Spotlight
Designed by B.a.c.l.-Systems © B.a.c.l. 2015 Last updated  10th  August 2018 The Spotlight is on the “Lancaster & District ChoralSociety”

This is one of North Lancashire’s largest four-part Choir, having over seventy registered singing members.

The Choral Society can trace its musical history back over 175 years to 1836 when it was known as the Lancaster & District Musical Society.  The Choral Society celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2011 and 2012.

John Perrin is the Society’s Musical Director and has been responsible for introducing the many challenging works that the Choir now perform since he joined in 2002. John has over fifty years’ experience in music. Educated at Birmingham School of Music and Bretton Hall College of Education he has ABSMs in General Musicianship and Organ Teaching, and ARCM in Organ Performer and Special Harmony; plus Cert.in Education (Music credit). He has had extensive experience as a music teacher and Head of Music in various schools throughout the Midlands and the North.

John has wide experience in producing music of various genres. In Musicals/Operettas he has produced Carousel, Guys and Dolls, The King & I, Kiss Me Kate, Merrie England, Oklahoma, Oliver, Orpheus in the Underworld, South Pacific, Waltzes from Vienna, West Side Story and White Horse Inn. He also has extensive experience in Gilbert and Sullivan including the favourites Gondoliers, HMS Pinafore and Mikado.

In his time with the Lancaster & District Choral Society, since 2002, he has introduced works that have challenged the Choir on every occasion.

The Choral Society was honoured to announce in 2006, the appointment, as President of the Choral Society, the internationally renowned D’Oyly Carte tenor Thomas Round. He retired during, 2015, and sadly died two weeks before his 101st birthday, on 2 October 2016. The Choral Society has not appointed a replacement.

The Choir has performed a great variety of work over its history, from Mozart to Elgar, Brahms to The Beatles, as well as contemporary composers such as John Rutter, Karl Jenkins and Howard Goodall.

Traditionally, the Choral Society performed its main concerts in the Ashton Hall, Lancaster, and later in the Great Hall of Lancaster University and latterly in Lancaster Priory and The Grand Theatre.  In these main concerts a full orchestra and professional soloists supported the Choral Society. During their 175th anniversary year, 2011-2012, the Choir performed Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Berlioz’ Grande Messe des Morts, and a celebration concert of things British, including music associated with the Queen’s Coronation and the Olympic Games.

The Society has participated in several performances by the ‘Really Big Chorus’ at the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) in London. In 2006, we performed in Verdi’s Requiem, as a preliminary to our own production at the Ashton Hall, Lancaster, in 2007. In 2008, a group from the Choir participated in Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, after our own performance in Lancaster. Also, in July 2009, some of us participated in John Rutter’s Requiem conducted by the composer himself.

On 11th July 2010, after several weeks’ rehearsals, some 30 of the choir performed at the World Premiere of Karl Jenkins’ new Gloria, at the RAH, which we brought to Lancaster for the Northern Premiere on 27th November!

The sequence of concerts has changed over recent years. Since 2013, there is only one concert in the Autumn Term (in early December), which is a mixed ‘Classical’/Traditional Christmas Concert. In the Spring Term, a full ‘classical’ concert is performed (usually in April) which in 2017 comprised Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. A Summer Concert (performed by part of the Choir known as The Chorale) is held at Bolton-le-Sands Community Centre in late June/early July. Rehearsals are also held at the Community Centre, and commence on the Monday immediately following the Spring Concert. In recent years The Chorale has toured Hampshire and Worcestershire, performing in Andover Priory, Great Malvern Priory, Winchester and Worcester Cathedrals.

For 2018, there will be a return to Karls Jenkins’ The Armed Man. It will be held in the Ashton Hall, George Street, Lancaster, which is a return for the Choral Society after an absence of nine years.

In addition to our musical activities we hold three coffee mornings and an Annual Dinner each year.

So, if you are interested in singing with us, do come, and join us.

We welcome people of all ages and abilities: experience is not essential and there is no audition, although a voice/range test may be requested, at the MD’s discretion. We have members who are new to singing and some with extensive experience. The Choir is a very mixed group! However, the music being rehearsed is introduced carefully to allow for ease of learning.  

 We meet on Monday nights, from the beginning of September until the Spring Concert in the Chapel, University of Cumbria, Bowerham Road, Lancaster LA1 3JD. Rehearsals start at 7:00 p.m. and finish around 9.30 p.m. with a break in the middle.To contact them go to see their website and email them from there.

John Robinson  

Editor B.a.c.l.

Former chairman of LDCS.