SOME OF SUNDERLAND’S FINEST MUSICIANS are giving an early musical Christmas present to the city this weekend.

As a gesture of thanks to Sunderland City Council for their continued funding  and support, the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra is staging  a ‘Festive fun for family and friends’ Christmas concert on Saturday 10 Dec at 4pm.

The orchestra is holding the evening of musical celebration at their home in West Park United Reformed Church in the city centre, Stockton Road.

It will be hosted by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson, as honorary patron of the registered charity.

The revenue from ticket sales and donations during the concert, will help to raise funds for the Orchestra founded seventeen years ago to provide musicians across the city with the opportunity to meet, rehearse and perform together.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson said: “Sunderland Symphony Orchestra invited the Mayor to become the charity’s honorary patron for the first time last year, and I’m delighted that now looks like becoming an annual honour for the latest incumbent of the post to assume.

“The orchestra is a totally voluntary organisation which brings together some of our community’s finest musicians, and provides them with the opportunity to rehearse and perform together to entertain us all with their talents.

“l hope that everyone will come along to support this fantastic musical event, guaranteed to put everyone in the festive mood.”

The orchestra was founded in 1999 with funding from all five area committees as the City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society (CoSMOS), to provide the city with a lasting musical legacy from the Millennium.

It became the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra in 2010, with musicians from across the city rehearsing and performing at their base at West Park United Reformed Church on the corner of Stockton Road in the city centre.

Chairman of the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, Mr David Mills said: “We wanted to show our musical appreciation for Sunderland City Council and the community’s continuing support for our efforts.

“The programme will include some great Christmas favourites and some lesser known but equally uplifting pieces for everyone to enjoy.

” What makes this evening even more poignant is the fact it might be our last concert in a building we’ve called home for so many years, but might now be closing its doors to the public as it seeks new owners.”

The programme is designed to be particularly attractive to young people, with a Christmas theme for the whole programme of music.

Orchestral music will include ‘A Christmas Festival’ and ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson and ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Delius.

Well-known music will include ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’, ‘Santa Claus is comin’ to town’, ‘The Snowman’ and a selection of carols for audience participation.

Guest choir will be the Middle School Choir from Argyle House School, Sunderland,

The choir will sing their own selections under the direction of Teresa Dewhurst.

Tickets (including refreshments) for Saturday’s concert which begins at 4.00 pm are £5 / £3 for under-16s and NUS students with all proceeds going to Orchestra funds.