Introducing Royston Choral Society

  • Posted on: 3 October 2016
  • By: admin

Royston Choral Society (RCS) is a friendly, unauditioned choir of around 70 singers from a wide range of backgrounds and singing abilities united by enjoying singing together to produce memorable concerts.

Follow this link to see details of our next concert.

Some recordings from recent concerts can be seen here

Our most recent concert took place in Ashwell Parish Church in March 2022:

A slightly reduced chorus (as a result on-going Covid19 infections) supported by a first rate group of soloists and orchestral players performed in front of a packed and very appreciative house.

The coronavirus pandemic seriously disrupted our 2019-20 season and meant we were unable to rehearse or perform at all in 2020-21. We were consequently delighted to return to in-person rehearsals in September 2021. Those rehearsals culminated in our first concert for 2 years.

Our voices were perhaps a little rough and rusty when we first started rehearsing again. However, a few weeks of Andrew's patience with vocal exercises was enough to start to get our vocal cords back into shape. The Haydn and Handel works that we performed are amongst the most joyful in the repertoire. That came across in a very well received concert where we were lucky to be joined by some first rate soloists and instrumentalists.

Details of our plans for the 2021-22 season are available here.

RCS currently rehearses on Tuesday evenings 7.45 - 9.30 in Bassingbourn Village College and performs around four times a year in Royston and surrounding villages. New singers are welcome to join RCS by coming along to an open rehearsal.

For more details about the society please contact the chair - Huw Jenkins - chair@roystonchoralsoc.org.uk

The 2019-20 season for the society got off to a great start.

In September we took part in our first concert of the season. This was the Hertfordhsire High Sheriff's Community Choirs concert, held in Haileybury College on September 28th. Sarah Beazley, in her year as High Sheriff, had an idea for a concert that would bring choirs together from across the county to sing together. Music is something that unites us and choirs demonstrate cooperation, inclusivity and the sharing of a positive experience. Sarah wants to have a focus on supporting stronger communities during her term in office, and felt choirs were a good example of this. Nine choirs took part, performing both individually and together in a concert that was a joyful celebration of the power of song and community spirit.

We returned to Haileybury College at the beginning of November for a performance of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius. The highly acclaimed performance was in collaboration with Haileybury College Chapel and Lower School Choirs, as well as Haileybury Choral Society with the Herfordshire Philharmonia Orchestra. The picture below shows the performers and more pictures from the concert are available here.

Our Christmas concert in 2019 was A traditional family Christmas concert of carols and seasonal music. You can read a review of it and see pictures here.

We were due then to perform Bach's Mass in B minor in March, followed by a lighter summer concert in June. Sadly both had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

During the 2018-19 season we performed in 4 concerts.

In November 2018 we participated in a performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Held at Haileybury College, it was in collaboration with the college choirs and Hertfordshire Philharmonia. Here is a photo of the performers:

We usually hold our Christmas concert in Royston Parish Church. In 2018, because of the dreadful fire that had taken place there, this picture shows us performing at the Meridian school instead:

A link to the review of the concert with more pictures and recordings is here.

In April 2019 we performed Bach's St John Passion in Ashwell Parish Church. Sung in the original German, the soloists included Daniel Joy as the Evangelist and Lukas Kargl as Jesus.
See more pictures and read the review here.

Our final concert of the season was in Barkway Parish church, which turned out to be a wonderfully cool location on what was one of the hottest days of the year.
Entitled Songs of Love, it included music by Schubert, Lauridsen, Alexander L'Estrange, Brahms and the society's own Richard Prince. You can read more about it and see further pictures here.

The choir usually also enjoys one or two social evenings a year, usually involving food and drink. We ended the season by having a barbecue on the Heath in Royston. It also turned out to be one of the more energetic social evenings with many members enjoying a fairly relaxed game of rounders. Some of the more competitive are seen here enjoying a game of croquet

Musical Notes - Melanie Dawson-Dew

  • Posted on: 6 May 2022
  • By: huw

What is the earliest memory of music in your life? It's almost impossible to isolate one memory but here are a few of the first. At my lovely primary school in Harrow we of course sang hymns at our daily assemblies and I only have to hear Hills of the North Rejoice and I'm back on that stage at Roxbourne Primary School. I was also lucky enough to be one of those children taken to the Ernest Read concerts for children at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday mornings - how fabulous was that.

Making Music costs Money!

  • Posted on: 6 May 2022
  • By: huw

In September 2021 we were able to return to rehearsals after an enforced break of 18 months and, in November 2021 and March 2022, we mounted two successful performances. Both were enjoyed by choir and audience alike, but the concerts don’t just happen!

In a recent post we highlighted the number of people behind each performance. In this post, Royston Choral Society Treasurer and soprano Caroline Franks looks at the cost of putting on our March concert in Ashwell.

Music as medicine

  • Posted on: 6 May 2022
  • By: huw

Most of us are touched by music – whether as listeners, performers, or both – and many of us in the Royston Choral Society can relate how music helped keep our spirits up through the lockdowns.

A new publication uses this post-lockdown phase in the pandemic to reflect on the value of music for our individual and collective wellbeing, suggesting ways in which it might be more integrated into health care provision.

Musical Memories - Penny Morgan

  • Posted on: 6 May 2022
  • By: huw

Although primarily an instrumentalist, singing has always been a part of my life. One of my earlier recollections is as a nervous 11 year old preparing to sing the opening verse of Once in Royal David’s City for the annual school carol concert in St Johns Church, Digswell, Hertfordshire.

Remembering St Mary's - Neil Heywood

  • Posted on: 9 March 2022
  • By: huw

It will be sixty years ago this September that I went up to London, aged just 18, to become a student at London University. Fresh from the sixth form and a bit adrift in this huge city, I looked for something to do, and as a keen singer at school and in the Hull Bach Choir, I found the University Madrigal Society at a freshers’ evening and went to a couple of meetings.

Growing up in Kenya - John Crosher

  • Posted on: 9 March 2022
  • By: huw

Nearly all my schooling from age 6 to 19 was spent in Kenya, which in those colonial days, and looking back, was a wonderful time. My primary boarding school was near Thomson's Falls (now called Nyahururu and is a tourist attraction) which is in the Laikipia district, close to the edge of the Great Rift Valley. It was partially surrounded by tropical forest, so at break time we went into it and saw colobus monkeys swinging through the trees, and other wildlife.

A dual life - Ian Boughton

  • Posted on: 9 March 2022
  • By: huw

Having just joined the Royston Choral Society to get my vocals back in training, I feel I have come full circle in my musical activities. I was a late developer, only taking a real interest in the passion for singing in my mid 20’s when I began formal lessons with the late Malcolm Singer. I’ve always been interested in stage-work and belonged to two amateur dramatic societies but, despite my heritage of being the youngest grandson of English composer Rutland Boughton (1878-1960) I had no ambition on the music profession and instead joined the Civil Service.

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