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 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
Owen Elsley is an Australian singer, conductor, pianist, and composer based in Cambridge, UK. Born in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, Owen moved first to Sydney to study Science and Mathematics at the University of Sydney and then to the University of Cambridge where he completed his Master of Music in Choral Studies in 2020. During his time at Cambridge, Owen was a Choral Scholar and then Lay Clerk with the Choir of King’s College, and has sung as an ensemble member and soloist with many of professional groups around the world including Voces8; the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir; The Song Company; the Choir of St James’ Church, King St; Sydney Antiphony; Pinchgut Opera; Cantillation; and Sydney Chamber Choir. Owen is the Assistant Director of Music for Choirs at St Baranbas, Dulwich, where he works with the various parish choirs and leads the newly formed Dulwich Youth Choir. Owen has a passion for music education and has worked with several children’s and youth choirs as conductor, accompanist, tutor, and operations coordinator, including the Cambridge-based King’s Junior Voices and Gondwana Choirs, Australia’s national youth choir. He is an award-winning composer, has completed his A.Mus.A in Piano Performance, and has also been an actor, director, and repetiteur for numerous dramatic productions. Owen is absolutely thrilled to be taking up the post of Musical Director of the Chesterton Choral Society and is very much looking forward to being a part of the musical life of the choir.
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 2022. 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.