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The show must go on – Northumbria University concert series goes online

29th November 2020

Lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions may have put a stop to live music performances for now, but staff and students at Northumbria University, as well as members of the public, can still enjoy weekly virtual music recitals throughout December.

The team from Northumbria’s new Music Department have organised a series of online lunchtime concerts, taking place on Tuesdays in the run up to Christmas.

They replace the informal lunchtime recitals which launched on Northumbria's Newcastle campus in February this year but had to be abandoned shortly afterwards when the UK went into lockdown.

Determined that the local community should still have access to high quality classical music performances, Director of Campus Music Kris Thomsett came up with the idea of recording concerts and sharing them online.

The first concert takes place at 1.10pm this Tuesday 1 December, and will feature a song recital by Patrick Owston (Baritone) and Matthew McCullough (Piano), recorded before lockdown.

The second concert takes place on Tuesday 8 December and features a recording of French baroque music, performed by John Treherne on his own harpsichord collection and recorded in his home due to lockdown restrictions.

The final concert takes place on Tuesday 15 December and is a twist on Northumbria’s traditional annual Christmas carol service.

This popular event will look a little different this year. Members of the University Choir and Newcastle Cathedral’s Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars will record themselves at home, with Kris Thomsett editing their parts together to form a festive performance for everyone to enjoy.

Professor David Smith, Founding Head of Music at Northumbria, said: “Musicians across the globe have responded creatively to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and I’m glad to say that musicians at Northumbria are no exception.

“We have some superb concerts coming online during December, and will continue to work in this way until we can resume live concerts.

“It was ever so disappointing that our first ever concert series had to ground to a halt even before it had really got off the ground, but Kris has worked to ensure that we can offer some musical solace to everyone during these difficult times. “

“We are incredibly grateful both to the performers, and to the recording engineer, who kindly agreed to donate their services.

“The first of the virtual concerts in December promise to be really exciting, and it will be wonderful to be able to have a carol service, even if it is a virtual one. Hopefully everyone will join in the singing of well known, favourite carols wherever they are when they are listening.”

Andii Bowsher, co-ordinating faith advisor and Anglican Chaplain at Northumbria University, added: “For many in the university the Carol Service is a key part of preparing for Christmas.

"We can’t meet in the Cathedral this year and the restrictions to reduce viral infection this year mean that it isn’t practical to try to have it elsewhere. So this year we’re putting together a little foretaste and reminder in the hope that next year we can enjoy a full Carol Service together in the Cathedral.”

All three concerts will be available to view here. They will be available from 1.10pm each Tuesday and will remain online for the rest of the month.

You can also follow Northumbria Music on Facebook for updates.

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