Cheltenham Choral Society is an amateur, mixed-voice choir based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Morgan Islwyn Jones, who remained the Society's principal conductor until 1973, founded Cheltenham Choral Society in 1938. Under his baton the Society achieved an ambitious repertoire that attracted many international solo artists of great distinction as is recorded in the Society's archives.
After Islwyn Jones retired in 1974, Roger Smith conducted the Society through to its
triumphant Golden Jubilee in 1988.
The Society's association with lan Higginson had already been established when he was appointed Musical Director and Conductor in 1989.
Much rejoicing stemmed from the Society's association with past member Dame Felicity Lott who became President of the Society in 1993.
Under the direction of lan Higginson the Society's repertoire has ranged beyond the
familiar classical choral works to the lesser-known "Gloria" of Vivaldi (RV588), John
Rutter's "Mass of the Children" to the premiere of lan Higginson's work "In Times of
2008 saw the Society celebrating its 70th Anniversary, culminating in a magnificent
performance of Handel's Messiah at the Town Hall with Dame Felicity Lott as soprano soloist, attracting a near capacity audience.
During 2009 the Society gave a series of performances celebrating the anniversaries of various composers: the 250th Anniversary of Handel's death, the 200th Anniversary of Haydn's death and the 350th Anniversary of Purcell's birth.
Cheltenham Choral Society believes that singing is good for all. Whether you are 7 or 77, singing together engenders a sense of well being and community. Encouraging youngsters to perform in public brings all sorts of benefits and is something the Society is keen to promote.
Therefore, following on from a hugely enjoyable performance of Rutter's "Mass of the
Children" in Tewkesbury Abbey in 2008, working with local school choirs, the Society has looked around for more opportunities to sing with children, and is keen to promote musical awareness by giving children the opportunity to perform.
With works for a choir of mixed voices and children proving difficult to find, the choir has turned to its own Musical Director, lan Higginson, to create an original composition of which the outcome was "SHADES OF JAZZ" based on movements of a sacred mass, sung in Latin and set in a jazz genre. The first performance was performed at the Springtime Gala Concert in April 2010 at Cheltenham Town Hall. Beauregard Youth Choir, Charlton Kings Junior School Choir and Leckhampton Primary School Choir and a Jazz Ensemble joined Cheltenham Choral Society, and Tewkesbury Town Band added its own distinctive sounds of music.
Also during 2010 Cheltenham Choral Society performed “Sprig of Thyme” a folk-song cycle by John Rutter published in 1994, and “Missa Brevis” a short mass by lan Higginson,
2011 saw the Society promoting a Choral Workshop by Bob Chilcott as well as performing Brahms “Requiem” an “Evening in Vienna” and finally Karl Jenkins, “Requiem” along with a new work by Ian Higginson “Reflection upon a life”.
June 2012 saw the Society promoting a Jubilee Celebration Concert in support of “Help for Heroes” charity the main work being Karl Jenkins “The Armed Man”
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 pm at Bethesda Methodist Church, Great Norwood Street, Cheltenham.
You are welcome to come and sing with us for a few rehearsals and see how you like us!
If you have some sight-reading ability you will find this helpful, but it is not essential. Auditions are not required on first joining the Society, but any member may be required to submit to voice tests, as deemed necessary by the Musical Director through the Committee, or by a Committee member.
If you would like to talk to someone in the choir before you attend a rehearsal, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: Tony White, Vice Chairman & Membership Secretary on 01242 527521.
If you decide you would like to come along to a rehearsal, we can arrange for someone to meet you and introduce you to other choir members on your first evening.
We look forward to welcoming you.