09.11.09 Sting, chapter and verse...



Sting, chapter and verse...

Sting will return to the North-East to perform music from his next CD in the impressive setting of Durham Cathedral, next week, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The North-East-born singer-songwriter and actor, who shot to fame as front man, lead singer and bass player with the Seventies band The Police, will perform in front of invited audiences on successive nights at the World Heritage site.

Both performances, on Thursday and Friday next week, will feature a large array of musicians, many from the North-East, including renowned Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell.

The music will be from his forthcoming CD, 'If On Winter's Night', and is said to be a mixture of folk and medieval, all on a winter theme.

Durham Cathedral's dean and chapter agreed to the request from the production company to allow the performances to be recorded.

Chapter steward Anne Heywood said everyone at the cathedral was pleased to welcome Sting back to the region, but said that as a result daytime visits during next weekwill be slightly restricted while lighting and sound equipment is set up.

"The cathedral is delighted to welcome a local lad back.

It's something we've never done before - certainly not an event of this type.

"But we believe it shows the diversity of the cathedral.

"He specifically asked if he could play at the cathedral and come back to his roots, and we're happy to oblige.

"It will, inevitably, have some impact on the cathedral.

The performance will be in the crossing, where we normally hold musical events.

"There's lots and lots of equipment arriving in the next few days and while we always remain open, access in some areas will certainly be restricted. It's fair to say the cathedral will not be looking as it normally does."

Ms Heywood said the performances would feature up to 40 musicians, many recruited locally, playing a diverse range of instruments, including harpists, accordionists as well as pipers.

Despite the offer of the cathedral's renowned choir, Sting will be performing with his own backing group.

He was born Gordon Sumner, the son of a milkman, in Wallsend, North Tyneside, in October 1951.

Having performed in various ensembles, including Newcastle Big Band, he left the region and formed The Police.

© The Northern Echo by Bruce Unwin
Durham can trace its history back a thousand years, to the arrival of a religious community seeking a permanent resting place for the body of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. As a shrine for their saint, they built first a wooden, then a stone church, on top of a rocky hill, protected on three sides by the River Wear.
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