Sunderland Symphony Orchestra gav us an excellent concert

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I would just like to express my pleasure at attending Sunderland Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Concert, which was held in the former West Park Church, in Stockton Road.

Titled Music from the British Isles, we were treated to a marvellous evening of music making and the extended applause from the audience was richly deserved.

The orchestra was formed in 1999 with Mr Rupert Hanson as its first musical director, and how proud he would have been to see what the orchestra is now achieving.

Its original name was Cosmos, the City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society and it has now developed into one of the jewels in the crown of the city.

The current musical director, Mr Paul Judson, has an excellent rapport with the orchestra, and his friendly engagement with the audience added to the pleasure of the evening.

The orchestra is ably led by Ms Judith Thompson, and trumpeter Mr Philip Jackson had one of his pieces performed that evening.

Chairman David Mills produces the excellent programme booklet, which gives just the right amount of information and which is generously included in the admission price (£8).

Although West Park Church no longer functions as a church, it is still made available to the orchestra for rehearsals and, of course, for the concerts themselves.

Members and friends of the orchestra do a good job in cleaning and preparing the premises for the concerts, of which there are usually four each year.

The dates of the next concerts are July 1 (as usual at West Park Church), October 14 and December 9 – it is hoped that these last two concerts can be performed at West Park Church too but because the church building is up for sale this cannot yet be confirmed.

Full information about the orchestra can be found on its website and on its Facebook page orchestra

At the end of the concert, Mr Judson encouraged members of the audience to come back next time with six friends.

To echo his appeal, if you have never been to one of the SSO concerts, please consider doing so – you will not be disappointed.

Ashley Sutherland