RCS logoRoyston Choral Society

"fine music made locally"

Introducing Royston Choral Society and our new Musical Director

Royston Choral Society was formed in 1974 and is now in its forty-first season.

We rehearse on Tuesday evenings 8.00-10.00 in Royston Parish Church. Despite the venue and much of the music, we are not a religious organisation.

Picture courtesy of Gordon Brown
The picture above shows the choir, our Musical Director Andrew O’Brien, and soloists from Heath Mount School following the highly successful Christmas 'O Holy Night' concert.
We are delighted to welcome Andrew O’Brien as our Musical Director. He took Heath Mount School Junior Choir to win BBC School Choir of the Year 2012, and one of his singing pupils won BBC Chorister of the Year 2013.
Commenting on Andrew’s fourteen years as Director of Music at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Bishop Michael Marshall said: ‘I have been astounded by his ability not only as a performer but especially by his unique ability to draw out others’ gifts for making music – not least an ability to sing of which they had been unaware’

There could not be a better time for aspiring singers to join our society and benefit from this talented new conductor’s expertise. RCS is a friendly choir with members from around the district, some with much musical expertise, others with less, but all sharing enthusiasm for singing.
Just come along to Royston Choral Society’s next free Open Rehearsal on Tuesday 26th April at 8.00 p.m. at Royston Parish Church and join in for the evening. You will not be asked to sing on your own. The ability to read music is helpful but not essential. Being able to blend with others in your voice part is more important.
Membership fees are modest. There is a small charge for refreshments and a popular optional, 100 Club. Members often meet for a drink after choir and get together for a meal a couple of times a year.
For more information about Royston Choral Society, our new musical director and open rehearsals look out for our leaflet in libraries, or contact our Chairman, Heather Howard telephone 01763 249058 or email heather@lemonyellow.org

‘Heart felt gem of a performance’ by Royston Choral Society

A Review of our last concert, by Kate Elbourn

Impressive Standon Church played host to a moving concert by Royston Choral Society on the evening of Palm Sunday.

Directed by Andrew O’Brien the choir started dynamically with excerpts from Handel’s 'Messiah'. It was a commanding and lyrical beginning that illustrated their confidence in their new conductor’s skills. Even when singing ‘All we like sheep have gone astray’, the choir showed remarkable subtlety and attention to his sensitive hands.
The large audience, which comprised of all ages and families including a small baby were soon entranced by the superbly talented Heath Mount School Choristers - two of whom have recently won well deserved music scholarships to Haileybury School. Their voices seemed truly angelic in such an auspicious setting.

The first half was rounded off with Mendelssohn’s ‘Hear my Prayer’. The magical voice of Heath Mount’s Thomas Scrope was responded to by the Royston choir with delicacy and conviction.

After an interval of friendly chat and wine, the audience settled down with hushed anticipation to hear the story of the Crucifixion; text written by Rev J Sparrow-Simpson and music composed by John Stainer. This proved to be an unpretentious and heart felt gem of a performance by Royston Choral Society. From the opening bars the clearly articulated narration from Andrew O’ Brien’s gentle and tender tenor voice was extremely engaging. Both his singing and conducting revealed an unassuming but highly effective style. Michael Smith’s organ solo in 'Processional to Calvary' also made it clear that this rendition, written in 1887, would show no hint of Victorian melodrama. It was performed sensitively in the spirit of 'A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer' - as Stainer had intended it. Standon Church was built as a processional church, the nave and chancel majestically forming one long sweep with vertiginous steps between nave, chancel and then sanctuary. The scene could not have been set more appropriately. When the choir gently sang 'God so loved the World' their facial and vocal expression left no doubt that they were engrossed in the story. The church bells furtively added to the atmosphere as they chimed in the last bar of 'Jesus Said, “Father Forgive Them”, as did the deep rumbling chords of the Bass and organ in 'There was darkness all around' which must have chilled the Saxon foundations of the Church.

The piece is interspersed with wonderful hymns blending the singing of audience / congregation with the choir. This created an engaging and inclusive experience, which poignantly served to highlight the men’s heartfelt solos of 'Is it nothing to you?' followed by the strident calls of 'Oh why will ye die?' The final communal hymn of 'For the Love of Jesus' completed the evening triumphantly.

The whole evening’s performance was a privilege to witness. It was not only the parents of choristers who walked away feeling proud and inspired on that chilly March night.

© Royston Choral Society 2015