Friends of Egglescliffe School Music


What We Do

Egglescliffe School Chorale

Egglescliffe School Chorale is a mixed-voice choir comprising approximately 40 students aged between 11 and 18. The Choir is one of the finest school choirs in the country, Members of our Choir are also of members of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and the Samling Institute. The choir has consistently gained national recognition in the annual Music For Youth Festival at Birmingham Symphony Hall. They have also performed at Durham Cathedral and at the National Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

In July 2018 they performed with the world-renowned Gabrieli Consort as part of a choral extravanganza project An English Coronation which will culminated in a performance at Ely Cathedral and the recording of a commercial CD which went straight to No 3 in the Classical Music Charts. This exciting project reimagined a royal coronation, drawing on the music programmed at the four coronations of the last century to create a choral extravaganza of repertoire from five centuries, from Tallis and Handel to Walton and Vaughan Williams.

Without doubt the high point of this year came in July 2019 when the Choir was honoured to be invited to sing Mass at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

We are delighted and extremely fortunate to have John Forsyth MBE as our Choral Director. John has enjoyed a successful career in music and education whilst continuing to teach violin and classical guitar and performing professionally as a singer and as an instrumentalist. John studied classical guitar with John Williams and Julian Bream after gaining an MA and Performer Diplomas in both violin and classical guitar.

His principal interest remains that of developing and extending choral music and encouraging young people to discover the joy of singing. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in 2011 he was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to music and to music education nationally, but particularly for his work in the North East and the Tees Valley.

Egglescliffe School Brass Band

Egglescliffe School Brass Band is quite simply one of the best school brass bands in the UK. It has performed at some of the country’s leading venues including the Royal Albert Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall.

In both 2018 and 2019 it competed in the National Youth Brass Band Championships in Warwick coming home with a Bronze Medal on both occasions. Two of our Brass Band members are also members of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

The Brass Band is led by Matthew Haworth, Egglescliffe School’s Head of Music and former Classic FM Music Teacher of the Year.

Egglescliffe School Big Band

The Egglescliffe School Big Band continues to wow audiences with their take on Big Band classics from Sweet Georgia Brown to Take Five. One of our Big Band members also plays trumpet with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Academy Big Band and travels to London every Saturday for rehearsals.

The Band has played at venues across the UK and Europe. In October 2018 they hosted a joint ‘Gin & Jazz’ gig with Mark Armstrong and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Jazz Ambassadors and in July 2019 they entertained an Italian audience in the grounds of the magnificent Castello del Catajo near Padua.

Egglescliffe Chamber Orchestra

Matthew Haworth also leads our hugely talented Chamber Orchestra which again has enjoyed repeated success performing at prestigious venues across the country.

Among the many exciting projects which have taken place over the last year, the Orchestra were delighted to welcome Bradley Creswick, Leader of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, to Egglescliffe in February for a workshop and joint evening concert.

Urban Voice

If all of that is not enough to keep them busy, then many Egglescliffe musicians are also involved in Urban Voice, an a cappella group which performs a wide repertoire of soul, jazz and popular music including their own arrangements. In 2018 they appeared as the warm-up act for Durham University’s Northern Lights A Cappella group at the Gala Theatre as part of Durham Vocal Festival.

The group is led by Cherie Gears, a former Egglescliffe student who is now a professional musician, composer and music educator in her own right. She recently appeared on Sky TV’s “Sing : Ultimate A Cappella” with her group Scarlet Street.

Most recently, Urban Voice recorded a single “Together We Stand” written by Cherie to raise funds for immunotherapy treatment for former student Evie Hope Whittaker. The single went into the Top 30 of the iTunes charts and the group were awarded the Evening Gazette Community Champions award in November 2018 in recognition of their efforts.

Egglescliffe School Junior Orchestra & Junior Choir

At Egglescliffe we are committed to nurturing and developing young musicians and we are proud of the fact that we grow our own talent.

Egglescliffe’s Training Orchestra remains by far the most popular ensemble to play in all of our school concerts. It combines students from Egglescliffe School and 6 of our surrounding primary schools. They are led by Stuart Gray, a successful professional musician and also the conductor of the Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band.

Last but by no means least, our Junior Choir is led by hugely talented saxophonist, singer and teacher, Caroline Wright. The choir embraces a broad repertoire from classical works to songs from the musicals.

Our Achievements

NYJO & Egglescliffe School Big Band join forces to raise funds for school music education

In October 2018 Egglescliffe School Big Band were thrilled to perform in a joint gig with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra Sextet. After an inspiring jazz workshop led by NYJO’s Mark Armstrong, the two bands entertained a sell-out audience with a mixture of jazz standards and new compositions. The event raised over £1000 to support music education in our community.

National Youth Choir Success for Egglescliffe

Many congratulations to these three talented young members of the Egglescliffe School Chamber Choir (pictured here with the school’s Head of Music, Matthew Haworth) who all secured places in the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. Tremendous achievement!

An English Coronation with the Gabrieli Consort

In July 2018 Egglescliffe Chamber Choir were thrilled to be invited by Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort to take part in An English Coronation. This exciting project reimagined a royal coronation, drawing on the music programmed at the four coronations of the last century to create a choral extravaganza of repertoire from five centuries, from Tallis and Handel to Walton and Vaughan Williams. It culminated in an amazing concert at Ely Cathedral followed by recording sessions for a commercial CD. Here they are pictured with opera singer and Egglescliffe alumni Rowan Pierce.

Egglescliffe Brass Band Win Bronze Medal at NYBBC 2018

The Egglescliffe School Brass Band have gone from strength to strength this year winning a Bronze Medal in the National Youth Brass Band Championships in April. One of only two school brass bands in their category, they delivered a poweful performance. 4 Bars Rest described them as “giving it their all in wicked fashion. Really enjoyable playing from start to finish.” Here they are performing “The Home of Legends” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. Next stop the Music For Youth National Festival in Birmingham on 5th July 2018.


Support The Friends!

A donation to the Friends Of Egglescliffe School Music charity will help to support music tuition, the purchase of instruments and to promote school music more broadly in our community.