NYC at the Hambleton Forum, Northallerton, 2004
chorus was formed as the "North Riding Chorus" in
1968, under the direction of Barry Griffiths who
was at the time Music Adviser for the North Riding of Yorkshire
Education Committee. The first concert was performed in 1969,
and the Chorus
established a fine
reputation for singing principally large-scale and sometimes
We have always aimed to reach a wide
performing in venues scattered throughout the county. When
were disbanded and the county became North Yorkshire, the Chorus
changed its name too. Some regular venues which used to be in
became in Cleveland; and concerts have also been given in
fluctuates from 65-80, and singers come from all around this large
county: from Malton to Yarm, Guisborough to Leyburn, Boroughbridge to
Richmond. Because of these long distances to travel,
be on a weekday evening but have always been fortnightly on Saturday
At least two concerts a year are given at various
venues, which in the past have included Ampleforth Abbey Church, Ripon
Middlesbrough Town Hall, Harewood House, and the Dolphin Centre in
Darlington; also halls and churches in Saltburn, Guisborough and
recently we have concentrated on giving concerts in Northallerton,
Thirsk and Bedale. We pride ourselves on reliability: a
in December 2010 went ahead despite severe winter weather.
repertoire, which includes most of the larger choral works from Handel
and Mozart to Vaughan Williams and Michael Tippett, is usually
performed with professional orchestras and soloists of a high calibre.
A complete list of the main works which we have
performed is on the
page. Occasionally we do something a bit different: an
example was our "Evening of Operatic Favourites" in 2012.
From time to time other events, such as training
courses, are arranged. An example was the
"Choral Ambition" day on 18 September 2010.
In March 2018, we held a "Come & Sing" workshop on Messiah with the renowed choral conductor Simon Wright .
The chorus has made 5 trips
abroad. The first tour was to Finland in 1987 to sing the
in Joennsu and Kuopio. The second, to
to perform the Mozart Requiem
in Erfurt, Gotha and Heiligenstadt, was arranged before, but happened
after, the Berlin Wall came down in 1991. East Germany was in
stages of reunification and we witnessed the retreat of the Russian
train from Erfurt. The next visit in 1995 was to
South Carolina, USA, for another performance of the Verdi Requiem
fourth memorable visit was to Hong Kong to mark the
millennium year. This was arranged with the Hong Kong Bach
Choir to celebrate
the centenary of Elgar's wonderful piece, The Dream of
in Hong Kong. Martin Hindmarsh and his wife Jennifer Westwood
soloists in the production in Hong
Kong Cultural Centre's main
hall, which was conducted by Jerome Hoberman.
Most recently, in
May 2008 the Chorus visited Ormesson-sur-Marne near Paris, the twin
town of Northallerton, the county town of North Yorkshire. A
concert of short items was given in the parish church; and a
contribution was made to a gala concert featuring a variety of singing
and instrumental groups and held in the town's Cultural Centre.
members in the parish church
and the Cultural Centre at Ormesson-sur-Marne
(Photos by Martin
The Chorus celebrated its
30th anniversary in 1999 in a
concert with the Grimethorpe Colliery RJB Band in Ripon Cathedral.
the aid of a grant from Yorkshire Arts, the Chorus commissioned the
Philip Wilby to write a work, The Lord is
King, for chorus and brass band which was premièred at the
there were also pieces by Martin Hindmarsh (Psalm
150, written for the Chorus on a previous occasion and now
brass band accompaniment), Kodaly and Verdi.
The band also played several items, thrilling
a packed audience in the Cathedral.
For the 40th
anniversary in 2009, Mendelssohn’s Elijah
was chosen, marking also the
bicentenary of the composer’s birth.
This was given in the Hambleton Forum, with a
stunning performance by
the North Yorkshire-born bass-baritone D’Arcy Bleiker as Elijah.