Guildford Chamber Choir
Guildford Chamber Choir aims to bring to Surrey audiences a wide range of music performed in fresh and exciting ways:
- We sing familiar choral works such as JS Bach’s Magnificat and Haydn’s Nelson Mass but we bring a more intimate dimension to these works by staging them with smaller scale performances than might normally be used, often enhanced by the accompaniment of period instruments. We have recently explored some less familiar repertoire with a performance of Buxtehude’s cantata cycle Membra Jesu Nostri accompanied by the viol consort Newe Vialles and other leading early music instrumentalists. The extensive solos were taken by members of the choir.
- We also sing much more recent music such as James MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados with its hard hitting texts about political oppression in South America, and Richard Rodney Bennett’s ‘Nonsense’ settings of verse by Mervyn Peake. To mark our 30th anniversary in 2010 we commissioned a companion piece to Britten’s St Nicolas from Philip Moore, former Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. His Ode on St Cecilia's Day sets a text in praise of the power of music by Alexander Pope.
- We aim for the highest standards. Until November 2017 our Principal Conductor was Steven Grahl, who is a prizewinning organist as well as being an inspiring choral conductor. Steven was Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral before taking up the post of organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford in September 2018.
- As well as our concerts we organise workshop days, which are open to all, and also regularly visit cathedrals to sing when the cathedral’s regular choir is taking a break.
- We are keen to work with local groups and organisations. In the Summer of 2017 we collaborated with Guildford Jazz on a programme which included local composer Will Todd’s Songs of Peace and we took part in a Gala Concert performance of Haydn’s The Creation with the Occam Singers and the Surrey Mozart Players as part of the Guildford Spring Music Festival.
- Finally, all our main concerts are organised in conjunction with a local charity. At each concert the charity’s representatives are given an opportunity to talk about its work and take a retiring collection. Over the last ten years more than £20,000 has been raised for the charities we’ve supported.