Aims of the Choir
The aims of the choir are learning and singing choral works and light music to a good standard for the enjoyment of members and their audiences with the emphasis firmly on enjoyment.
We currently have forty to fifty members of all ages. The choir is non-audition and is made up of a mixture of confident sight-singers and aural learners. We aim to cater for all abilities by using a mixture of well known tunes, simple arrangements and our Musical Director providing a rehearsal CD each term to aide learning the more challenging repertoire.
We are a non-profit organisation and we regularly contribute to charities.
Music and repertoire
Unlike some choirs, Chesterton Choral Society does not tend to take a large single work and base a whole concert in that one piece, although we performed Handel’s Messiah for our 50th Anniversary concert in July 2014. Our Concerts tend rather to be arranged around a theme, in which we perform a shorter piece of ‘serious’ choir music (or selection from a larger work, for example Jenkin’s The Armed Man or Durufle’s Requiem) alongside shorter pieces including seasonal music, arrangements of ‘standards’, songs from the shows, madrigals and folk songs.
We are very fortunate to have the arranging skills and diverse musical interests of our Director of Music, Quintus Benziger, who contributes many arrangements to our repertoire. Recently we have performed a concert version of his musical “the Magic Piper”, the story of the Pied Piper as told by Browning to the music of Mozart’s the Magic Flute, and a particular favourite has been his ditty “Serenade” set to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.
We usually perform accompanied by a keyboard, but also perform a cappella, or with additional instrumentalists. Our concerts often contain smaller groups, solo instrumental pieces and readings to create an evening of variety to please audience members of all types.
Conductor and Director of Music
Quintus Benziger was appointed Director of Music of the choir in June 2005.
Quintus has a wide experience with choirs. He conducted Saffron Walden Choral Society for ten years and Saffron Walden Operatic Society for three seasons. For 22 years to summer 2006 he was Director of Music at St Mary’s School, Cambridge where he was particularly involved in productions, including musicals that he wrote himself.
We were very pleased to cross paths with Joanna Blakeman in September 2012. She has been our accompanist since! We also enjoy her playing the cello, sometimes as accompaniment or as solo / in small groups.
Interested in joining?
The choir always welcomes new singers, no audition is required and sight reading, though an advantage, is not essential. Please feel free to come along to one of our rehearsals at Chesterton Methodist Church, Green End Road, Chesterton, Cambridge CB4 1RW. These take place at 7:30pm on Monday evenings during term time. To confirm that a rehearsal will be on for the date you wish to visit, please see the contact page.
We welcome prospective members to visit for a few weeks while you gauge if we are the right choir for you, before deciding whether to join. Tenors and basses will get a particularly enthusiastic welcome!
Chesterton Choral Society is one of the more affordable choirs to be a member of in the area, with the annual subscription for members being only £60 per annum, starting in January 2016. You are welcome to join us at any time of year, and the subscription will be reduced pro rate for the remaining terms of that calendar year.
The subscription has a reduced rate of £30 for those aged 18 and under or in full-time education, and is reviewed annually at our AGM at the end of January.