Christmas 2014 marks the end of an era for Corsham Choral Society and the start of a bold and exciting new future.
The choir has a long and varied history. It started in 1858 as Corsham Choir and then in 1871 adopted its present name, Corsham Choral Society (CCS). This choir gave regular public concerts for 74 years but eventually disbanded in 1932. Under the leadership and inspiration of local musician John Nourse CCS reformed 25 years ago in 1989, launching its revival with a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria in St Bartholomew’s Church on 6 May that year. Now in 2014 the choir can look back on a total of nearly one hundred years of choral singing in Corsham.
CCS has been led by three permanent musical directors since 1989, John Nourse, Colin Howard and finally Francis Faux, our present MD.
Over a quarter of a century choir members and their audiences have enjoyed an exciting and diverse programme of music and musical projects. In recent years however choir membership has gradually declined, with a particular shortage of male voices, despite a vigorous recruiting campaign!
We have been fortunate, therefore, to be able to undertake joint ventures with the Bath-based choir, Organum, with whom we share our musical director. The combined choirs performed a stirring Carmina Burana at the Wiltshire Music Centre in 2013 and followed this with a sellout concert of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man in Bath Abbey in May this year. This was Bath’s flagship event to commemorate the start of the First World War with the Royal British Legion, and was later repeated as the centrepiece of the ‘Redcliffe Remembers’ event at Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe Church on 4th August. On 20th December A Christmas Celebration will be our third shared concert.
Following these successful concerts the two choirs have agreed a more permanent arrangement and from January 2015 will merge to form a single choir under the musical direction of Francis Faux, with a new name and a new rehearsal venue.
At this time of transition the members of Corsham Choral have both a proud and successful tradition of music-making behind them and an inspiring future to look forward to with the broader scope and new opportunities that come with singing in a larger choir.
We acknowledge with immense gratitude all those who over the years have contributed their musical and organisational skills, their enthusiasm as singers and their support as patrons and audience members to develop and sustain the musical life of CCS. We look ahead now to carrying the same enthusiasm and support forward into our rebirth!