The Kingston Orpheus Choir is now in its seventieth year and have a small display at Kingston Museum (until the end of July) in their Community Showcase, exhibiting programmes and posters dating back as far as 1944 as well as portraits of their musical directors and photos of the choir in years gone by.
The Choir was formed in 1944 following an appeal for singers in the Comet and held their first meeting on 20th March 1944 at the Zeeta Café in Clarence Street (where John Lewis is now) attended by 35 people. Their first concert was a Christmas Carol concert in December 1944 to raise funds for the Army Benevolent Fund.
The choir has had only four musical directors in seventy years: George Anderson (1944 to 1981), Susan Higgins (1981 to 2007), Ben Palmer (2007 to 2012) and local man David Condry (2012 to present).
The choir has performed at many venues around the borough including All Saints Church and the Empire Theatre in Kingston and more recently at their preferred concert venue St Andrew’s Church in Maple Road, Surbiton. The choir has performed all the major choral works including Handel’s Messiah, Mendelsohnn’s Elijah, Brahm’s Requiem and Fauré’s Requiem, many times over during the seventy years, but has also found time to perform opera choruses, show tunes and even Abba’s greatest hits.
The choir met on Wednesday evenings for rehearsals in the 1940’s and continues to do so in 2014. The Orpheus now has around fifty singers (17 sopranos, 20 altos, 5 tenors and 8 basses) ranging in age from their 20’s to 70’s.
Kingston Orpheus Choir operates as a charity and are grateful for the financial support of the Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust.
Kingston Orpheus Choir is always delighted to hear from prospective members. There is no audition – just come along to one of their rehearsals. The ability to read music is desirable, but by no means essential. A love of music and a desire to learn and to sing is enough. Rehearsals are held from 8.00-10.00pm on Wednesdays at St John the Evangelist Church, Springfield Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT1 2SB. You can find out more about Kingston Orpheus Choir on their website www.kingstonorpheuschoir.com
If you are interested in joining Kingston Orpheus Choir please contact the secretary Barbara Duffy.