Challenging ourselves, learning new music, meeting new friends

Singing in Cappella offers you the opportunity to learn new music within a supportive group of like-minded lovers of choral music. Singing in the choir is often challenging, but always rewarding. Under the directorship of Simon Lee, an experienced vocal coach and choral conductor, we perform regularly with high-quality professional soloists and instrumentalists.

“Simon has the rare ability to lead a choir of 30+ people but still make it feel personal.”

We’re always delighted to hear from prospective new singers, so if you’re interested in joining please do get in touch to arrange a chat or to visit a rehearsal.

Contact or just come along to a rehearsal.

“When I went to the first rehearsal everyone was welcoming and it was really enjoyable. The high standard of musicianship has made it so enjoyable because while it can be challenging, it’s also incredibly fulfilling.”

Being a member of Cappella involves:
  • Regular attendance at rehearsals – Wednesdays 7-9pm in central Newcastle during term time.
  • Reading music from a vocal score, often in many parts.
  • Sight reading (this ability is desirable but not essential - we try to issue music in advance of first rehearsal and provide playlists to support learning between sessions as required).
  • Small numbers of singers on each part.
  • Often singing unaccompanied, both in rehearsal and performance.
  • Singing in different languages (help is provided!).
  • Performing in around three concerts per academic year.

  • Membership Fee: For 2023-24 season this is £144. The fees for each season are agreed by the membership at the AGM in October.
  • Sheet Music: typically £10-£20 a term.
  • Students: Annual fee of £18 - sheet music is free of charge.
  • Universal Credit: Annual fee of £18 - sheet music is free of charge.
  • Pension Credit: Annual fee of £18 - sheet music is free of charge.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the choir and membership.

How do I join?
We recommend first visiting one of our rehearsals to see what you think. If you decide you would like to join the choir, you will be given a short audition by our Musical Director.

If you would like to attend a rehearsal with a view to joining the choir please contact our Secretary,

When do you rehearse?
We meet on Wednesdays during term time. We sing from 7-9pm, with a 10min break in the middle.

Where do you rehearse?

Our current venue is St James United Reformed Church, Northumberland Road, Newcastle, NE1 8JF.

What sort of music do you sing?
We sing secular and sacred choral music from the Renaissance to the modern day. We sing accompanied and a cappella music scored for between four and eight voice parts.

These are some of the choir’s favourite pieces from recent repertoire:
  • Victoria O quam gloriosum
  • Gabriel Jackson To the Field of Stars
  • Charles Parry Songs of Farewell
  • Wood Hail Gladdening Light
  • Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor
  • Poulenc Quatre motets pour un temps de pĂ©nitence
  • Tavener Dum Transisset
  • Byrd Mass for four parts
  • Zelenka Miserere
  • Rachmaninov Russian pieces
  • Hasse Miserere
  • Tomkins When David Heard
  • Sheppard Libera nos
  • Buxtehude Membra Jesu nostri; Magnificat
  • Tallis Salvator mundi
  • Pearsall Lay a garland
  • Schutz Ich bin ein rechter Weinstock
  • My love lived in a northern land
  • Monteverdi Vespers 1610
  • Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium
  • Anything by William Byrd!

How much does it cost?
We charge an annual membership fee which is agreed by the membership at our AGM each October. We aim to keep this reasonable and affordable for all members. For 2023-24 season this is £144 or £12 per month by direct debit.

We offer a reduced annual fee of £18 (£1.50 per month) people who receive Universal Credit or Pensions Credit and for students.

Sheet music is purchased by choir members so is an additional cost. This varies but is typically £10-£20 a term. People on the reduced membership fee are not asked to pay for music.

Do I have to commit to a full year if I join?
New members are welcome to pay for a single term at first (currently £44) and try us out for a term with no commitment. Members joining mid-way through the season will pay a pro-rata fee.

How experienced a singer do I need to be?
You need to be able to follow a harmony line and sing accurately and confidently - there will be a short audition to check this and your vocal range if you decide to join.

What if I can’t read music?
We learn all our pieces from sheet music rather than by ear, so you definitely need to be familiar with musical notation. Being able to sight read well is a big advantage as we often learn several new pieces at once.

Are you a church choir?
Not at all, we are not affiliated with any church and welcome members of all religions and none.

Do you have any videos or recordings?
We have a few live recordings on our YouTube channel.

Where and when do you perform?
We work towards a big concert towards the end of each term, usually held in one of the churches in Jesmond or Newcastle city centre. We are also sometimes invited to sing at church services, e.g. Evensong or Christmas carol services.

You can see a list of our upcoming performances here.

What if I can’t come every week?
We rely on a good turnout and balance of voice parts, and we often learn music that is unfamiliar to everyone in the choir, so regular attendance is really important. We wouldn’t expect members to miss more than one or two rehearsals a term. 

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