Choirs are a fantastic way of bringing a group of people together and creating a real sense of community. No matter whether you’re young or just young at heart, there a number of benefits that come along with being part of a choir including:
- Adding to your social life
- Feeling happy
- Gaining personal confidence
Find out more benefits in City Academy’s article here.
With so many benefits of joining a choir, we wanted to take a look at some of the amazing choirs here in the UK. In particular, choir groups who have their own unique sound that they are bringing to the London scene.
London City Voices
“London City Voices was the brainchild of Richard Swan, a former teacher and established musician.Having led a community choir in his local south London neighbourhood for a year or so, in 2011 he spotted a gap for an after-work choir in central London that would give people the chance to get together and sing fun, interesting arrangements of well-known pop songs.
He took a direct approach to marketing, and gathered his early members by standing on London Bridge with a banner and leaflets, asking commuters “Who do you know who likes to sing?” Several of those first members are still in the choir today.
From a small beginning on one evening a week in a lovely Christopher Wren church near Monument, London City Voices has now expanded to four rehearsal venues on Mondays to Thursdays, attracting up to 500 singers a week. Our last concert was an 80s extravaganza, boasting 400 singers dressed up in all sorts of 80s garb.
We offer members workshops where they can learn to read music or improve their singing technique, open-mic nights, networking events – with over 800 members we have people who do pretty much everything – and even singing holidays.
We welcome new members at every rehearsal. They love our non-judgemental, no-audition, highly inclusive approach. They also love the opportunities we offer to take part in amazing events, from singing with Damien Rice at the London Palladium and entertaining the crowd and runners at the London Marathon to performing at Wembley.”
The Bach Choir
“In recent years The Bach Choir has featured on some of the biggest film releases, such as:
Kingdom of Heaven,
The Chronicles of Narnia,
Shrek the Third, and
Jack the Giant Slayer.
In 2011 the choir collaborated with John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on The Colours of Christmas, which reached No 3 in the Official Classical Charts. In 2013, we also worked on projects for BBC Radio 3, BBC One, Sky Arts and Sky Sports News. Away from the recording studio the choir is often asked to feature in concert programmes for renowned classical music promoter Raymond Gubbay, as well as collaborations annually with John Rutter and The Royal British Legion.
The Bach Choir, one of the world’s leading choruses, has sung in prestigious venues around the UK, collaborated with the Rolling Stones, and worked on blockbuster films including Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.
Now the choir, whose history includes such notable names as Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and Ralph Vaughan Williams, can also add the title of the brainiest cultural institution in Britain to its honours board. The 140-year-old institution was crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz, which pitted some of the UK’s biggest cultural bodies against each other.”
“The London Oriana Choir champions exceptional choral music, performing in concert halls, cathedrals and churches in London, around the UK and abroad. Always seeking new challenges, the choir’s repertoire spans the centuries from the Renaissance to the present day, covering the great choral works of Bach, Mozart and Handel to contemporary commissions and, in particular, exploring the often-overlooked music of female composers. Away from its traditional classical roots, the choir has recently performed with stars such as Barbra Streisand, Robert Plant and Pete Townshend and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM.”
St Albans Bach Choir
“St Albans Bach Choir gave its first concert, a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, in 1924. The choir presents a wide variety of music, staging three major concerts a year and two charity carol concerts in St Albans Cathedral. Andrew Lucas, the Cathedral’s Master of the Music, has been the choir’s Music Director since 1998.
Recent programmes have included Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem (alsoin London’s Cadogan Hall), Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and in July 2016 the choir joined forces with the St Albans Cathedral Choirs to present Bach’s Mass in B minor with The English Concert. In 2011 the choir had the privilege to be conducted by John Rutter in a performance of his Magnificat and Requiem. As part of the St Albans International Organ Festival’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 2013 the choir performed Britten’s War Requiem with the Britten Sinfonia, under the baton of Sir Richard Armstrong. Last year the choir returned to the Festival in July for a performance of Handel’s Messiah with the London Handel Orchestra conducted by Laurence Cummings. The choir has also given concerts in Lille Cathedral (Rachmaninoff’s Vespers) and the Rudolfinum in Prague (Mozart’s Requiem) and has been recorded on several occasions by BBC Radio. In December 2013, and again in been recorded on several occasions by BBC Radio. In December 2013, and again in 2015, the choir joined John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for their popular carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. The choir was also represented onstage at the Albert Hall in both 2016 and 2017 for the Christmas and New Year BBC1 Big Sing broadcasts.”
Trinity Boys Choir
“The members of Trinity Boys Choir are pupils at Trinity School in Croydon, an independent day school for boys aged 10 to 18 and sixth form girls. Fine choral singing has for many years been a distinctive feature of the school’s life and the choir has recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The boys frequently appear on such prestigious stages as Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera House, English National Opera and at various opera houses abroad. The choir is especially well known for its role in Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, having appeared in over 150 professional performances of the opera, on the Warner DVD, on the Virgin Classics CD and on Glyndebourne’s own label CD. Recent operatic engagements include The Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, English National Opera, the Aix-en-Provence Festival and theatres in the USA, Belgium, China, Israel and Italy.
On the concert platform, the choir is regularly invited to perform at the BBC Proms, and was honoured to perform in Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th Birthday Prom Concert at The Royal Albert Hall in 2006. The boys have performed with all the major London orchestras, and with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir in Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK. Trinity Boys Choir has also been invited to perform in Vienna with the Vienna Boys Choir, as well as throughout Europe and Asia.
Soloists from the choir have recently appeared at the Krakow Film Festival, at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, and in the Konzerthaus, Vienna.
The choir’s many recordings include John Rutter’s Bang, an opera written for the boys; Benjamin Britten’s A Boy Was Born with the BBC Symphony Chorus; William Walton’s Henry V with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Singers; and Carmina Burana with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The boys recorded the St Matthew Passion with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and the recent release of Ludford’s Missa Dominica was Recording of the Month in MusicWeb International.
TV appearances have included The Royal Variety Performance, The Pride of Britain Awards, Strictly Come Dancing and Children in Need. In 2014 the boys featured alongside the Gabrieli Consort in a BBC documentary about the early London performances of Handel’s Messiah. The boys can also be heard on the soundtracks of numerous films, including the Disney’s Maleficent, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 and Mockingjay 2 and in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.”
West End Musical Choir
“West End Musical Choir is London’s adult non-audition musical theatre Choir! We host weekly rehearsals learning the classic and new hits from the West End & Broadway, uniquely led by a range of professional Musical Directors from the West End.
This is the ultimate feel-good experience learning how to sing the songs from the musicals we all love.
Within a fun and social environment, you have the freedom to explore your voice and build your musical repertoire.
Plus we are the first Choir to offer a free Choir App on IOS & Android to access material!
No audition, no need to read sheet music and no pressure to perform…
Join the most diverse Choir community, having weekly social events, regular theatre trips and special big-scale events. When you join, you will bring a bit of West End sparkle into your week by singing with us at our weekly rehearsals and, should you want to take it further, you can take to the stage with our performance opportunities – such as at Hampton Court Palace, the V&A Museum, the London Marathon, ‘This Morning’ ITV, ‘Good Morning Britain’ ITV, ‘The One Show’ BBC, Abbey Road Studios, West End LIVE at Trafalgar Square, Disneyland Paris, Notre Dame Paris and many more…”
East Riding County Choir
East Riding County Choir are a fantastic group that we have had the pleasure of working with to provide our Q-Plus tiered staging.
“The East Riding County Choir (www.eastridingcountychoir.org) was formed in 1957 under the East Riding Education Committee but has been an independent self-funding body since 1978. We recently celebrated our 60th birthday with a performance of Verdi’s ‘Requiem’, assisted by the Beverley Chamber Choir. Our last concert included a moving performance of Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light’ in which we were joined by the East Riding Youth Singers.
Over the years we have sung most of the major choral works and biennially we put on Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
We meet during the Spring and Winter terms to rehearse for our two main concerts which we are privileged to sing in the glorious Beverley Minster.
We welcome singers from across the East Riding and also some from “over the bridge” in Lincolnshire.”
Also using our performance staging solutions is the wonderful Aeolian Singers choir.
“Aeolian Singers is a choral society based in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. We are now relatively small in number and our average age is probably over 60 (not checked too carefully!). We rehearse every week at a local school (in term time).
We generally put on three or four concerts each year and/or a ‘come & sing’ workshop event – mainly to attract new members. We perform mostly sacred music typically with organ or piano accompaniment. We perform usually in our local church which is St John’s in Boxmoor, but sometimes we use a local school hall especially if the music is more ‘pop’.
St John’s is the largest suitable venue in the area since Hemel Hempstead no longer has a cultural centre for performing arts. This is probably one of the reasons why the local council (Dacorum Borough) awarded us a grant to help purchase staging equipment in 2005. We use the equipment for all our concerts at St John’s and elsewhere – unless the venue has its own. Also a number of other choirs in our area hire the equipment from us for a modest fee. The great value of the tiered staging is enabling all singers to see the conductor and therefore keep in time!
Whenever possible we combine forces with other local choirs so that we can perform larger works with an orchestra for example at St Albans Abbey. In 2016 we performed Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with orchestra and managed to squeeze all into St John’s. We did receive grant money to enable this to happen.”
Highgate Choral Society
“The Highgate Choral Society is a choir which has been bringing music to the people of north London for more than 130 years. It has grown into an organisation with more than 200 members of all ages, drawn from all walks of life, with a common interest in singing and performing music in our own community. The choir performs up to six concerts a year locally, and enjoys an enviable reputation for the high standard of its concerts. ‘Strong impactful singing across the board’ was how one music critic described its July 2011 performance at the Royal Festival Hall. It is also renowned for its unusual repertoire which encompasses new commissions and rarely performed works from the English choral canon, as well as the more popular choral pieces. Recent commissions include “Behold the Sea” by Ronald Corp, which was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall on 7 March 2016 and “Two or Three Angels” by Russell Hepplewhite which was first performed in St. Michael’s Church, Highgate on 1 July 2017.
HCS regularly works with professional musicians, including the New London Orchestra, and performs at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican. The choir is also proud to work alongside a variety of established and up and coming young soloists: Rupert Charlesworth, Anna Devin, Rebecca Evans, Sam Evans, Magid el-Bushra, Grace Davidson, Catherine Hopper and Andrew Staples are just a few of the talented performers who have shared a stage with HCS.
Overseas tours are a regular feature and the choir has been privileged to sing in some of the great cathedrals of Europe including Nôtre Dame, Brussels, St Mark’s, St Vitus, Salzburg, Lisbon, Santarém and Naples. HCS remains true to its founding principles, giving local people the opportunity to take part in first-rate, high quality performances in a sociable context where they are able to learn and enjoy choral music for its artistic quality and splendour. As London’s Evening Standard wrote, ‘HCS is a standard bearer of London’s great amateur choral tradition’.”
These are just a few of the superbly talented choirs that we are lucky to have here in the UK. Why not take a leap and join a choir near you today? Whether that’s in and around London or elsewhere.
Make sure to get involved as applications for 2019 will be open now! You can even get involved in a choir with your school. If you’re a teacher, why not ask your pupils if they would like to be part of a choir? Not only does this provide many benefits for teenagers to adults but for even younger children too.
Already part of a choir group? Contact us today to see how we can help you stage the perfect performance with our Q-Plus staging.