FESTIVE fun reached a Christmas crescendo as a packed house enjoyed a Yuletide concert to remember.
St Teresa’s Hospice staged its 20th annual Christmas Cracker concert raising thousands of pounds for the popular charity.
An enthusiastic audience packed the Dolphin Centre in Darlington for a heart-warming performance of festive song.
Three guest choirs took part including Vocal Soul Community Choir, TLC Wellbeing Choir, and St Teresa Youth Chorale.
A massed choir featured Darlington Choral Society, Cleveland Philharmonic Choir, Cockerton Ladies Choir, Richmondshire Choral Society, The Little Choir From Teesdale, Vocal Collective, Vocal Soul, and Voices of Darlington.
St Teresa’s Sinfonia was conducted by concert organiser John Forsyth and there were solo performances by cellist Neil Sild and Pianist Alison Gill.
Hospice marketing manager John Paul Stabler said: “Somehow, John recruits all these lovely musicians to appear at the Cracker and they always respond willingly. Despite having only one rehearsal on the day of the concert, they were brilliant.
“This was our first concert for two years because of the pandemic and it felt all the more special for it.
“John sorts out all the choir parts and orchestral arrangements, embraces the challenge of getting all these singing groups into one excellent massed Christmas Choir. He cajoles all of these people to form an orchestra and rehearses the full concert in less than half a day.
“It is because of the way in which John nurtures, cherishes and develops musical talent that we are able to field such an accomplished choir and orchestra, with national and internationally acclaimed and rising star musicians.”
John Paul also thanked Tees Valley Music Service for the loan of extra instruments, all of the advertisers in the programme and 1st Stop Party Shop for the balloon displays.
St Teresa’s Hospice provides round the clock care, through Community Hospice, Family Support, the Wellbeing Hub at the Woodlands, in-patient care, and a Rapid Response Team.
John Paul said staff and volunteers had been busier than ever this year, but many of them had still turned out on the night to help at the concert.
Proceeds would help the hospice meet its £3m a year running costs, as it provides end of life care to people and support for their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.