SEPTEMBER sees the beginning of the winter season of music in Stokesley. This little town is bursting with musical events where you can sit by a roaring fire with a real ale, or eat a nice meal to jazz, blues, rock, country and songs from your past.

There is always a warm welcome in the refurbished Methodist church, where you can pop in for a nice lunch on Thursdays, and listen to high-calibre, young musicians at the start of their careers, given opportunities to play by Classical Cleveland.

After your lunch on Sundays, listen to the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, or Teesside Music Society’s Chamber Music concerts, by visiting professional music ensembles. Two of these companies also organise evening events, bringing the best of the world’s musicians to the town.

Tim P Jackson from the Cleveland Chamber orchestra is full of praise for the church. “It is a splendid venue, with great acoustics and good viewing lines for the audience,” he said. “It has a modern grand piano, space for refreshments and parking is excellent.”

"The lunchtime concerts began to meet a need for classical music during the daytime as increasingly people prefer not to venture out in the evenings," said organiser Peter Sotheran, from Classical Cleveland.

Many of the students who perform are from the RNCM, and the concerts at Stokesley have become an established part of the course.”

The new season begins on October 3. Go to for details.

There are also Teesside Music Society’s concerts, for which it is possible to obtain a season ticket.

Organiser, Julia Haigh said. “We present a winter series of six high-calibre chamber music concerts in an intimate setting, both instrumental and voice. Details are on the website”

Vicar Paul Hutchinson, of St Peter and Paul Parish church, welcomes a great variety of musicians. The church has excellent acoustics and local groups are given the opportunity to perform, as well as professional musicians, such as Snake Davies, Brass Band performers and a musical Shakespeare group called Three inch Fools.

When the Station pub in Stokesley closed and its regular Thursday band nights were no more, the regulars were devastated. However, The White Swan took over the Thursday slot, with regular local bands and an open mic session on Tuesdays.

Opposite to the Methodist church is what locals call the Strip, with a line of nice restaurants and the newly-opened Micro pub. One of the restaurants is Sadlers, and Jenny Sadler said: "We started to have regular music nights on a monthly basis through requests from customers. Our venue is small and cosy and the nights bring the community together. Bands like playing there and love the Stokesley crowd.”

Other venues for music include The Mill, the Spread Eagle, the newly-opened Pack Horse, and the Queen’s Head. The Town Hall has regular performances (go to

There are also choirs and choral societies in Stokesley and in February, Julia Haigh is organising the hugely successful weekend Songfest, which will bring, for all ages, interactive workshops in opera, world music jazz, folk, musicals, hymns, madrigals as well as events with professional musicians.

Jan Hunter