‘A Night at the Opera’ review

Published in the Darlington & Stockton Times, 29/12/23:

“Church offered warm and entertaining evening”
In spite of the very wet weather, Stokesley Methodist Church – always comfortably warm – was full to overflowing to enjoy ‘A Night at the Opera’. In fact such was the demand that the menfolk were pressed into service to fetch in more and yet more chairs from the schoolroom until there wasn’t an empty space left.
The programme got off to a rousing start with the ‘Cachucha Chorus’ from ‘The Gondoliers’, and continued with a series of great choruses, including from ‘Iolanthe’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’, the ‘Anvil Chorus’, the ‘Bridal Chorus’ from Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’ and the haunting ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’.
G&S is so delightfully overflowing with lovely melodies, so many of which are well known, that it is tempting to sing along! And I’m afraid as in ‘when a felon’s not engaged in his employment’, some of us did’ run them in’!
In addition, we were treated to the lovely ‘Humming Chorus’ from ‘Madama Butterfly’, the ‘Voyager’s Chorus’ from Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’ and the ‘Pilgrims’ Chorus’ from Wagner’s ‘Tannhauser’. There were some beautiful solo items from Jeremy himself, who has a fine tenor voice, from Rohan Hill who sang’Dido’s Lament’ from Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’ and Rhianne Kent with’O mio babbino caro’ known as ‘O My Beloved Daddy’ from ‘Gianni Schicchi’ by Puccini.
Dido’s Lament is a very beautiful piece that we don’t hear often enough, with the plaintive ‘remember me’ plea, and it was performed to perfection by Rohan
Hill. Rohan has a very lovely silken soprano voice and Rhianne Kent, who sang the Habanero from ‘Carmen’, a beautiful mezzo. The Pilgrims Chorus from
Tannhauser,’Brindisi’ from Verdi’s La Traviata and a storm of applause sent us home with our heads full of glorious music.

By Irene MacDonald

A glowing review for our Spring Concert

Our Spring Concert received a glowing review in the Darlington & Stockton Times, written by Irene MacDonald

“Once again Stokesley Methodist Church resounded to magnificent music when we were treated to a first class performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solonnelle by the excellent Stokesley & District Choral Society, directed by Jeremy Harbottle…”

Spring 2022

Following our successful Christmas concert, rehearsals are now well underway for our Spring concert – “Our Favourite Things” – which is on Saturday 23rd April at Stokesley Methodist Church. As our Autumn concert was cancelled, we incorporated parts of Vivaldi’s Gloria into our Christmas concert, and we are planning to sing the Faure Requiem at our Spring concert. I think most of the choir would agree that this lovely piece is a favourite!

The second half of the concert comprises a number of popular medleys and pieces, including West Side Story, and music by Lennon & McCartney and Cole Porter. We are really enjoying singing this music, and can’t wait to perform it for our audience!

August 2021 Update


Well, it’s certainly been a very different year for choirs. In common with everyone else, SDCS rehearsals came to a halt in March 2020, but we were determined to find a way to carry on singing. The committee met regularly via Zoom, and we decided that we would have a virtual Christmas concert. This was a step into the unknown for all of us, but we are very lucky that our music director, Jeremy, is not only an amazing musician, but also a tech whizz, and by virtue of his fantastic hard work and encouragement we managed to produce our first virtual concert of Christmas music, jointly with Angrove Singers and Vox. We rehearsed every week via Zoom, which was a new experience for most of us, and sent in our individual recordings to Jeremy, who then performed minor miracles to put everything together into what turned out to be an excellent concert. Liz Greenhalgh and her son Danny organised the ticket sales, and the audience came from far and wide. We were able to make a significant contribution to charity from the proceeds, and chuffed with our success, planned two further concerts for Spring and Easter. These were equally successful, and gave us the opportunity to sing some lovely pieces, including Will Todd’s “Like a Rainbow Shining”, which he wrote in response to the pandemic.

With the relaxing of restrictions, the committee turned their thoughts to restarting rehearsals in person again. We had a “Sunday Afternoon Sing” at Swainby Church Hall in August, which was very enjoyable, and really fired us up to organise the resumption of regular rehearsals. For a number of reasons, we have decided to move to a new venue, Stokesley Parish Church, and they have been extremely helpful and welcoming. Resuming “proper” rehearsals has been a complicated process, but we are so looking forward to welcoming back choir members old and new. Rehearsals resume on Monday 6th September at 7.30pm. In preparation for this, we have produced a safety protocol and risk assessment, and it is important that everyone reads these documents and follows the guidance, to keep everyone as safe as possible. We have also produced a seating plan, so as to maintain reasonable social distancing, and so choir members may find themselves sitting in a slightly unfamiliar position. All the seats will be clearly labelled.

We will be singing two lovely and familiar pieces: Faure’s Requiem, and Vivaldi’s Gloria, which we will perform at our Autumn concert on Saturday November 13th.

We can’t wait to dust off the vocal cords and share the pleasure of choral singing once more!

Zoom Carol Concerts

At this time of year we would normally be rehearsing for our separate Christmas carol concerts; clearly not a possibility this year.
However, we couldn’t let Christmas go by without finding other ways to bring a bit of cheery Christmas music to people, so for the past few weeks we’ve been learning how to rehearse in zoom meetings, and how to record ourselves at home ( a very steep learning curve for some of us! )
We’re very fortunate, in that after music, our Musical Director’s second love is computers, so Jeremy’s doing all the technical magic…..as well as a Christmassy cello solo.
Our concert will include a variety of both traditional and more modern Christmas favourites, which you can sing along to, if you wish, as well as some solos from within the choir and several young friends of the choirs. Keep checking the ticket link for further updates as we add items.

We would love you to join us on either Friday 11th December ( 7.30pm ) or Sunday 20th December ( 3pm )- or both, if you enjoy our concert! If you bring your ears, we’ll bring our voices!

See the Home Page for ticket details

2018-19 review

2018-19 proved to be an enjoyable and successful season with the society performing a mixed programme. Last Autumn we presented a concert entitled Tuneful Twosomes including music from Gilbert and Sullivan operas and a variety of musicals.

The Christmas concert with strings proved very enjoyable but the highlight of the year was the spring 2019 concert in which we were joined by other local choirs in performing the Brahms Requiem , Vivaldi ‘s Gloria and Zadok the priest with soloists and a full orchestra; a memorable evening .

2017-18 review

Stokesley and District Choral Society enjoyed another successful season in 2017/18, and now looks forward to next year. In April, we presented Rutter’s Requiem, together with a selection of beautiful Mozart pieces – Splendente Te, Deus, Ave Verum Corpus, and his lovely Coronation Mass. Suitably challenging and enjoyable for the choir to perform and much appreciated by the audience.

This concert also marked the final one for our wonderful accompanist, Trevor Blease, who is moving to pastures new. He will be sorely missed, our new accompanist will join us for a very different programme of music which we will perform in Stokesley Methodist Church on Saturday November 17th: “Tuneful Twosomes – a journey through musical theatre” from Gilbert & Sullivan, through Rodgers & Hammerstein, to contemporary pieces from the likes of Lloyd Webber and Rice. It promises to be a lively and fun concert!

Further dates for the diary: Saturday December 15th is our annual Festival of Christmas music at Stokesley Parish Church – always a joyful occasion. On April 27th 2019, we are presenting a very special concert jointly with the Angrove Singers and Vox choir in Stockton Parish Church. The main item will be Brahms’ Requiem, together with Vivaldi’s Gloria and Zadok the Priest (Handel).

We welcome members old and new – our first rehearsal is on Monday September 3rd at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Stokesley at 7.30 pm. Ability to sight read is an advantage but not essential, as we can provide support and rehearsal aids. We do not hold auditions!

2017 Review of the year

2017 has been a great year for Stokesley and District Choral Society. Spring saw us perform Haydn’s Creation with a large orchestra in Stokesley Methodist Church, and what a fantastic event this was (for both audience and choir!). For some choir members, this was their first experience of singing a major classical work, and the feedback we received was that it was thoroughly enjoyable.

In November we presented a lighter programme, “A Night at the Movies” which did exactly what it said on the tin. The music ranged from Back to the Future to West Side Story, and the choir had a great time learning some new and different repertoire. The concert also included some stunning orchestral playing, not least a moving cello solo (Memoirs of a Geisha) by our multitalented musical director, Jeremy Harbottle.

Our most recent concert was our annual Celebration of Christmas, with the Christmas Strings, and on this occasion we were joined by young singers from the Crash Bang Wallop Theatre Company. Again, a great time was had by all, and we raised a record-breaking £522 for Zoe’s place and Yatton House.

We start rehearsals on Monday 8th January for our next concert, which includes Mozart’s beautiful Coronation Mass, and Rutter’s moving Requiem, two contrasting pieces which the choir is looking forward to learning. The concert is on Saturday 21st April 2018 at Stokesley Methodist Church. As always, we welcome new singers. Anyone interested is invited to come to a rehearsal for a “taster” session, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Stokesely at 7.30 pm.