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, music by Kenneth Roberts (our Director of Music since 1996), and of course Christmas carols and music.
The current choir
It is now more than 65 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.
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at St Martha’s Church Hall, Little Common, Bexhill, TN39 4SL. 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 main concert venue is currently St Augustine’s Church, Bexhill (off Cooden Drive), but we also regularly put on concerts at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill.