In Memoriam - David Lindsay Mills
It is with deep sadness that we announce that David Mills died peacefully in Sunnymead Care Home on Saturday 24th April 2021 after a long illness.
David and his wife Margaret were very long serving members of our choir and David was Chairman of the Society for 15 years, only giving up 2 years ago due to ill health.
David began his singing training in Bournemouth and continued his studies with Roy Henderson in London. After taking part in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition, singing engagements followed with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Sir Charles Groves and also with music and choral societies throughout England. His interest in ensemble singing led to his involvement in a variety of groups from quintets to the renowned Philharmonia Chorus, where he, and Margaret, were members of the semi chorus. As a member of this chorus he sang in the major European Festivals. As a freelance bass he sang in concerts and recordings at the Maltings, Snape with Benjamin Britten and also took part in Master Classes in English Song and Brahms Lieder.
A celebration of David's life was held on Thursday 20th May at St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel. The service was conducted by Reverend Scott Patterson.
Due to the current Covid restrictions, the congregation were not permitted to sing. However, recordings of David's favourite Hymn 'We Have a Gospel to Proclaim' and also 'Love Divine all Loves Excelling' were played. Also there were two poignant recordings of David, with Margaret accompanying, singing A Vaughan Williams Song of Travel 'Bright is the Ring of Words' and 'Close Thine Eyes' by Mary Plumstead. A Family Tribute was read by his daughter Helen, and his Granddaughter played Bach's 'Sarabande' for Solo Cello.
David's family is hoping to organise a concert in his memory in 2022, where we can all gather together to celebrate his life properly in the way he would have liked.
New Message from the Chairman - 27-Sep-2020
Dear Friends and Members of Bridgwater Choral Society.
I find myself once again writing to let you know that for the time being, we will not be having any live performances or rehearsals until the situation with Covid has changed!
As Chairman, I have a duty of care for my members, musical director, accompanists and audience to keep everyone as safe as possible.
I hope that 2021 will allow us to sing once again, and fill St Mary’s church with beautiful music.
Thank you for your continuous support and understanding through these strange times.
I look forward to seeing you all hopefully next year, in the mean time, please keep in the best of health.
Best wishes to you all.
Jackie Collins ( Chairman )
Message from the Chairman - 13-Apr-2020
We find ourselves living through strange times at the moment. Who would have thought that 2020 would bring to the world, a virus, that would force us to shut ourselves behind closed doors, to keep out of harms way.
I don’t know about you all, but I have missed singing with you. It feels very strange not to be going out on a Wednesday evening. Hopefully you are keeping your spirits up, listening to the radio and listening to podcasts etc. It’s not the same, as singing together, but it’s all we have for now. At least the sun has been shining this week, and no rain, which has been a bonus.
We have made a decision on the choice of music for the Christmas concert. It will be Benjamin Britten, Ceremony of Carols, and John Rutter, Feel the Spirit. Also there will be seasonal Christmas Carols and audience participation, plus A fabulous Harpist and Brass section, Iain will let us know what they will be playing when it has been confirmed.
I do realise we have sung theses pieces before, but it was felt that after the dreaded Brexit, we needed something to lift our spirts and be joyful! Even more so now, in this current climate.
I wish you all the very best in these trying times, look after yourselves. Our mental health is vitally important while we are keeping our distance from family and friends. Contact each other, have a chat, even if it’s only for a moment or two. Let’s all support one another! I am always at the end of a phone if you want to call me.
Wishing you all the very best, keep singing if you can. Keep well.
Jackie ( Chairman)
Notice re: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - 11-Mar-2020
at the moment the current number of cases in the UK relatively low and there is no government advice for organisations like us to stop operating. However there are a few common sense rules that apply to us all.
PLEASE do not come to a rehearsal if you have a fever or respiritary symptoms of a cold or a cough but please let your part rep know so that we know what is happening.
All good wishes
Notification of A.G.M. - 27-Aug-2019
The A.G.M. will be held on Wednesday 11th September at St Joseph’s School, Bridgwater commencing at 7.30 pm.
Our 1st rehearsal of the Autumn term will be the previous Wednesday, when music will be available for our performance on Saturday 30th November.
Please consider if you would be willing to take on the post of Librarian or Publicity Officer, both vital committee rôles. Contact Peter Attwood for further information.
See you on 4th! 🎶
Notification of A.G.M. - 15-Aug-2018
The A.G.M. of Bridgwater Choral Society will take place on Wednesday 12th September at St Joseph's School, Bridgwater at 7.30 pm. Please note that our first rehearsal takes place the previous Wednesday, 05th September where music will be handed out for our performance of Handel's Messiah on 01st December 2018.
Your committee needs you! Anyone wishing to stand for election, or knows someone else who might be persuaded please contact Peter Attwood or Jeanne McIntosh. The committee usually meets 6 times a year, so not an onerous commitment.
Following the sad death of Andrew Morton, we are also seeking someone to take on producing the concert programme - is this something you may like to take on? We would be delighted to hear from you...........
Look forward to seeing you on 5th September. 🎶
May 2018 Concert - 04-Apr-2018
Notes from Iain regarding his Benedicite:-
The idea of writing a work for the society came from a chance remark from our president that we had never commissioned a composer to write work specially for us. If we wanted to do that, I thought, I really ought to be able to write it myself. When I was a choirboy, I always enjoyed singing the Benedicite (the song which the 'three holy children' Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Old Testament book of Daniel sing to celebrate being saved from the burning fiery furnace). It was the rhythm of the words of its refrain, 'praise him and magnify him', which now started going round in my mind and provided the musical seed of my own Benedicite. I wanted the accompaniment to reflect the joyful mood of the words, so I decided on brass 5tet, piano duet and timpani, at least partly because there old friends of the society whom I could ask to play. Happily they all agreed, and I've been very touched by the enthusiasm with which the choir and the instrumentalists have tackled the new piece. the Benedicite occupied my spare moments between January and September 2017. It's quite short (about 7 minutes) and I tried to make it as lively and colourful as I could, though there's also a quieter section in the middle, with a solo for our resident soprano soloist, Mary Morgan, whose beautiful singing is already familiar to regular members of our audience.
The baritione soloist, Andre Soares, is Iain's brother's wife's nephew, and they first met when Andre sang for Iain in the back room of his dad's café in his hometown in rural Portugal and told him that he wanted to come to the UK and study to be a professional singer. Iain told him to make a demo recording to send round to various singers and singing teachers here, e.g.Lottie Newstead and Tom Humphreys, who all said he had the potential to succeed. Since he arrived here, various eminent singing teachers have said the same and he's about to start lessons with one of the best in the business. He arrived in this country at the end of 2016 and within 48 hours was working in Macdonald's at Clapham Junction. Hes now been promoted to their HQ in Finchley and is fitting his vocal studies around that.
Notification of A.G.M. - 17-Aug-2017
We reconvene on Wednesday 06th September at 7.30 pm for our A.G.M. followed by the first rehearsal at 8.30 pm. This takes place at St Joseph's School, Bridgwater, which remains our rehearsal venue for the forthcoming season.
Your committee is in need of new blood and we hope that anyone wishing to stand for election, or knows someone else who might be persuaded, will make themselves known. It is not an onerous commitment, we meet 6 times a year and our meetings are usually held on a Monday afternoon.
Look forward to seeing you on 6th September at what will, I'm sure, be the start of a very enjoyable term's singing.
Change of Venue - 20-Apr-2017
It is disappointing to have to advise that St Mary's will not, after all, be ready in time for us to stage our concert in May.
This means that we shall be using the Baptist Church which most of you will know is just across the road from St Mary's.
Your committee is confident that this is a suitable venue for us and hopes very much that your continued support can be relied upon.
Come & Sing - 16-Jan-2017
Bridgwater Choral Society with Conductor Iain Cooper invite you to Come & Sing Fauré's Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine on Saturday 18th February 2017 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
This year we are delighted to be holding the event at the Salvation Army Hall, Bridgwater. TA6 4JS.
If you have been considering joining the Choral Society, this may be just the occasion you are looking for to spend time with us before taking the plunge! We are always looking for new singers, and offer plenty of support and encouragement to get you started.
Entry is £12.00 to include hire of music, with plenty of tea/coffee and biscuits! Please bring a packed lunch.
Places are limited so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment. Telephone Graham Box 01278 458985 or 07878 579114
B.C.S. & Beethoven at Stogursey - 12-Nov-2016
We're working hard on our Beethoven programme at St Andrew's Church on Dec 10. It promises to be a wonderful evening, so put the date in your diaries.
Notification of A.G.M. - 27-Aug-2016
Our A.G.M. will take place on Wednesday 07th September at 7.30 pm at St Joseph's School, Bridgwater, which remains our rehearsal venue for the forthcoming season.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Bridgwater Choral Society welcome you to their 2016-17 Season - 22-Aug-2016
This season, Bridgwater Choral Society are bringing you two very different musical experiences. The first, on 10 December 2016 at St Andrew’s Church, Stogursey (note the venue) is a feast of Beethoven; the second, on 6 May 2017 at St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater is a concert of works by 20th-century British composers. Please make a note of the dates, and be sure to come along to what promise to be two wonderful evenings of choral music.
‘But, my dear Beethoven, what is that you have done?’ This was the reaction of Prince Esterhazy after hearing the first performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C in 1807. Later, the prince wrote to a friend: ‘Beethoven’s mass is unbearably ridiculous’. Posterity would disagree; one critic has written that the Mass in C ‘has a directness and emotional content that the Missa Solemnis sometimes lacks’, and another that it is ‘a long-underrated masterpiece’. It’s up to you to decide who you agree with! The BCS’s Beethoven concert also includes the Prometheus overture, in which Beethoven exploits spectacular instrumental and orchestral effects, and the inspiring Choral Fantasia, which includes a virtuoso piano part; the main theme of the work is a version of the famous ‘Ode to Joy’ theme in the 9th Symphony.
In complete contrast, the Bridgwater Choral Society’s May 2017 concert celebrates 20th-century British composers. In Arthur Bliss’s Pastoral shepherds and farmers, nymphs and girls celebrate a spring festival in honour of the god Pan. This work, written in 1928 and dedicated to Elgar, marks the moment when Bliss was making the transition from being an innovative, modernist composer to a more traditional and romantic one. Gustav Holst’s Two Psalms (1912) is a setting of 17th-century metrical versions of Psalms 86 and 148. Holst re-works old hymn tunes, and his directness and economy combine with a wide emotional range and warmth of expression. Britten’s St Nicholas (1948) tells the dramatic story of the legendary life of the saint: his birth and childhood, his travels (including a storm at sea), and his good works and miracles – not forgetting the bringing back of life of three boys pickled in brine! Britten's music enhances the drama with striking contrasts in instrumentation, vocal style, and musical textures – and you in the audience can join the choir in two hymns.
So do make a note of our concert dates: Beethoven at St Andrew’s, Stogursey on 10 December 2016, and British composers at St Mary’s, Bridgwater on 6 May 2017. Bridgwater Choral Society look forward to seeing you!
Bridgwater Choral Society's next concert: hope springs eternal - 25-Mar-2016
At the worst of times, there’s always hope. This is one message of the masterworks Bridgwater Choral Society will be performing at their next concert. On 7th May at St Mary’s Church the choir, with professional soloists and orchestra under their conductor Iain Cooper, will be performing Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem.
The original title of Haydn’s Nelson Mass was ‘Mass in troubled times’. Haydn’s times certainly were troubled: he and his fellow citizens were terrified that Napoleon would invade Vienna. However, just before the first performance of the mass in 1798 Nelson had beaten Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of the Nile, and in 1800 Nelson visited Vienna, met Haydn, and possibly attended a performance of the mass, hence its change of name.
Haydn’s music reflects the dangerous situation. The mass begins in a tense, almost threatening minor key, and at times the trumpets and drums have a martial rhythm echoing the menace of an approaching army. But by the end optimism breaks through: the mass ends with a joyful, victorious chorus.
Mozart was writing his Requiem on his deathbed. The stirring music does not spare us from the fear and pain of death. Yet there is hope here too, the hope for mercy that threads its way through the work. The very last notes that Mozart ever wrote, the beautiful ascending melody of the ‘Lacrymosa’, are thrillingly poignant.
This is clearly going to be a very special concert, so make a note of the details now: Saturday 7th May, 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater.
Come and Sing Handel! - 17-Jan-2016
Bridgwater Choral Society and their conductor Iain Cooper are hosting their Come and Sing Day on Saturday 27 February at Wembdon Parish Church, 10am to 4pm. We very much hope that anyone who likes to sing will come and share what promises to be a really enjoyable day.
We will be practising Handel’s Coronation Anthems (including the iconic Zadok the Priest), joyful, extrovert pieces that are a pleasure to sing, and there will be an informal performance at the end of the day. Members of other choral societies are welcome – or if you are considering joining us, this just might be the fun, informal occasion you are looking for to spend time with us before taking the plunge!
The cost is £12, to include scores and tea and coffee. You can bring a packed lunch. Contact Sue Brownlie (01278 722344) for more details, or visit our website: www.bridgwaterchoral.org
Bridgwater Choral Society looks forward to seeing you!
We wish you a Merry Christmas! - 08-Nov-2015
It'll soon be time to get into the festive mood, and Bridgwater Choral Society are going to do their best to help you do it! They cordially invite you to a wonderful family concert of carols and Christmas music. As well as hearing some of your favourites, you'll have a chance to sing some well-loved carols yourself.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without children, so Bridgwater Choral Society are thrilled that the choir of St Mary's Primary School will be joining them to perform some very special pieces. The Wallscourt Brass Quintet will be there too, adding those all-essential spices to this seasonal feast.
So, do,come along to St Mary's Church, Bridgwater at 7.30 pm on Saturday 05th December, hear some lovely Christmas music, and join in the fun. Bridgwater Choral Society look forward to seeing you.
Stand Up! It's the Hallelujah Chorus! - 14-Oct-2015
Handel’s ‘Messiah’. So many magic moments – the angels singing ‘Glory to God in the highest’, the trumpet proclaiming victory, the glorious Amen – and above all the wonderful Hallelujah Chorus. So why do we stand up when we hear it? The story goes that when King George II first heard it, he was so overcome with emotion that he rose to his feet – and when the king stood up, everyone had to stand.
Standing for the Hallelujah Chorus became a tradition, just as over the years it’s become a tradition for choirs to perform the Messiah before Christmas, a tradition that Bridgwater Choral Society are delighted to follow. Put the date in your diaries now: Saturday 28 November 2015. You won’t want to miss what promises to be a sparkling performance of everyone’s favourite piece of music.
Notification of A.G.M. - 22-Aug-2015
Our A.G.M. will take place on Wednesday 2nd September at 7.30 pm. As last year there will be no rehearsal after the meeting, but there will be the opportunity to meet together socially with drinks & nibbles, whilst the music is issued to members for the December concert.
Please make every effort to attend and be part of the A.G.M. as well as to collect your music, so that we are all set when rehearsals commence on 9th September at 7.30 pm
If there is any matter you wish to raise at the A.G.M. please let Sue have notice in writing by Saturday 29th August. Thank you.
A.G.M. - 04-Jul-2015
Hope you're enjoying the 'scorching' Summer!
Our A.G.M. and start of Season will be on Wednesday 02nd September 2015 at St Joseph's - Hope you can join us!
It's never too early to start revsiting Handel's Messiah - our concert at St Mary's on 28th November 2015
We also have a concert of Carols and Christmas Music on 05th December 2015 with the choir of St Mary's Primary School and the Wallscourt Brass Quintet.
Brilliant Bach! - 19-May-2015
What a treat for those who attended Bridgwater Choral Society’s recent performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in St Mary’s Church, Bridgwater. One of the truly great oratorios from the Baroque period, this setting of the Passion certainly demonstrates the brilliance of Bach on a grand scale.
A fine evening of music all expertly directed by the Choral Society’s Conductor, Iain Cooper.
Congratulations to all.
BBC Radio Somerset - 02-May-2015
On 20th April, Conductor Iain Cooper was interviewed on Ben McGrail's BBC Radio Somerset Programme and some members of the choir sang a chorale from St Matthew Passion live from the car park!
Take a look at our photo in the Gallery.
Institution of Reverend Trish Ollive - 26-Apr-2015
We are delighted to be singing at the institution of the Reverend Trish Ollive as Vicar of St Mary's, Bridgwater and Holy Trinity, Chilton Trinity. The service is 7.00 pm on Tuesday 28th April at St Mary's Church Bridgwater, and will be conducted by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Right Reverend Peter Hancock, and the Archdeacon of Taunton, The Venerable John Reed.