At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Somerset Singers held in November 2017, the Society approved the change of the Society Title to be “The Somerset Choral Society aka “Somerset Singers””.
The Somerset Choral Society is a choir of around 50 voices. We rehearse weekly from September to May in the Concert Hall of Sidcot School in Oakridge Lane, Winscombe, North Somerset, see map).
We have two major performances each year, either at St Mary’s Church, Wedmore or St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells, with concerts at Wells Cathedral every two or three years.
We are always pleased to welcome new members (there are no auditions) – see Contact/Rehearsals for details, or just email email@example.com.
The choir evolved from evening classes at the Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar, and gave its first performance under the direction of Peter Scott-Winfield in 1987. Since then it has varied in size but continued to perform quality choral music, singing a wide repertoire of pieces and consistently attracting large audiences.
Our recent performances include Ralph Vaughn-Williams Sea Symphony in Wells Cathedral in May 2016, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Paukenmesse in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in December 2016, Rutter’s Magnificat & The Sprig of Thyme in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in May 2017, Mendelssohn’s Elijah in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore in December 2017, Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem in June 2018 and Advent by Candlelight including Bob Chilcott’s On Christmas Night in November 2018 both in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore. You will find full details of our past performances and current programme elsewhere on this site. Important dates are also included in the Dates page. We look forward to seeing you, either to sing with us or in the audience!
Our Autumn Term and Programme starts on Wednesday 4th September at 7:30pm in the Concert Hall at Sidcot School outside Winscombe. This term we will be rehearsing a selection of carols from the Wilcox White Carol Book plus Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” in preparation for our Autumn Concert that will be “Carols by Candlelight” at All Saints Church, Wrington at 7:00pm on Saturday 30th November when we will be joined by a Choir of Children drawn from around Wrington. We welcome new members of all voices (SATB) to join and sing with us on 4th September and beyond for an autumn of fun choral music making.
The Somerset Choral Society were delighted to be part of the 2019 Wedmore Arts Festival at St Mary’s Church, Wedmore on Saturday 11th May when they presented a programme of “Music for a Summer Evening” in conjunction with the talented young local violinist Poppy McGhee. An audience of around 200 came and enjoyed a splendid evening of varied music making.
In the Five Mystical Songs Vaughan Williams uses the words of the famous metaphysical poet George Herbert and the piece ends with his magnificent setting of the hymn “Let all the world in every corner sing”. Ed chose two pieces from Brahms, the first being his masterful setting of Paul Flemming’s hymn Die Geistliches Lied which is a devotional poem espousing the idea of trusting to the divine for your future. To conclude the first half, Ed selected two choruses from the Requiem by Gabriel Faure the haunting Sanctus with the solo violin playing over the top and in perfect contrast the Libera Me movement with its grounded and visceral Baritone solo sung by Craig Bissex.
After the interval, the Choir sang the second Brahms piece drawn from his German Requiem “How lovely are thy dwellings” which is its central and best known movement. We then welcomed violinist Poppy McGhee accompanied on piano by Matthew Redman. Poppy chose a varied programme with the whole audience in mind. The audience enjoyed the simplicity of Salut d’amour by Edward Elgar, the intensity of The Prokofiev Sonata, the serene beauty of Brahms’s Contemplation and the cheekiness of The Hot Canary by Paul Nero.
This was Ed’s final concert as our Musical Director as he is moving on to pastures new. At the end of the concert and as a token of the Choir’s appreciation of his services, our Chairman Jane Chubb and Secretary Ginny Waters presented Ed with some Dartington Wine Glasses and some bottles of red wine.
The Somerset Choral Society held a very successful Choral Workshop “Come and Sing Faure Requiem” on Saturday 27 April in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore between 10:00am and 3:00pm. Fifty Singers from all over the local area registered and enjoyed an enjoyable day’s choral singing led by their Musical Director Ed Goater punctuated by breaks for hot and cold drinks and biscuits and some social chat. For the workshop Ed chose Movement 1 “Introit and Kyrie”, Movement 3 “Sanctus”, Movement 5 “Agnus Dei” and Movement 7 “In Paradisum”. The workshop ended with an informal performance of these four pieces starting at 2:30pm.
On Saturday 24th November, Somerset Choral Society performed a programme of Advent and Christmas music and readings to an appreciative audience of 150 people in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore that was lit entirely by candles; it proved to be a wonderfully atmospheric celebration of Advent. The choir performed Bob Chilcott’s “ On Christmas Night” plus seasonal favourites including Harold Darke’s arrangement of “In The Bleak Midwinter”, “Adam lay y’bounden” by Boris Ord, “The Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius, “Gabriel’s Message” by Edgar Pettman, “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming” by Praetorius and concluded with a rousing arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by David Willcocks. As well as the music, there were a selection of seasonal readings. Virginia Waters read “Reading from Advent 1955” by John Betjeman, Edward Goater read from “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas and Adrian Shephard read “The Art of Sending Christmas Cards” by William Connor.The choir was conducted by its Musical Director Edward Goater and accompanied by Organist Matthew Redman. To complete the Advent atmosphere, the audience were able to sample mulled wine and mince pies before, during the interval and after the concert.
On a beautiful sunny afternoon on Sunday 2nd September, the Somerset Choral Society celebrated the start of their new term with a Garden Party held at the home of two of the choir members, Roger and Celia Starr. In the lovely surroundings of the Starr’s garden, members were treated to “bubbly” and a traditional cream tea organised and prepared by Janet Leek and Gillian Ticehurst. A great time was had by all as people sat around the beautiful garden eating, drinking and enjoying entertainment that was provided by the Churchill Singers, a choir member Maurice Jackson’s rendition of “Albert and the Lion” and music from local singer/songwriter Winston Chubb. Members attending described it as a really enjoyable and relaxed afternoon social event.
On Wednesday 5th September the choir started the hard work of rehearsals at Sidcot School Concert Hall in preparation for the next production which will be a Candlelit Concert of Advent and Christmas Music at 7:30pm on Saturday 24th November in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore.
Singer Songwriter Winston Chubb
Maurice Jackson – Albert & the Lion
Enjoying the “Bubbly”
“Soaking up the Rays”
Somerset Choral Society performed the Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem in Wedmore Church on Saturday 16th June to an audience of about 120 people that were very appreciative of their performance. Andrew Kirk played the organ accompaniment brilliantly while Lucy Balderson’s effortless top notes were fabulous. The three enthusiastic young male soloists acquitted themselves very well and, in particular, the counter-tenor Finn Lacey demonstrated his remarkable voice with some remarkable trills.
Ed Goater their Musical Director commented “Tremendous thanks from me to all of you for your work in the concert on Saturday. You all committed admirably to putting on the very best performance and, if occasionally lacking in tempo, was never lacking in enthusiasm and vigour! The Handel was very well sung, with all the passage work coming out nicely. I think people enjoyed hearing it for the first time. The Mozart was of course, a pleasure to perform and hear you sing. I was particularly impressed with how you coped with the difficulties of performing with the organ – live on the spot.”
All in all the end product was a very successful concert after a difficult rehearsal term.