CHESTER-le-Street Civic Choir is 50 years old this year and its members are preparing to celebrate.

Chorister Sue Percival has written a poem entitled The Golden Years, which former choir member Alan Howarth has set to music.

The piece will be performed by the 50-strong choir at its golden jubilee concert on Saturday, May 17 at Park View Community Theatre, Church Chare, Chester-le-Street, starting at 7pm.

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A first soprano with the choir and an award-winning poet, Sue has sung with several choirs in the North-East, and says writing the poem has enabled her to combine her two favourite pastimes.

Alan Howarth was a member for more than 25 years, leaving in 2012.

He has composed several choral works, performed by choir and others.

He and his wife Cynthia, also a former member of the civic choir, currently sing with the group Bon Achord, as does Sue.

The choir was founded in 1964 at the behest of the late Councillor Dorothy Riddell, then chairwoman of Chester-le- Street Council.

It has performed in Sweden and Norway, as part of a civic exchange and, more recently in 2000, supported soprano Lesley Garret when she performed at Durham County Cricket Club. The choir performs three concerts each year at venues in Chester-le-Street.

The choir’s repertoire encompasses classical, sacred world, musical theatre and modern genres.

Rehearsals take place in Chester-le-Street C of E School, Pelaw, Chester-le-Street, on Tuesday evenings between 7.30pm and 9.30pm, from September to July.

Guest soprano Rachel Orr and tenor Mark Anyon will perform alongside the choir at the golden jubilee concert.

Tickets cost £6 each and are available on 0191-389 1478 or from choir members.