To mark the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to their spiritual home in Durham Cathedral, members of the public have
been invited to join a community choir and perform at a concert on Palace Green in July. Lizzie Anderson joins the ranks.

IT is always nice when something you are dreading is not so bad after all. And when that something is actually highly enjoyable, it is one of the best feelings ever.

This sums up my experience at the first rehearsal of the Lindisfarne Gospels Community Choir.

I entered Durham Cathedral’s Chorister School, in Durham City, feeling nervous and poorly prepared – I left feeling excited and elated.

In fact, it was all I could do not to sing out loud as I walked home. Thankfully, for the people of Durham, I resisted the urge.

For those who have not heard of the project, earlier this year The Northern Echo backed a campaign to create a 1,000-strong choir to perform at a concert celebrating the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to their spiritual home.

The concert, at Durham City’s Palace Green, will coincide with the opening of the Gospels Exhibition next July.

It was an ambitious concept, but one the people of the North-East have embraced wholeheartedly.

Already, hundreds of singers, including several choirs, have signed up and, at the rehearsal on Saturday, my fellow recruits chatted enthusiastically about the project.

Given that I usually reserve singing for the car or shower, I was slightly more apprehensive, but as soon as we got started, my fears ebbed away.

Mish Kelly, our choir leader, was enthusiastic and inspiring.

As director of musical outreach at Durham Cathedral, she is passionate about spreading the joy of singing and this was evident in her teaching method.

Just over 60 people had attended and we were divided into bases, tenors, altos and sopranos. I was a soprano, although I did struggle with some of the higher notes.

Ms Kelly then guided us through several songs, encouraging us to read from the music as much as possible.

I particularly enjoyed singing Streets of London and Windmills of My Mind – it was like being in primary school all over again. It was wonderful to hear our voices come together and to be a small part of something much bigger.

“The rehearsal could not have gone better,”said Ms Kelly.

“I think one of the best things is the range of people who have come along – people of all ages – from absolute beginners to experienced singers.” The next rehearsal is at the Chorister School, from 2pm to 5pm, on Saturday, October 27.

For choir information, call 0300-026-1948.