The first rehearsal of Cirencester Choral Society took place on Tuesday 6th October 1863 under the direction of Frederick Helmore, the nationally renowned ‘Musical Missionary’. He started similar classes soon to become choral societies, nationwide and how many, like Cirencester, survive today? Contact our Archivist if you have come across Frederick Helmore’s name in the history of your society.
He was followed in 1864 by the youthful but revered Richard Mann, a former Child of the Chapel Royal, who died in 1869 at the tragically early age of 33.
Edward Brind (Conductor 1877-95) had earlier been Parry’s first music teacher and was followed as conductor by the long-serving Arthur Gibbons (1896-1923). A high spot was the visit, in 1905, of Sir Hubert Parry to conduct his oratorio ‘Job’.
In spite of attempts to revive it after the Great War, the Society lay silent until it was re-formed in 1937. The Society’s archives for 1945 contain letters of acceptance to become Patrons from Ralph Vaughan Williams, Herbert Howells and Reginald Jacques. Since then it has continued to sing under a succession of professional conductors including, in 1959-60, the former Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Former Conductors, Joyce Lang, David White, John Wright and David Whitehead remain Honorary Life Members and we are grateful for their continuing friendship and support.