Upbeat for more than 50 years

Founded in 1968 by John Railton, the North Herts Guild of Singers has built a repertoire of the great choral works, popular oratorio and opera pieces, and has benefitted from some inspirational musical directors who have each contributed greatly to its success. Grant Llewelyn, Nicholas Wilks (pictured with John Railton at the choir's 25th anniversary concert), Alexander Chaplin, Marion Wood and Jonathan Williams introduced us to new and challenging works including David Fanshawe's African Sanctus, Bach's St. John Passion, Tippett's A Child of Our Time and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, among many others.

From 2009 to 2019 Stephen Bullamore inspired and challenged the choir with his interpretations of Faure's Requiem, the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers, Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man and all of Bach's major oratorios, ending his tenure with the St John Passion. Our current music director is Harry Bradford, a young man with a huge talent (see under Music Director for more information about Harry).

The choir has been privileged to have had outstanding accompanists over the years. Kate Elmitt, a founder member of the Guild, accompanied us from 1975 to 2001, followed by Peter Jaekel and Thomas Coltman. Since September 2011, we have been fortunate in having Colin Spinks as our accompanist and répétiteur.

Apart from our splendid conductors and accompanists, the choir has worked with some wonderful soloists including Sam Walton, percussion concerto finalist in the 1996 Young Musician of the Year contest; Huw Rhys-Evans, three times Solo Tenor of the Year at the Royal National Eisteddfod; percussionist Simone Rebello; Guildhall students Ben Thapa and Michael Christie (who went on to form half of G4), Eugene O'Hagen - now better known as a member of the singing group The Priests - and Alis Huws, harpist at the coronation of King Charles III. We also enjoyed a memorable evening with the great Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

Orchestral accompaniment has been provided by, among others, the North Herts College Orchestra, the Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra, Hertfordshire Philharmonia, Musica Donum Dei, English Sinfonia, Charivari Agréable and the London Mozart Players.

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