This year there is a special festival theme: ‘A Celebration of the Human Voice’. The celebration encompasses singing in many different styles and also the spoken word. Two famous vocal ensembles will appear at the Festival: The King’s Singers and Tenebrae Consort. We welcome LYRA - a tremendous vocal quartet from St. Petersburg, and one of the great jazz vocalists - Liane Carroll. Local community choir the Swale Singers will give a concert, and two other regional amateur choirs - Werca’s Folk from Morpeth and Northern Voices from Darlington - will share an evening event. Royal Northern Sinfonia will bring the superb tenor James Gilchrist to give a concert of songs by English composers, and north east soprano Rowan Pierce will give a recital as part of the Festival’s Young Artists Platform. Rowan’s is definitely a name to watch for the future.