ABOUT THE CHOIR
Brenchley Choral Society is a friendly community choir, formed in 1997 with the aim of performing a ‘scratch’ Messiah. Under the leadership of Marjorie Ayling this was achieved after 10 weekly rehearsals with a choir of 40, an orchestra made up of amateur musicians from the neighbourhood and a capacity audience. Having been so popular it was decided to repeat the exercise the following year performing Haydn: Creation, again with an amateur orchestra. The Music Director essentially judged the choir good enough to continue, but needed more
substantial orchestral support, so from then on professional musicians were engaged.
Since then the choir has performed each spring with growing numbers, peaking at 100 for the performance of The Armed Man in 2011, with an audience limited to standing room only.
Marjorie Ayling retired in 2012, and Gareth Stubberfield assumed the role until himself retiring to Cornwall in 2015. Richard Walshaw then took over as Music Director during which time a number of new singers joined. This enabled a different style of concert involving several shorter choral works together with orchestral and solo items which was well received by both performers and audience. In 2020 the addition of a short performance by Brenchley & Matfield Primary School Ensemble was hugely popular.
Over the years many of the popular major works have been performed as well as lesser-known works. These include Haydn:Creation, Vivalidi:Gloria, Faure:Requiem, a selection of opera choruses and traditional folksongs. Recent works with orchestra include Haydn:Maria Thèresa Mass and Handel:Coronation Anthems.
Our primary aim is to provide a platform for anyone, regardless of experience, who has ever wanted to sing with a large choir and professional musicians. Our secondary aim is to raise money for local charities and, once the substantial costs have been met by subscriptions and ticket sales, any surplus totalling thousands of pounds over the years has been sent to Hospice in the Weald, Kent Air Ambulance, Alzheimer's Society, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Headway and National Rheumatoid Arthritis Association, among others.
NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR
In the spring of 2021 sadly for the choir Richard Walshaw and his wife relocated to Hampshire but the choir is delighted that Roland Millar, top local musician and soloist, is carrying on the good work now the government has allowed the resumption of singing after covid restrictions.
LOCATION OF CONCERTS
All concerts take place in the beautiful surroundings of the medieval church of All Saints, Brenchley, Grade 1 Listed.
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