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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
We are now a Choral Society of around 50 voices and we will begin rehearsals for our spring programme at 7:30pm on Wednesday 9th January 2019 in the Concert Hall of Sidcot School in Oakridge Lane, Winscombe, North Somerset. Our next concert is part of the “2019 Wedmore Arts Festival” and will be on Saturday 11th May at 7:30pm in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore. The programme will include music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Johannes Brahms and Gabriel Faure including a performance of “The Lark Ascending” featuring the young violinist Poppy McGhee and the Lochrian Ensemble. We are always recruiting new members of any voice (SATB) and we will welcome all new recruits at this first or subsequent rehearsals (there are no auditions). We rehearse each Wednesday evening except during Sidcot School Half Terms and holidays.
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.
Our next Concert will be at 7:30pm on Saturday 16th June in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore when we will perform George Friederich Handel’s “Foundling Hospital Anthem” in the first half, then an interval for wine and soft drinks followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem”.
Lucy Balderson – Soprano
Finn Lacey – Counter Tenor
Oliver Chubb – Tenor
Harry Guthrie – Bass
Andrew Kirk – Organist
Andrew is the Organist at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol.
The Foundling Hospital Anthem (HWV 268), also known by its longer title “Blessed are they that considereth the poor” is a choral anthem composed by Handel in 1749. It was written for the Foundling Hospital in London and was first performed in the chapel there. Handel wrote two versions, one for choir only and one for choir and soloists. It is compiled from material originating in other works by Handel, ending with the “Hallelujah” chorus from Messiah. The Somerset Choral Society will be performing the version for choir and soloists.
The Requiem in D minor, K. 626, is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was first performed on 14 February that year. The Somerset Choral Society will be performing using the second edition of the score published by Novello that is written for voices and orchestra but the performance will be accompanied on organ.
Rehearsing the Mozart Requiem
The walls of St Mary’s Church Wedmore were echoing last Saturday March 24th as the Somerset Choral Society held a “Come and Sing Messiah”.
More than 90 singers from North Somerset, Sedgemoor, Mendip and South Somerset gathered together for a workshop run by our Musical Director, Edward Goater, who rehearsed four choruses with the singers over two sessions in the morning and afternoon. The choruses were accompanied on the organ played by Matthew Redman. The fun culminated in a short concert during the afternoon. The day was interspersed with breaks for coffee, tea and home- made cakes! Ed shared vocal tips and his musical expertise with the singers who responded with a stirring performance of the Messiah choruses, culminating with a super rendition of the “Hallelujah” chorus.
The Somerset Choral Society is always happy to welcome new singers. There are no auditions although the ability to read music is helpful. Visit our website: http://www.somersetsingers.wordpress.org for further details.
Scene from the Workshop
For our next concert, to be performed in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore on June 16th at 7.30pm, we will be singing the ever popular Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthems (which include the famous Hallelujah chorus). If you would like to join us to sing in this concert, rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening from 7.30 – 9.30 pm at Sidcot School Winscombe. Rehearsal dates are : March 28th, then a break for Easter and resuming on April 18th up to the concert date.