We are proud to have been placed First in the ‘Open Choirs’ class of Carlisle Music and Drama Festival 2016 – see our News page for more details!

Solway Singers (Wreay Church)

 A Cumbrian Choir

Solway Singers had its origins in an evening class set up in 1998 to support members who wanted to go on to sing with Cumbria Rural Choirs. Since that time it has grown in both numbers and the quality of its singing and is gaining a reputation as one of the foremost chamber choirs in North Cumbria. The choir currently numbers some thirty members and is directed by Anthony Peacock, who, until he retired recently from singing, was a well known   tenor soloist.

We are also very fortunate to have as our accompanist Avril Tisdall, another accomplished and very experienced musician.

We aim to enjoy our singing, but also to sing well and to go on improving, so that our concerts reflect the highest standards of which we are capable. Rehearsals are thus relaxed (generally!) but focussed. In 2015, we entered the Carlisle Music and Drama Festival for the first time and were pleased to be placed second in the open choirs class; we were awarded joint first in 2016 – a reflection perhaps of the hard work put in by members and director alike. On both occasions the quality of our performance was judged to be outstanding.

Our standard repertoire might be said to be classic British part songs and folk song arrangements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and we are often complimented on a “lovely English sound”. At all times we aim to perform music that is beautiful, but also interesting, and, occasionally, challenging. In recent years we have sung many major and diverse works, notably William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices, Sir Edward Elgar’s Tales From the Bavarian Highlands, J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, Faure’s Requiem and George Dyson’s Canterbury Pilgrims. However, the choir also keeps its repertoire up to date and has performed compositions and arrangements by contemporary composers, such as Bob Chilcott, George Shearing, Celia McDowall, Mack Wilberg and, of course, John Rutter, to name only a few.

We currently rehearse on Tuesday evenings, from 7 to 9pm, in the Community Centre Longtown, meeting from the beginning of September to mid December, and from the beginning of January to early May; we then take a summer break. At the end of each term we generally give two concerts.

Because members come from a wide area of north Cumbria and southern Scotland, some travelling many miles, there is no regular “social side” to the choir. However, the first meeting of each term is part social, part practice and we have an annual party in June.

We are always on the lookout for competent singers, particularly tenors (of course!) and basses. Some sight reading ability is useful but not essential if an applicant has a good ‘ear’ for music and/or previous experience. If you would like to join us, please apply to Anthony Peacock on 01461 700 366 or email tony@abbeymill.me.uk .