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About the Choir

Cheltenham Choral Society is a friendly, amateur choir with a long-standing reputation for providing a top quality experience for both audiences and singers.​We are looking for new members in all sections SATB. You should have some previous choral singing experience and the ability to sing in tune, but there are no auditions, and sightreading is not essential.

We practise for various performances throughout the year.  Generally a concert in the Autumn; a Christmas show with local youth choirs; one around Easter and a summer lunchtime performance. 

Pieces we've performed recently

Handel's Messiah (over 70 times!)

Vivaldi - Gloria​ RV588 and RV589!

Haydn - Little Organ Mass

Faure - Requiem

Rossini - Petite Messe Solenelle

Schubert -  Mass in G

Bach - St John's Passion (alongside the English Touring Opera)

Sumsion - They that go down to the sea in ships

Mozart - Laudamus Te

Music from the Late Queen's Coronation at her Platinum Jubilee

Chorus from Giulio Cesare (alongside English Touring Opera)

See our 'What's On' page for future performances 

Places we have sung recently

Pittville Pump Room

Cheltenham Town Hall

All Saints Church

Church of St Philip and St James, Leckhampton

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham

Gloucester Cathedral

Tewkesbury Abbey

The Remembrance Sunday Service on Cheltenham Promenade

The History of CCS

Cheltenham Choral Society (CCS) was founded in 1938 by Morgan Islwyn Jones, who remained the principal conductor until 1973, developing an ambitious repertoire which included Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius and the Verdi Requiem. Roger Smith then took over the conductor’s role until 1988, extending the classical repertoire and introducing more contemporary choral works.

Ian Higginson became Musical Director and Conductor in 1989 and worked with us for 30 years. Under his direction we performed many familiar classical works such as Haydn’s Creation, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, and The Peacemakers as well as many of his own compositions.

Alexander Thacker, only our fourth conductor in the long history of CCS, joined us shortly before the Covid pandemic. Alex directed our Autumn and Christmas 2019 performances, before leading us through the challenges of virtual rehearsals and recordings.

As things have got back to normal we have enjoyed two Tapestry of Christmas Music concerts with St Mary's C of E Primary School Choir and the young choirs of the Beauregard Academy; we performed alongside the ETO (English Touring Opera) for Bach’s St John Passion, (2022) and celebrated the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in Gloucester Cathedral. Last November we performed Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle and Schubert's Mass in G and for the first time ever, we led the hymn singing alongside Cheltenham Silver Band at the Remembrance Sunday service on the Promenade.  We are delighted to confirm our participation again this November.

During these difficult times, the choir have continued to come together to enjoy and share our passion for singing. We believe that singing together engenders a sense of well-being and community, and one of our goals is to promote musical awareness in young people by providing opportunities for them to sing in public and to demonstrate our own enjoyment. The society has performed Handel's Messiah over 75 times since 1938, sometimes joined by world-famous soprano and President of the Society, Dame Felicity Lott. 

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