About the Choir
Before the war, a group of singers known as Bexhill Chorus joined together, and continued to sing and perform concerts until 1952, when Bexhill Choral Society was founded.
The first concert was performed at St. Barnabas Church, Sea Road. There is no record of the programme, but it could well have been Handel’s Messiah. From that year until 1982 Messiah was performed almost annually, along with a Christmas Carol concert held at the De La Warr Pavilion, and other works were also introduced into the repertoire. The choir also took part in the BBC programme ‘Friday Night is Seaside Night’, which was broadcast from the De La Warr Pavilion for at least 7 years in the 50s and 60s.
In 1979 the featured soprano soloist in Haydn’s Creation was none other than the now world-famous Lesley Garrett, who in 2013 became the Society’s Patron. Since 1982 the Society has performed at least three concerts each year, one of which has always been a Christmas-themed programme.
Concerts have included Brahms’ and Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation and Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah and Coronation Anthems, Glorias by Poulenc, Puccini, Rutter and Vivaldi, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, Parry and Stanford songs, Gilbert and Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein songs, opera choruses, music by Kenneth Roberts (our Director of Music since 1996), and of course Christmas carols and music.
The current choir
It is now 70 years since its foundation, and the choir is still going strong! We have over 50 members and perform 3 concerts each year. The Spring and Autumn concerts, which are generally from the classical choral repertoire, are accompanied by orchestra, and our popular Christmas concert ‘Carols and Christmas Music for Choir and Audience’ is accompanied by organ and a brass ensemble.
We also put on a number of social events including a popular Quiz, and Summer and Christmas socials, and have a weekly ‘drop-in’ coffee morning at a local cafe. Kenneth Roberts, our Director of Music, also performs an annual Lecture Recital, on subjects ranging from Mozart to ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton and ‘Music from the Movies’. These are both informative and entertaining, and are always a sell-out. In November 2016 we held a Messiah workshop ‘Have a Hallelujah morning!’ which proved very popular with local singers, some of whom had no previous experience of ‘classical’ choral singing, and in November 2019 held another open ‘Singing Morning’ based on a few items from our planned Great Choral Classics concert for May 2020.
Sadly Covid-19 got in the way of this! Like all choirs we shut up shop in March 2020 but in June 2020 began Zoom rehearsals, with our conductor Ken directing from his piano at home. Zoom rehearsals, where you can only hear yourself, were not everyone’s cup of tea, but a stalwart band of 20-30 members carried on nevertheless, until in June 2021 we cautiously re-started in-person rehearsals, leading to a triumphant concert in October 2021. This was followed by a warmly received Christmas concert and in May 2022 we finally performed the concert originally scheduled in 2020! It has been wonderful to sing together again, described by members as ‘uplifting’ and ‘a joy’, and hopefully boosting all our immune systems!
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings, currently from 7-8.40 p.m., mostly at Little Common Community Centre, Shepherd’s Close, Little Common, Bexhill, TN39 4SQ but on the 4th Wednesday of each month at St Barnabas Church, Sea Road, Bexhill, TN40 1JG. Our accompanist is well-known local organist and musician Nigel Howard, and we also have occasional input from singer and vocal coach Susannah Appleyard.
Our usual concert venue is St Barnabas Church, Sea Road, Bexhill, but we also regularly put on concerts at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill. To hear excerpts from previous concerts, find us on YouTube: Mozart Ave Verum or a sparkling selection of 6 items from our 2019 Christmas Carols and Music concert.
We are a friendly non-audition choir and we warmly welcome new singers, particularly in the lower voices. Anyone interested in joining the choir is very welcome to come along for a few weeks free of charge, so you can decide whether it’s for you. For further details see the Useful Information page and contact us here.