Our first CD in many years is out and has sold really well. We are very pleased with the result and we hope you who have purchased a copy can relive the great concerts featuring the songs by listening to it. The Choir spent three tiring but rewarding days in Manor Park Studios. The album features the favourite pieces from our Elvis programme that received such acclaim last year.
Sadly our now Annual Concert at First Magherafelt Presbyterian church had to be cancelled this year due to the snow fall. Apologies to all, and thanks to those who helped spread the word. See you there next year hopefully.
However our two Burnavon concerts were a great success, with Friday's show a full house. We presented a varied mix of traditional and unusual Christmas songs, including many beautiful arrangements of well known carols and Yuletide standards. We were delighted to welcome Gareth Brown, former choir stalwart, who was home from Edinburgh. He and caroline Jones performed a lovely duet on the Friday evening. On Thursday, the audience was treated to fabulous pieces by upcoming flautists the Houston Boys while The Sperrin Kidz again sang beautifully on the Friday evening.
We were delighted to have been asked to take part in the re-dedication service at St. Swithin’s Church on 22nd October, where we reprised some of the Gospel songs that featured in our recent Elvis programme. Then on 27th October we were equally pleased to present our full Elvis programme at Woodschapel.
We had a wonderful trip to Sligo the weekend of 16th June, where we performed in the beautiful surroundings of St. John's Cathedral. A final outing - for the time being at least - for our Elvis programme and a chance to unwind before the summer break. A hugely enjoyable evening wth an appreciative audience. Sincere thanks to Rev. Arfon and the congregation for their welcome and hospitality. The evenings were long and winding. On Saturday night, with a few guitars, a tenor sax and Gail at the keyboard, there was a rousing sing-song, apparently appreciated by the other hotel guests. Even the odd impromptu solo performance too! Last man Standing award is still under Steward's enquiry, though, due to someone taking a long nap on Saturday afternoon.
There are photos and a couple of excellent videos from the weekend on our facebook page, and a couple of comments on twitter. I would give our rendition of Goodnight Sweetheart on Sunday morning a bit of a wide berth, though..
We owe a great debt of gratitude to David Bell and all the staff at Desertcreat Hall who put on such a wonderful spread for us throughout the afternoon and evening. David, thanks a million for setting up the sound and managing it through the show. Delighted to know that the concert raised £900 for Church funds.
The wind-down at Glenavon Hotel went on until the small hours, with some more .. shall we say relaxed .. singing! The members of the two choirs got on brilliantly, with lots of laughs and stories shared. We're like old friends already.
And the Sperrin Kidz continue to wow the audiences with their performances. Well done again to Caroline and Gail for their terrific work with them.
We also had a full house for our performance at Tobermore Presbyterian Church on the 21st April, along with the Kidz, to help in their 280th Anniversary Celebrations. Thanks to Gareth for the invite and the welcome, as well as the too-tempting refreshments afterwards.
We are currently finalising the recording of our first CD in many years. It will carry the favourite pieces from our Elvis programme that received such acclaim last term. The CD will be launched at a Charity Concert in early February so keep an eye and ear out for that!
We had three great shows, to full houses, including the joint show with Swift Singers - see below - and we thank all those who came to see and support us. We also owe a great deal of thanks to Sam Cuddy and Gail Evans for fantastic work with the choir over the past five months, to get this great programme to such a pitch.
What a joyous weekend with the lovely Swift Singers, who visited from Essex and charmed us with their friendliness and humour, as well as their singing at the joint concert in Desertcreat. We even got a lesson in Essex speak from Clive! They say they had a great holiday - well the Sperrin members were agreed that it felt like a holiday for us too! We look forward to returning the compliment with a trip to the South East in the not too distant future.
A big thank you to Barbara and Jean, who put so much work into getting this trip together. Faultless!
Then we moved on to Magherafelt for a full programme at 1st Magherafelt Presbyterian Church. Another very enjoyable night. We hope all who attended enjoyed it as much as we did. Now, finally, the Burnavon in Cookstown for the last Concerts of the Season.
Thanks to Barbara Anderson and Archie Thomson for their work and help in getting the Magherafelt show set up so well. Thanks also to Harold Duncan for helping get the staging there and set up.
Eagle-eyed programme watchers may have seen the theme in the recently released Burnavon programme. Dust off your Blue Suede Shoes and get Way Down to Burnavon next April! We will then be welcoming, for the first time, the Swift Singers from Essex next May so we look forward to a big turnout to hear them and we are looking forward to singing with them. The Concert with the Swift Singers will be at Desertcreat Church on Saturday 6th May.
The dates for the Christmas concerts are now set - check the Events page for details. We are also finalising the dates for next year's programmes. We will be welcoming, for the first time, the Swift Singers from Essex next May so we look forward to a big turnout to hear them and we are looking forward to singing with them. The venue for this concert is yet to be decided.
A delegation of some 25 of the hardiest members trepidated on board a luxury coach on Friday evening to be whisked in a mere four hours to the county that was the birthplace of the first President of Ireland and four recipients of the Victoria Cross, as well as the starting point for the legendary Táin Bó Cúailnge, but I digress..
Arriving late in the evening we had a welcome supper at Gleeson's Hotel. They looked after us superbly as always. A quiet drink afterwards to help us sleep.
Our Musical Director directed a 10am start for stage assembly and rehearsal. Despite lack of microphone stands, for some reason left behind in Magherafelt, the set up was completed and rehearsal proceeded. Thereafter the group divided into shoppers and sensible people to spend the afternoon as they pleased.
Athlone Town provided a backdrop for a pleasant coffee or two while Roscommon Castle was thought by Alec to be falling down - but 'twas only a football being kicked in the grounds.
Gleesons served up a fitting meal before the gladrags were donned and the short walk made to the Church. Andrew and Denis had by this time arrived to save the day.
The concert was excellent, greatly enjoyed by choir and audience alike, ending with a lusty rendition by all of Ireland's Call.
What an evening of song and rendition followed at the hotel, lasting until the dawn was breaking. Newcomer Donal Convery managed to hold out until the resident Last Man Standing was ready to lie down.
We bade Gleeson's farewell with Goodnight Sweetheart, sung on the patio and enjoyed, we think, by other residents and passing pedestrians. A much viewed video recording of this impromptu performance is now on the Facebook page.
We are delighted that Raymond Anderson has produced a DVD and CD recording of the Burnavon concert and this will shortly be available to purchase. Watch out for details of where to buy!
After their arrival on Thursday 5th May and a meal at their hosts homes, the Plerin visitors had a well needed restful night after their long journey over.
...on the warmest day of the year so far was enjoyed by all, with a tour of the Tower Museum and the City Walls, followed by a lovely meal at Timber Quay who looked after us wonderfully well.
On Friday night we had a wonderful evening at Parkanaur, where we held a joint Entente Chorale concert with the Plena Voce Chorale. The proceeds for this show went to the Smile Foundation, who organised ticket sales. They had a great response and we are delighted that the show raised a good deal of money for this worthwhile cause. Many thanks also to Marlene and her staff at Parkanaur for her help throughout the preparations for the show and on the night.
We would like to express our gratitude to Mid-Ulster Council for their generous financial support for the visit of Plena Voce Chorale.
On Saturday the Coach carried us off the the Lakeland County to see the Belleek Pottery and the Marble Arch caves. The weather was a little less kind, but did not spoil the day.
The Plerin visitors were our guests for a grand barbecue in Cookstown Hockey Club on Saturday night. Some Gusto filled singing ended the evening, with rapturous applause regardless of the quality of delivery
Luckily the departing Plerinians did not have an early start for the airport on Sunday!
This Spring Programme has seen the choir take a great step forward, with a welcome influx of very good male voices, who have certainly added to the ‘beef’ in the bass.
We welcome Plena Voce to Mid-Ulster this week, with a concert in Parkanaur Manor on Friday 6th May. We will be happy to see them again and show them a little more of our wonderful landscape and history.
The Choir will then set off for Roscommon on the weekend of 13th May, where we will sing at St. Coman's Church before letting our hair down (those of us that can) to mark the end of a long Spring season.
Christmas 2015 saw a momentous development for the choir. Caroline Jones took on the herculean task of devising, promoting and setting up a Sperrin Kidz group. The children who joined her put on a brilliant performance as part of the Sperrin Choir Concerts at 1st Magherafelt Presbyterian Church and Burnavon. Greatly helped by the tireless Gail Evans, Caroline drew a wonderful performance from the group after just one term of practice. Caroline and Gail are also educating the group in Kodaly Principles, a musicianship scheme. This project has great potential and will hopefully be the source of many fine members of the main choir in years to come.
The Sperrin Choir gratefully acknowledges that their project has been supported by the Workspace Group through the Workspace Community Fund. May 2016
The first weekend in June saw the locally-based Sperrin Choir pack bags and music and set off for their annual weekend away.
This weekend has become something of an institution, representing the culmination of a year of successful concerts and affording
members some essential 'down-time' together. Already well-established friendships are deepened, the 'craic' is mighty and, as a
bonus, they perform a concert in their destination of choice. This June they wowed a most receptive audience in the town of Roscommon,
their third visit to this particular venue. Last year the weekend was spent in Donegal and plans are already afoot for the 2014 trip
which will be to Cookstown's twin-town of Plerin-sur-Mer in France. The choir has already travelled twice to France and has hosted the
French choir here in Mid-Ulster, also on two occasions.
So - if you are a singer, whether with experience of choir-singing or not, look through the rest of the site, or link to our Facebook page or Twitter page for more details of this vibrant local choir
who aim to bring great enjoyment to their audiences, whilst simultaneously gaining much personal enjoyment from their music.