Jan. 2020.
Following much deliberation at a committee meeting in January it was decided that, after some forty years appearing at Middlesbrough theatre, the choir would not be performing their usual ‘Annual Concerts’ in December this year, nor for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but for many reasons, the concerts have lost their popularity.
However, since we felt that the weather may have been a factor in poor audience numbers, we have provisionally booked the theatre to restart these concerts in the summer of 2021. Possibly summer weather could prove more attractive to Apollo followers! We will keep this site updated over the coming months.
In the meantime our concerts for 2020 are detailed under ‘Concerts’ on this site.
The choir have decided that from today rehearsals and concerts have been cancelled until we are free of the Corona Virus. We still intend to honour our concert commitments at some suitable future date and hope the concert organisers can understand our reasons for cancelling. It looks as though the concerts involved will be; Church of st Peter, Croft , St. Peter’s church Osmotherly and Eston Methodist church.
We were sad to hear of the passing of one of our retired members recently. Roger Piercy was a real gentleman and a long time member of our Bass section until he had to retire in 2016. He also served on the committee as assistant secretary for a number of years, taking control of all things relating to choir uniforms. We send our condolences to Roger’s family.
Sadly we heard today that two more of our retired members died recently. George Shaw and Frank Sullivan were members of our Bass section and Top tenor sections respectively. The choir passes on condolences to families and friends of both George and Frank.
We must apologise to all of our readers for the lack of information coming out from the choir these days. But, as with most societies, we are in limbo until such times it is safe to reconvene. Most members are desperate to get back to their weekly dose of adrenaline and the sooner we can start yodelling the better. So please bear with us. ‘We will be back’
We heard today that another of our past members died recently. Jim Pitt, a long standing and respected choir member in the second tenor section and latterly in the bass section, retired in 2018 for health reasons. Jim was a choir member for some forty years and we are sorry to hear of his passing. Normally members of the choir would attend his funeral but in these difficult times it probably isn’t possible but the choir would like to pass on our condolences to his family and friends. After some discussions with Jim’s family we found that a total of 30 people could attend the funeral at Kirkleathem crematorium. So at the last minute three choir members decided to take a chance and attend. As it happened there was ample room so it was good to have choir representation for a past member of more than 40 years.
Unfortunately we had more sad news recently with the news that another of our retired members has passed away. Cliff Kitching a well respected top tenor for many years left the choir due to ill health three years ago but remained a staunch supporter until his death in late June. Cliff was married to the late Eleanor (nee Harris) who many will remember was guest soprano with the choir for many years. Both excellent singers they played lead parts in musicals with local societies. During his time with the choir Cliff, also renowned for his carpentry skills, built a full set of concert stands for the choir which always enhanced choir presentation and performance at their numerous concerts. We send our heartfelt condolences to Cliff’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.