North East Connected

STARE named winner of Cornmill’s Chorus 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 10.33.58LAST night (Thursday 17 December) saw the culmination of a festive singing competition at a Darlington shopping centre when the winner of Cornmill’s Chorus – Sing to Win! was decided.

STARE ‘Stagecoach Theatre Arts Regional Entertainers’ from Darlington, a 17 strong choir set up to perform for charities in the region, scooped the £1000 prize after their performance in front of crowds at the Cornmill Shopping Centre impressed the panel of judges.

A second prize of £500 was awarded to Eaglescliffe based creative youth theatre group Page2Stage.  Runner’s up Woodham Burn School Choir from Newton Aycliffe and St John’s Glee Club from Bishop Auckland also posed stiff competition in the final four.

The grand final followed three weeks of hotly contested heats involving 12 youth choirs from across Darlington and the surrounding area.

During the final the judging panel comprising; Peter Barron, editor of the Northern Echo and president of the Darlington Operatic Society, Lesley Boyle, Director of Corporate, Communications and Education at Star Radio North East and Susan Young, the Cornmill’s centre manager, awarded STARE the highest score for their contemporary take on the classic Christmas song Jingle Bells.

After being announced as the winner Claire Wilmer choir lead at STARE, said: “We were delighted to be named winners of Cornmill’s Chorus 2015.  As a choir that is set up to perform to support charities, this is the first time the group has taken part in a competition of this kind.  Only last night we were raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust which has raised over £1200 so far, so to be named the winner of a competition where we were performing for ourselves is a great feeling.

“It’s been challenging fitting in all of the rehearsals at this busy time of year, but it’s been really rewarding.  Everyone’s worked really hard so we’re looking forward to using some of the prize money to have a really nice day out.  It’s been a fantastic event to be involved with and it’s lovely to see the Cornmill giving back to the community in this way.”

Susan Young, Cornmill’s centre manager who presented the winning choir with the cheque, said: “Following four weeks of stunning performances, I was delighted to present STARE with the cheque for £1000 which was really well-deserved.  The talent was so impressive that we secured a second prize of £500 on the evening to award to Page2Stage. Woodham Burn and St John’s were also fantastic; it really was a closely fought contest.

“Cornmill’s Chorus has once again been a fantastic addition to Christmas late night Thursdays. It’s brought together youth choirs of all ages to showcase their talents and we’ve been so impressed by all of the performers – from primary schools to sixth form students and performing arts groups – they’ve all done themselves extremely proud.  I’d like to thank all of those who have taken part as well as our panel of judges for giving up their time to make the grand final extra special.”

The Cornmill Shopping Centre is home to over 40 fantastic stores including Next, HMV, WHSmith, Top Shop and Primark. For further information contact tel: 01325 369111, email: or visit the website:

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