A TOP Teesside choir will be showcasing not only the adults who sing major choral works to the highest standard, but also its two junior choirs when it stages its summer concert on June 28.

The Cleveland Philharmonic Choir has been singing on Teesside for more than 50 years and now regularly performs prestigious works such as the Verdi Requiem with world class soloists at Sage Gateshead as well as on its home territory.

It also gives a summer concert of short, lighter pieces, with a theme, usually of a particular country or region. This year, the concert title is Homeward Bound taking the form of a tour around the British Isles in song and ending up back in Middlesbrough.

A few years ago, the choir decided to look for new venues for its concerts in the Teesside area and as a result now regularly holds this summer concert in the modern building of St Mary’s Cathedral at Coulby Newham. The cathedral is now almost always filled for this event.

Looking to its future, the choir has also established a series of choirs for children. The first group began singing just over two years ago and reached a standard where it could take part in the Cleveland Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem at Sage Gateshead last November alongside other young voices from the Durham Cathedral choir.

That first group has now split into two groups of different age ranges and new young singers have been recruited. To mark this development, the groups have been renamed from Cleveland Philharmonic Junior Choir to the Cherubini Choir and Vivaldi Voices. These young singers will have concert slots of their own and parts in some of the songs with the main choir, especially in some of the music arranged for the choir by its director, John Forsyth, MBE.

Another newly-formed ensemble within the CPC organisation is a chamber choir for talented young adult singers within the 100-plus main chorus. They too will feature in the programme. A further recent development has been the appointment of Isaac Conroy from Stockton, as assistant music director to work alongside John Forsyth. He will share some of the conducting tasks both at rehearsals and in the concert.

At its rehearsals, Cleveland Philharmonic Choir is fortunate to have Andrew Christer, one of the north of England’s finest professional organists and accompanists, to support them. He also provides piano or organ accompaniment as appropriate for concerts when required, as in this Homeward Bound performance.

Speaking of his junior choirs, John Forsyth said: “Many young people, when they become adults, have no experience of singing and are often afraid of getting involved. Cleveland Philharmonic Choir exists to promote singing within our community and to share the wonderful music that is our vocal heritage. As part of this process, we are encouraging young people to experience the joy of singing. Our young singers are singing at a very high level and their skills are such that they have already experienced singing at Durham Cathedral, Sage Gateshead, Swaledale Festival, Coulby Newham Cathedral and many other fine venues.”

He added, “Singing is a 'skill for life'. It is said that singing keeps you young at heart and our young singers, through their voices, will have a future full of fun and opportunity!”

More information is at clevelandphiharmonicchoir.com.