William Shield Festival 2019

Event 1 - 

Ring in the Festival!

Saturday 2nd November - Swalwell Holy Trinity Church 10:30 - 3:00


A rally of hand-bell players, including Bellsup.

Music includes a special composed arrangement of William Shield's aria 'The morn returns', by John Treherne.


Admission Free, refreshments available.


Event 2 -

Concert Royal - Peter Harrison, Baroque Flute, Rachel Gray, Cello, and John Treherne Longman and Brodergrip Square Piano of 1789.

Wednesday 6th November 7:30 Lit and Phil


Music connected with Jane Austen.


JC Bach, Haydn, Paxton, Pleyel, etc...


A lovely event with readings between the pieces.


Jane Austen was a contemporary of William Shield and an enthusiastic music lover whose collection is the basis for this program.


Concert Royal is one of England's longest established early music ensembles, which has toured through Europe and the Americas. It has produced several LPs, Cassettes, CDs and broadcast on BBC Radio and TV.

Historically informative and entertaining!


Admission £12.00 (£10.00 Concessions)


Event 3 - 

Amelie Addison and guest Violinist

Thursday 7th November - Holy Trinity Church, Swalwell at 7:30

William Shield and the influence of folk music.


Lecture recital with refreshments. Admission £8.00 (£5.00 Concessions)


Event 4 - 

A Night at the Opera

Friday 8th November - Gateshead St Mary's Heritage Centre at 7:30


Austin Gunn's dynamic Rocket Opera presents an entertaining evening of songs from operas by Gateshead's Great William Shield. There will be extracts from Rosina and the Farmer and also newly scored songs from Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest.


The William Shield Chamber Orchestra, directed by John Treherne MBE, will accompany the Rocket Opera. He also scored the music from scores held in Newcastle's Literary and Philosophical Society.


William Shield was the Lloyd Webber of his age. master of the King's Musick, founder of Covent Garden Opera, and a friend of Joseph Haydn, Shield's Opera's were massively popular. He probably wrote the tune of Auld Lang Syne, and The Plough Boy and the Wolf were massive hits.


Amelie Addison, Shield scholar, will give a pre-concert talk.


Admission is £10.00 (£8.00 Concessions); Tickets from Eventbrite at the door.


Event 5 - 

Handel's Messiah

Saturday 9th November - St Gabriel's Church, Heaton at 7:30


Northern Consort with Chamber ensemble


A small dynamic and highly respected choir with singers largely drawn from Durham Cathedral presents Handel's masterpiece in a lively and characterful manner. This will be a virtually complete performance of this great work, performed in a historically informed manner. Characterful soloists are drawn from the choir. Not to be missed!


'Messiah' was massively popular in Shield's time, with performances in Westminster Abbey involved several thousand performers. Handel's original Dublin performance was given by a small ensemble, similar to tonight.


Tickets £10.00 (£8.00) concessions) from Eventbrite and at the door.


Event 6 - 

Music for tenor, 'cello and harpsichord with Andrey Fowler, tenor, and Gordon Dixon Cello. Partnered by John Treherne on the harpsichord.

Saturday 16th November at Newcastle Lit and Phil - 11 AM


Programme includes JS Bach gamba sonatas.


Songs by Shield and contemporaries.


Event 7 -

A Special Event: William Shield and the Age of Revolution


Local Ensembles and individual singers and instrumentalists are invited to come and take part in an informal and enjoyable afternoon of informal music-making, performing music from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.


Admission £3.00


Event 8-

Schlusskonzert; CMWS ensembles - 5 PM


An evening of music by various ensembles managed by CMWS.


These will include Viols, Cellos, and instrumental soloists.


Event 9 NEW! - 

In partnership with the Young Pianist of the North International Piano Competition (20-23 November 2019),

Prize Winners concert and awards ceremony Saturday, 23 November at 4.30 PM Brunswick Methodist Church


48 pianists aged up to 22 from over twenty countries have been selected by organisers to take part in this major cultural event. The standard in previous years has been breathtaking. The William Shield Festival is delighted to be able to include this event for the first time. Two William Shield Prizes will be awarded as well as other prestigious awards.


Event 10 - 

Not a Christmas Concert!

Monday 25th November 2019 at 6:30 P.M - St Mary's Parish Church, Whickham


Featuring CMWS ensembles, including Community Orchestra, Bellsup, Chasenotes, invited School Choirs, and Ensembles.


Admission £3.00 on the door.

Bells Up

Our handbell group Bells Up recently performed at the Land of Oak and Iron. A fun morning was had by all!

Music Marathon

On 17th March we're hosting our 3rd Music Marathon at Holy Trinity Church in Swalwell. Our music groups, ensembles and students will be putting on 12 hours of continuous music and sing-a-long fun. Pop in for a listen, join in with the music or just have a cuppa. The more the merrier!


If you want to sponsor a performer, one way to do so is to donate on our general Justgiving page. You can leave a comment to say who you're sponsoring. Or if the person you're sponsoring has their own Justgiving page feel free to donate that way.


If you're a performer you can set up your own Justgiving page and raise money for CMWS by clicking this link.

Afternoon Tea Event

End of Term Concert

William Shield Festival 2018

This was a resounding success!

CHanges to timetable

We have made some changes to our weekly timetable, including the merger of our previous Whickham Strings and 2 Note Band ensembles, and the creation of a new Community Orchestra on a Monday evening. This new orchestra is intended for any member of the community who wants to join in with music making on a local level. See our groups page for more information.

New Hand Bells

Our hand-bell ringing group Bells Up have been awarded a grant of £1,000 from Comic Relief for the purchase of three new hand bells.  Fantastic news!


Comic Relief spends money raised by its fundraising campaigns: Sport Relief & Red Nose Day Comic Relief.

Registered charity 326568 (England and Wales)

SC039730 (Scotland)

WSF 2017 Opening Address

Councillor Peter Craig opened our 2017 William Shield Festival with a wonderful address. We liked it so much we thought you might like to read it in  full:


"I’m delighted to be asked back to give my support to the William Shield Festival.



I often feel that William Shield is Tyneside’s neglected musical genius, and the 2017 Festival once more aims to bring him to a wider audience through a series of musical events.


I opened the event last year, which was a fantastic success, seeing over 1000 performers and listeners taking part in 12 eye catching events over 5 venues.


It was wonderful to see the work of Community Music Whickham and Swalwell in our communities as they put on a full week of performances across Whickham, Swalwell, Gateshead and Newcastle.


 I didn’t think I could be more impressed by the group, but I have to say I was wrong!


This year we have William Shield and Beyond – an even more ambitious programme of 13 performances spread across 6 venues.


Concerts, musicals, recitals, illustrated talks, poetry reading, choirs and guest appearances – performed by a whole range of musicians singers and presenters – with a very wide variety of musical instruments from hand bells to harpsichords and individual musicians to full orchestra’s.


So I’m impressed but not surprised.


The relatively small but talented group of individuals that make up Community Music Whickham and Swalwell has the aim of bringing music to the community.


They deliver this week in week out – by music lessons, rehearsals and concerts and performances throughout the year. In addition, through events like this they provide opportunities for musicians of all ages and abilities to perform, including people from the wider musical community.


Last year I learnt about William Shield and particularly enjoyed the concert at Whickham School and Sports College where our school children played a large part. This week is another chance to learn more about William Shield and his work – I’m very much looking forward to it and hope you are too.


At this point I must also mention the support given by The Land of Oak and Iron Project which has help to fund the 2017 Festival.


So thank you all for coming along today to the first performance of this year’s Festival – the Festival deserves our support and the Group deserve our thanks.


I would like to formally open the 2017 William Shield Festival with a performance by The Avison Ensemble’s Wandering Minstrels – presenting Tyneside Folk Songs from the time of Shield onwards."


Thanks, Councillor!

Festival Photos

Here are some photos from our fantastic Festival this year!

William Shield Festival 2017

Announcing the William Shield Festival 2017. This year's festival is entitled "William Shield and Beyond" and features more than a dozen exciting and entertaining musical events. The highlight of this year's festival are two performances of William Shield's opera Rosina. This comic opera was first performed on New Year's Eve in 1782 in Covent Garden, but has received few performances since. We will be performing it on 4th and 5th July, and our ensembles include Rocket Opera, the William Shield Chamber Orchestra and guest star Pamelina Oubinova.


To download a complete timetable of the 2017 festival, please click the link.

William Shield Festival 2017 Programme
WSF 2017 timetable.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 366.1 KB

This year's festival is funded by the County Durham Community Foundation's Land of Oak and Iron.

William Shield Festival Video

Following our highly successful festival in July 2016, you can watch the highlights all over again on our YouTube channel. Click on the play button below!

CMWS Music Marathon

On Saturday 5th March we held our inaugural Music Marathon. Our fantastic students succeeded in making music for a full twelve hours, 8am to 8pm, at Holy Trinity Church, Swalwell.

The day was filled with various CMWS ensembles and individuals playing in relay. There were also a number of musicians, both adults and children, not currently members of CMWS who joined in and entertained a packed church all day.

Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who played, all those who attended, the helpers on the day and also everyone who sponsored the musicians.

The final numbers are not yet in, but check back here soon to find out just how much money we raised!


Music Marathon poster
Music Marathon Poster.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 523.4 KB

Christmas Activities

Our wonderful musicians took part in a wide variety of performances in the festive season last year, including the Blaydon Christmas Tree Festival, Swalwell Holy Trinity Gift Day and Carol Service, a special performance at the Metro Centre in Gateshead, and culminating our end of term Student Concert at St Mary's in Whickham. We hope the many people who saw and heard our music last December enjoyed what they heard and had a happy Christmas....

Rotary Young Musician of the Year 2015-16

Rotary Great Britain and Ireland are holding a Young Musician of the Year Competition 2015/16 and our local branch, Rotary Club of Blaydon, Ryton and Whickham are inviting individual students (amateur), in full time education up to the age of 17 on 31st August 2015 to enter. Community Music Whickham and Swalwell would like to encourage everyone to consider entering the local heats. Our local Rotary Club will present a certificate to everyone who takes part.


An information pack with the application form can be downloaded here (pdf file) or found at http://www.rotarygbi.org/what-we-do/youth-competitions/

Aviva Community Fund Success

A great big thanks to the folks at Aviva and to all of our friends who voted for us. Thanks to the many nominations we received, Aviva Community Fund has awarded CMWS £1,000 to revive old instruments for the use of our students.


This will enable us to bring damaged or worn musical instruments back to life so that they can be used again to create beautiful music.

Madness To Serenity

In June we were delighted to welcome sopranos Catherine Dalzell and Emily Nunns of the International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University, who gave a St Mary's Church audience a recital of music from medieval to Bach, Handel and Vivaldi.

Northumbrian Songs

Our musical director John Treherne gave us an interesting and informative talk on the music of Tyneside, illustrated with slideshow images and musical interludes.

Summer Strings

Whickham Strings and individual players gave us a delightful concert at St Mary's Church in June, thoroughly enjoyed by all present. String players also performed at Whickham Parochial School and the Parish Hall this year.

The Dancing Harpsichord

On the 28th February our distinguished guest Mr John Treherne MBE gave an entertaining and informative talk on the history of the harpsichord, interspersed with pieces played on his beautiful replica 1673 instrument.

The highlight of the evening was an impromptu group lesson in an Elizabethan dance called a Pavane, which all members of the audience took part in enthusiastically.

Strings Play

On 18th December we held our second event, where our various talented musicians showed their stuff for an appreciative audience. There were performances on cello, viol, violin, double bass and guitar across an eclectic programme of music.

Baroque at St Mary's

Community Music Whickham & Swalwell was launched with an exciting performance at St Mary's Parish Church in the centre of Whickham on 11th October 2014. A delighted audience was treated to a programme of baroque masterpieces performed by our very own trio of John Treherne (harpsichord), John Finnon (viol) and Erardo Evans (violin). 

They were joined by our guest soprano Lynne Bloxham.