About the North Herts Guild of Singers

North Herts Guild of Singers says "Hello"

 

 

Welcome to the website of The North Herts Guild of Singers. We are a friendly non-auditioning choir open to all comers from whatever background who want and are able to sing. Based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire with members living in Hertfordshire and the neighbouring counties of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, NHGS is one of the best-known and best-supported choral groups in the area with a membership of about 140 singers and an ever-growing reputation for high standards of music making. We have a wide repertoire, ranging from the major choral works through to popular oratorio and to smaller, less familiar works. We seek to extend our range of music to include current compositions, and secular works.

As a non-auditioning choir we recognise that our members will have different levels of choral experience; however we all share a common love of choral singing. We rehearse on Thursday evenings under the direction of Stephen Bullamore. He and our répétiteur, Colin Spinks, are professional musicians keen on developing and maintaining the high musical standards we set ourselves. Our normal rehearsal venue, as of September 2015, is Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin but check the diary in the Members Area for up-to-date rehearsal details.


We regularly perform four concerts a year in England and have also enjoyed wonderful trips to Malta, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium, singing in Florence, Ghent, Seville and Nuits St Georges among many other exciting venues. This is just part of the Guild story:


As you will see under previous concerts, we have performed many of the major choral works over the past few years together with programmes of lighter music appropriate to the type of concert we are giving.

For example, in 2011 we followed Bach’s Mass in B minor with favourites from Gilbert & Sullivan, and the Duruflé Requiem in the autumn; in 2012 we performed Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality, Brahms’s German Requiem, and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. All of these concerts were performed to capacity audiences, demonstrating the popularity of the choir within the local community.

In 2013 we were joined by the Orpheus Choir of North Herts to commemorate the late John Railton - who founded both choirs - with a performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion; in contrast, our summer and autumn concerts featured several 20th century composers, a highlight being our newly commissioned work from Terry Mann, Lux Vivens Angeli, based on the texts of Hildegard of Bingen. This piece was premiered on our tour that year to Bingen and Mainz.

In 2014 we added two works to our repertoire: Elgar’s Apostles in the spring and Handel's Judas Maccabeus in November. Sandwiched in between was a light-hearted summer programme of Music from the Movies.

In 2015 we teamed Mozart's ever-popular Requiem with the lesser known Let God Arise by 'the English Mozart' Thomas Linley, and travelled nearly 100 miles along the A1 to reprise our Songs from a Summer Evening at conductor Stephen Bullamore's 'home ground' of St Mary Magdalene in Newark. In November we were invited by Herts Philharmonia to sing Ode to Joy in their performance of Beethoven's 9th (Choral) Symphony.

In 2016 we enjoyed Elgar's stunning Dream of Gerontius in March - a concert which was rated by choir and audience alike as one of our best ever - and in July we presented Puccini's beautiful Messa di Gloria. In November we fulfilled a longstanding commitment to perform Handel's Israel in Egypt, which was dropped from our Millennium Concert programme in 2000 for technical reasons.

We could not have asked for a better start to 2017 - Verdi's magnificent Requiem with the Herts Philharmonia and soloists Claire Pendleton, Louise Mott, Julian Stocker and Julian Empett. The two Julians, along with tenor Mark Wilde, Musica Donum Dei and others, have become regular favourites with Guild audiences and we are always delighted to welcome old friends to perform with us. In the summer we presented a varied programme featuring Finzi, Elgar, Bruckner and Vierne at what was for us a new venue - the church of St Mary in Baldock. Over the years we have been welcomed at many wonderful venues, including the Coptic Church Centre in Stevenage, Letchworth Free Church, St Mary's in Ashwell, the church of St Andrew & St George in Stevenage, and most frequently St Mary's in Hitchin, where we regularly stage our Christmas concerts.

Members of the Guild often take part in charity events, and have enjoyed wonderful concerts with the massed choirs of Hertfordshire at the Royal Albert Hall, performing such wonderful works as Britten's War Requiem and Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts in aid of the British Council for the Prevention of Blindness. Closer to home we have raised thousands of pounds for the Garden House Hospice.

As often as our calendar permits we hold workshops to help those within our community to improve their singing and to give participants an opportunity to take part in a concert. If you would like to join us please see the relevant web pages for details; to be kept informed about our future concerts, please send us your email address via the form on the Home page.

We hope you enjoy this website and that it inspires you to start singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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