South Shields rugby club plays host to all-male choir group rehearsal

A North East rugby club has been playing host to a regionally renowned all-male choir by allowing them to sing on their terraces free of charge.

Compass A Capella, which has close to 40 members from all over the region, has been practising in the covered stadium at Westoe Rugby Club in South Shields allowing the choir to practice outdoors, while staying sheltered from the weather.

“When lockdown started last March, like every other choir, we had to cancel all our shows, many of which supported local charities,” Musical Director, Susan Jones, said.

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“We practised on Zoom every Tuesday evening – even introducing new songs – and kept the choir together. We even managed to grow the choir with two new members.”

The Compass Acapella group at Westoe RFC's ground.

Ms Jones said that when restrictions were eased in May, they then faced the problem of finding an outdoor venue big enough for the whole choir.

“That’s when Westoe stepped in and offered us their ground free to start outdoor rehearsals. It was a really wonderful gesture and we are very grateful for their kind support.”

With the lifting of lockdown measures next week, the choir will move indoors to All Saints Church in Cleadon on Tuesday, July 20, where Compass has performed in the past for various fundraiser events.

Members of the Tyneside-based group hail from all over the North East. And one new member, Bill Oldfield, who travels all the way from Teesdale, is celebrating his 65th birthday on the day the choir returns to Cleadon.

“It promises to be a very special celebratory evening,” Ms Jones said.

Further information from or by calling 07710459391.

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