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A right cracker of a show

A favourite festive concert returned to Darlington this weekend. The Christmas Cracker concert, organised by Musical Director John Forsyth MBE in aid of St Teresa’s Hospice, took place at the Dolphin Centre on Saturday, and audience members were delighted with the mix of classic carols and original arrangements.

John Forsyth, the event’s musical director, describes the concert as “a gift from the musicians of Darlington to the people of Darlington”.

The event began over 15 years ago, when John, then Musical Director of the award-winning Tees Valley Youth Choir, put together the first “Christmas Cracker”, with the Youth Choir at the core. Since then, many local choirs and choral societies have joined the massed choir and every year, John recruits a wonderful orchestra. Those performing included All Saints & Salutation Church Choir, Cleveland Philharmonic Choir, Cockerton Ladies Choir, Darlington Choral Society, Darlington Operatic Society, Locomotion & Showstoppers, the Richardson Singers, St Cuthbert’s Church Choir, St Herbert’s Church Choir and Tees Valley Youth Choir.

The Christmas Cracker featured a collection of choirs and musicians performing, as well as the final of the X-mas Factor competition, which aimed to find a new original Christmas composition from among the talented songwriters of Darlington.

The X-mas Factor winner was Oli Patto, with his song Under the Mistletoe.

Jane Bradshaw, the director of St Teresa’s Hospice, said: “I am thrilled that we continue to receive the support of so many local singers and instrumentalists at such a busy time of the year, and thank you to everyone in our audience for coming tonight to support the Hospice! Wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy, Christmas and New Year, on behalf of the patients, staff and volunteers at St Teresa’s Hospice.”

The event is expected to raise over £3,000 for the Hospice, and was supported by HSBC and Barclays, as well as by local businesses Archer’s Catering and 1st Stop Party Shop.