A CHURCH is set to rejoice with more concerts after a music society moved in.

Bishop Auckland Music Society (BAMS) now has a new home at the town’s Methodist Church, in Cockton Hill Road, thanks to a warm welcome from Reverend John Purdy and his wife Vanessa.

The society’s chairman, John Lowles, and treasurer, Brian Varley, watched as its trusted piano was officially installed yesterday.

It is the second time the group has moved in as many years as they were previously based at St Andrew’s Church, in South Church, in 2017 and spent 23 years at Auckland Castle before it closed for restorative works.

Mr Varley said the trustees and season ticket holders were looking forward to holding their concerts in the church.

He said: “The Methodist church is very airy and a very pleasant building and has comfy seats instead of pews. Acoustically it’s very good too.

“If you’re called Bishop Auckland Music Society, you can’t really hold your concerts outside of the town and the Methodist church have been very welcoming.”

Mr Varley said specialist removers were used to transport the piano to its new home in preparation for this year’s concerts.

Rev Purdy said the church was “honoured” to welcome the society. He said: “It’s wonderful to have our church open to the community and our building being used by various community groups.

“One thing we enjoy as a church is having concerts as it’s a lovely venue and we’re glad to have Bishop Auckland Music Society.”

The first concert of the season will be held on Friday, March 22, when pianist Sarah Beth Briggs.

Charlotte Ashton, on flute, and Joseph Havlat, on piano, will then perform on Friday, May 3, followed by The Pomegranate Trio on Friday, June 7.

The trio, Fenella Barton, on violin, Rebecca Hepplewhite on cello and Andrew West, on piano, can also be enjoyed at the evening concert.

On Friday, July 19, Beethoven’s Horn Sonata in F major and works by Scriabin, Richard Strauss and Schubert will feature in the repertoire of the 2016 BBC Young Musician Competitor, horn player Ben Goldscheider, accompanied by pianist, Richard Uttley.

The season will end with a performance by Alexandra Lomeiko, on violin and Antonina Suhanova, on piano, on Friday, September 6. A winner of multiple National awards and a solo recitalist at Wigmore Hall, Alexandra will play work by Grieg, Bartok and Beethoven.

Individual tickets are £13.50 in advance or £15 on the door. Season tickets are priced at £55 for all five concerts and available from Mr Varley on 01388-606075 or from Brotherton’s Music in Newgate Street. All start at 7.30pm.