Cleveland Philharmonic Choir

Cleveland Philharmonic Junior Choir - a great singing opportunity for children!

New singers from year 5 upwards (including secondary school pupils) are welcome to try out the choir at any rehearsal – see below for times and venue.  Parents can find out more about the choir from committee members and other parents, and sit in with part of the rehearsal. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available. Note that there is plenty of free parking behind the church.

The choir is directed by outstanding choral trainer John Forsyth MBE. John was County Music Adviser for Cleveland and led Tees Valley Youth Choir to the final of the BBC Choir of the Year.  He has a great rapport with young people and, trained by him, children achieve an excellent standard of performance, and a degree of self confidence, which neither they (nor their parents!) thought possible.
The accompanist is Andrew Christer.

Who can join?
Boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 13 who love singing and are willing to commit to attending weekly rehearsals. In 2018, a youth choir will be formed, with those junior choir singers from year 7 upwards becoming founder members of the new choir.  Secondary school pupils are now welcome to join the new choir.

When and where does the choir meet?

Every Tuesday in term time from 5.30-6.30pm in St Barnabas Church, 1A St Barnabas Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough TS5 6JR.

How big is the choir?

The choir currently has 26 members.

How much does it cost?

£40 per term, with reductions for families in receipt of pupil premium or for siblings. This can be paid in a single payment, or spread out over the course of the term, whichever suits parent's needs.

What are the rehearsals like?

The children work hard in these sessions, but they are fun!  
They use printed music, and John teaches them how to read the notes, signs and strange words! 
Parents can sit at the back of the church and listen if they wish – and many do.  Alternatively, parents and siblings can sit in the foyer where there are tables and chairs. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.

What about performances?
See Recent events (below) for news and photos of past events.

On Saturday 10 March 2018, at 6.30pm, the Junior Choir has its own concert 'We've Got Rhythm!' at Nunthorpe Methodist Church.  Entry is free, but donations will be most welcome. Tea and cakes will be served in the church hall afterwards. The programme will include The Daniel Jazz.


On Saturday 2 June, as part of the Swaledale Festival, members of the choir will sing with the Marian Consort in St Mary’s Church, Richmond. 

On Friday 22 June 2018, at 7.30pm, the two young choirs will perform as part of the Cleveland Philharmonic Concert An Evening of French Music.  This takes place at St Mary's Cathedral, Coulby Newham, and follows the very popular Italian concert held there in 2016.

There is a rehearsal in the afternoon on concert days, and all choir members are expected to attend.

There is a uniform for formal concerts.  Parents provide:
 - A white long-sleeved shirt – like a school shirt
 - Black full-length trousers (not leggings)
 - Black socks and black shoes.  Black gym shoes are fine.

The choir will provide a smart red waistcoat.

How can a new person join?

Email Choir Secretary Judith Arber on or phone her on 07814 468504, or just come along to any rehearsal to try the choir out.

Who runs it?
The choir, started in January 2016, is part of Cleveland Philharmonic Choir and is run by a committee of 4 singers from CPC, helped by the parents of choir members.

What do parents think of it so far?
“It’s brilliant, bigger and better than we had thought.”
“We were blown away!”
“The best hour of the week – de-stressing for parents who sit and listen!”
“I’m pleased that John is going into the theory of music, too.”
“It’s not hard to get the children there – they want to come.”
“John’s way with the children is really good – he could say anything to them and they would accept it.”
“I love it when he says to the children, ‘I just want to thank you.’”

News for parents and singers and help with learning the music

Spring 2018:
Tuesday rehearsals, 5.30pm to 6.30pm: Start 9th January, then every Tuesday until 27th March, apart from 13th February which is the half-term break.

Junior Choir concert: This will be on Saturday 10th March at Nunthorpe Methodist Church. There will be a late afternoon rehearsal (4pm) followed by the concert at 6.30pm and then tea and cakes in the hall.

Cleveland Philharmonic Choir concert: Bach: Mass in B Minor, Saturday 17th March, Stockton Parish Church. Tickets full price for this one as the children are not taking part (£14, £12, £2).

Summer 2018:
Tuesday rehearsals, 5.30pm to 6.30pm: Start 17th April then every Tuesday until 19th June, apart from 29th May which is the half-term break. Note that the 19th June rehearsal will be held at St Mary's Cathedral, Coulby Newham in preparation for the concert on 22nd June.

Saturday 2nd June: - Swaledale Festival performance, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Richmond.. The junior choir will sing two pieces (one a world premiere) with the internationally renowned Marian Consort.

Friday 22nd June: Concert at St Mary's Cathedral will be an evening of French music, when the children will be taking part. Half price tickets for junior choir parents as usual.


Recent Events

At the end of their first term, on 22 March 2016, the choir gave a performance of the music learned this term for an audience of family and friends, and members of Cleveland Philharmonic Choir. They were excellent and well deserved the long and enthusiastic applause!  See Photos below.


2 July 2016 - Green and Pleasant Land at Stockton Baptist Tabernacle.

A concert entitled Green and Pleasant Land at Stockton Baptist Tabernacle.  The choir sang Andrew Carter's Benedicite with the adult choir and Richard Rodney Bennett's group of songs about birds - The Aviary.


Festival of Music for Youth, Birmingham Town Hall, July 2016

The choir was invited to take part, singing Benedicite at this huge event.  What a way to end the first year!


15 October 2016 at Nunthorpe Methodist Church 

The choir's first concert of its own at Nunthorpe Methodist Church, with soloists Harriet and Lauren (sopranos) and  Mihai (violin).  The large and appreciative audience enjoyed the tea and cakes afterwards, too!




1 April 2017 - John Forsyth's 70th Birthday Concert

We celebrated John Forsyth's 70th Birthday in style at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, Yarm School, and presented John with his very own choir waistcoat.



21 May 2017 - Classical Cafe - Middlesbrough Town Hall

The choir was invited to perform in the Classical Cafe series of concerts organised by Middlesbrough Town Hall. Lauren and Grace sang a duet, and Pypre played a brilliant recorder piece.




30 June 2017 - An Evening of Italian Music St Mary's, Coulby Newham.

Yes, we had to sing in Italian! It was great to hear tenor Chris Griksaitis sing Nessun Dorma near the end.


2 December 2017 'Christmas is Coming' - Stockton Parish Church

We sang in Benjamin Britten's St Nicolas.  Thomas, Ben, Christopher and Charles all had solo parts.


17 December 2017.  A Family Christmas Carol Concert at St Barnabas Church

We sang To Bethlehem by Parry and Balulalow by Peter Warlock and joined in all the carols, played by the fantastic Fishburn Band.

WHOOPS - The website is being re-constructed!

Apologies to all our readers.  The US based company which provides web services for Cleveland Philharmonic Choir has had a major crash of its systems (not thought to be Trump or Putin related). It is in the process of restoring all of the websites which it hosts, including ours.  Meanwhile, please keep checking here for news about our rehearsal schedule and our concerts.

Reminder of Important Dates

4 Sep
- 1st rehearsal
29 Sep
(Sat) 10-4 - Combined Choir rehearsal, Royal Grammar School Newcastle.
9 Oct - AGM
No half term break in October
3 Nov (Sat) 10-4 - Combined Choir rehearsal, Stockton Baptist Church
4 Nov
(Sunday) 1-8 - Orchestra rehearsal, Ripon venue. No choirs
9 Nov
(Friday) 7-10 - Full rehearsal for all choirs and main orchestra, Middlesbrough Town Hall
10 Nov
(Sat) - Britten: War Requiem , Sage Gateshead. Soloists and chamber orchestra 12-1, rehearsal for all 2-5, performance 7.30pm
11 Dec
- Alison Gill plays for rehearsal
16 Dec (Sunday) - Family Christmas Carol Concert, Rehearsal 1.30-2.30, Concert 3-4.15, St Barnabas Church. Fishburn Band, Alison Gill.

8 Jan - First rehearsal
19 Feb - Half term
6 April (Sat) - Concert. Mozart Vespers, Bernstein Chichester Psalms, Mozart Requiem, Stockton Baptist Church. Katherine Broderick, Anna Huntley, Nicky Spence, Gavan Ring. Mowbray Orchestra.
9 & 16 April - Easter break.
23 April - first rehearsal
28 May - Half term
28 June (Friday) - Concert: Baltic Cruise and Homecoming, Middlesbrough Cathedral. Rehearsal 6pm, Concert 7.30.

3 Sep 2019 - first rehearsal
12 Oct - Mahler 2, Ripon Cathedral
6 Dec - Possible performance at Middlesbrough Town Hall - to be discussed.
15 Dec (tbc) - Family Christmas Carol Concert