Sunderland Symphony Orchestra

Founded October 1999         Charity registration no. 1082431

Founders & Vice-Presidents - John Lennox, Mark Greenfield, Winifred Lundgren

Musical Director - Ray Farr

NEWSLETTER – Winter 2012 - 2013


Welcome to new members


    Ged McCormack has joined the violin section so as to relax from his work as an architect.

    Clemence Chenevas-Paule, who comes from France, is undertaking research in the Pharmacy department of Sunderland University. She joins the violin section of the orchestra.

    Zsuzsa Horvath is working part time as a medical doctor at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

She comes from Hungary, has two daughters aged 3 and 5 years, and plays the bassoon.

    Jessie Hetherington has joined the horn section.

We extend a warm welcome to you all.

Victor Bayley

Victor Bayley was a Patron of the orchestra from year 2000 through 2006.

He was a schoolmaster and Methodist local preacher who took a deep interest in the development of the orchestra.

This interest was maintained until his recent death, even though he was not able to be actively involved for the last few years of his life.

We offer our sympathy to the members of his family.

The Annual General Meeting will be held in West Park URC Church, Stockton Road, Sunderland,

on Wednesday 20th March at 7.30pm.

Nominations for all positions should be in the hands of the Chairman one week prior to this date.

The present committee members are all willing to stand for re-election.          

Committee meeting

The next Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday 28th February 2013.

If there are any matters which you would like the committee to discuss, please let the chairman know in advance, so that they may be placed on the agenda.

Leader of the orchestra


David McCourt (A founder member of the orchestra) took on the role of leader shortly after the first concert in year 2000, and he has been leader since then.

David asked to be relieved of his responsibilities in this role during September, but he wishes to continue playing regularly.

David set a very high standard, which we know will be maintained by his successor.

His violin solo, ‘Meditation from Thais’ by Massenet in the October Proms Concert,

dedicated to the memory of his father,

will be long remembered for the delicate touch and depth of feeling expressed.

All the members and friends thank David for his dedication over the years, and for the leadership and encouragement he gave to the whole orchestra through his musicianship.

We are glad that he will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future.


Judith Thompson takes over the leadership of the orchestra


Judith Thompson took over the role of ‘leader of the orchestra’ in September.

Judith joined the orchestra in year 2003 and has been deputy leader for the last few years.

As a music teacher, Judith has excellent skills which will be of great value in her new role.

She has our full support and we wish her every success.



‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Promenade Concert’

The concert held on 30th October attracted an audience of about 155.

This was the highest attendance yet under the baton of Ray Farr.

Rachel Orr once again was guest soloist.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay, graced the occasion with his presence.

Owing to ill health, the Mayoress was unable to be present.

Money from the council enabled the formation of the orchestra in 1999, and

the Council has supported the orchestra since then through the ‘Community Chest’.

The support of the Council and its officers is gratefully acknowledged.


Christmas Concert

The Christmas concert again was a huge popular success.

Guest singers for the occasion were the Sunderland Millfield Songsters of The Salvation Army.

Thirty five members, together with their leader and two accompanists,

provided some superb Christmas music.

The concert finished with the Songsters and the orchestra performing together in

two choruses from Handel’s ‘Messiah’,

one of which was conducted by the Songster leader.


Honorary Members

   Right from its inception, the orchestra has relied upon a small team of dedicated helpers who give of their time and skills voluntarily to ensure that each performance runs smoothly.

   The additional staging, which enlarges the area upon which the orchestra sit, has to be erected and dismantled for each concert; security and disabled access at the side entrance behind the orchestra needs to be supervised; ‘Front of House’ – tickets and programmes has to be manned; food and refreshments, upstairs, are provided for the orchestra on concert days, and downstairs refreshments for the audience are served during the intervals.


   The Committee decided that having given more than ten years service in these capacities,

Ken Smith, Sylvia Smith, John Shipley, Keith Galbraith, Margaret Wallace and Christine Naisby

should be recognized by being made Honorary Members of the orchestra.


   Mark Greenfield, Vice-President and one of the three co-founders of the orchestra, presented commemorative certificates to the above named during the Christmas Concert.


Next concerts


Saturday 16th March, Symphony concert,   7.30pm in West Park Church.

Severn Suite  –  Edward Elgar 

Piano Concerto  –  Edvard Grieg      Soloist - Alison Frances Gill

Symphony No. 8    Dvorak



Saturday 29th June (Symphonic Armed Forces Concert), in Herrington Country Park, Sunderland.

in conjunction with ‘Armed Forces Day’ celebrations,  7.00pm.

Saturday 26th October (Promenade Concert),  7.30pm. In West Park Church.

Saturday 14th December (Christmas Concert), 3.00pm. In West Park Church.



Editorial address: 64 Kirkstone Avenue, Fulwell, Sunderland. SR5 1NH.

Tel. 0191-549 1784.

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