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This page gives outline descriptions of choirs which have sung with the Brentwood Choirs Festival. Our aim is to give a summary of their style, links to their websites, where possible, and their details on our 'contact' page. Hopefully this will lead to new contacts with the participating choirs and through that an understanding of what can be gained by joining in the BCF. NB This website also gives summaries of the individual choir events via links from its 'events' page.
The Brentwood Choral Society numbers over 40 members and their current musical Director is Jonathan Schranz, a talented young musician, recently graduated from Churchill College Cambridge and now studying Choral Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.
The Brentwood Choral Society wants to encourage people to join them and to enjoy singing as much as they do. New members are always welcome and there are no auditions. It is an advantage if new members are able to read music, but it is possible, with some practice, to pick up the basics as the choir's season proceeds. What the BCS asks is that new members share their enthusiasm for singing and attend as many rehearsals as possible.
The BCS was founded in 1941 by the late Dr. Edgar Brice, then Director of Music at Brentwood School, who conducted from 1941 to 1992. The BCS is still going strong! Their aim is to hold onto the best of their traditions of being a friendly local group whilst embracing new ideas. Their repertoire combines the choral greats with light classical music. This is achieved by presenting two small concerts annually and by working with other local choirs to perform larger scale works, when the opportunity presents. As founder members of the Brentwood Choirs Festival, BCS are very proud to continue to be part of this traditional event.
The society has a website which can be accessed using this link Brentwood Choral Society
The Ingatestone Choral Society was formed in 1948 by Miss Elma Russell, who had conducted the village church choir and the Ingatestone Women's Institute Choir during the war years. From 1969 to 2017 their conductor was Bruce Pennick. (48 years!) In 1964, when Bruce was teaching at Ingatestone Secondary School, his Youth Centre Choir was invited to share a concert with the Ingatestone Choral Society. This eventually led to an invitation to Bruce to take over as the regular conductor of the ICS.
From late 2017, when Bruce Pennick retired as conductor, Harry Bradford has taken the baton. Harry is a recent graduate of the University of Cambridge, who, as a young man, already has an impressive record of achievement as the conductor of a variety of choirs, chamber groups and orchestras, both now and during his period at Cambridge University.
The Ingatestone Choral Society holds its own Christmas concert in Ingatestone and performs in some events organised by the Parish Council. In the last few years they have given Spring concerts in local churches, supplementing Sunday services. They rehearse in the United Reformed Church, Ingatestone. The choir was originally formed for the purpose of entering the annual festival of the Essex Musical Association, and it continued to take part in EMA events until that Festival's demise in 2009. They were also founder members of the Brentwood Choirs Festival and they continue to take part in this festival, which membership enables them to sing in a repertoire of larger choral works. They also perform in the Essex Choral Festival in partnership with Brentwood Choral Society and other Essex choirs, and in 'Cathedral Concerts' held in Brentwood Cathedral during the Lenten period.
The society has a website which can be accessed using this link Ingatestone Choral Society
(Acknowledgements are due to the Ingatestone Choral Society for information from their Website. )
The Cathedral Singers, a mixed voice choir with about 40 members, exists primarily for concert work in the Cathedral, and has an ecumenical membership. They were formed in 1982 and were an off-shoot of the Diocesan Liturgical Choir. Their first concert, a performance of the Fauré Requiem, was given on the 2nd November 1984. They have made concert tours to Germany, Ireland and Austria and concert performances have included the Great C Minor Mass by Mozart, the St John Passion and the St Matthew Passion by Bach, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Rachmaninov’s Vespers, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten’s St Nicholas, Rejoice in the Lamb and Ceremony of Carols and Brahms’ German Requiem.
The music department of Brentwood Cathedral has a website. The page describing the singers can be accessed using this link Brentwood Cathedral Singers
Bra-vissima is a non-profit making ladies choir based in Brentwood, Essex which was formed by Julia Wilson-James in 2007. They sing accompanied and a cappella in both formal and informal concerts. Since 2007 Bra-vissima have sung a very varied programme, from Bach to Gershwin, and they continue to maintain a wide ranging repertoire today.
The choir has a website which can be accessed using this link Bra-vissima
The following two choirs have sung with the BCF in the past, and in the case of the Billericay Choral Society the association has been strong over many years. We hope they will work with us in the future.
The Billericay Choral Society choir has about 40 singers and is based in Billericay, Essex. Formed in 1971, it has been a part of the town's community ever since and enjoys a high reputation. It performs a wide range of sacred and secular music, including including popular song arrangements and larger choral works.
It gives three or four concerts each year, some jointly with other choirs, particularly in the Brentwood Choirs Festival.
Conductor and organist David Todd became the BCS Musical Director in September 2014. He is currently studying choral conducting at the Royal Academy of Music with Patrick Russill, Cathal Garvey and Paul Brough. Previously David studied with Paul Spicer and Nicholas Cleobury at Oxford University. He is also Organist and Director of Music in the Parish of Wanstead. David holds the post of Guest Conductor of the choir of Turku Cathedral, Finland, and he has worked in Berlin and in Switzerland. In 2015 he founded ‘The Artschoir’, a choir aimed to specifically explore the links between music and art through performances, commissions and collaborations.
The society has a website which can be accessed using this link Billericay Choral Society
Hutton & Shenfield Choral Society is a lively amateur mixed choir of around 120 voices. They generally perform four major concerts a year with professional orchestra and soloists, as well as a concert of lighter music. The society’s membership is drawn mainly from the Brentwood area, but some singers travel from a much wider area, drawn by the choirs high standards and the reputation of the choir and its Musical Director, Tim Hooper. The members are friendly, and, as well as working very hard at their rehearsals and in concerts, they hold regular social events, which increase funds and bring the members closer together.
Their main concert venue is the International Hall at the Brentwood Centre, and, over the last few years, they have performed regularly in the Chelmsford and Brentwood Cathedrals. As well as singing works from the standard choral repertoire, they also hold a Christmas concert, on the last Saturday before Christmas, and a concert of light music.
The society has a website which can be accessed using this link Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society
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