News Archive
Sunday, 17 September 2017 Come and Sing Handel's Messiah
Suffolk One
Scrivener Drive

Have you ever wanted to sing the Hallelujah Chorus with a professional Baroque ensemble and outstanding soloists? Of course you have!

Come along and join members of the Ipswich Choral Society, with professional period instrument ensemble Vivace! and wonderful young soloists from the Royal Academy of Music in London and sing Handel's great Messiah - all in one day!

Registration from 11.30am; rehearsal 12-2.30pm
Cost to take part: £30 (Students and U16s £15)
Download an application form if you want to take part

Unable to take part? Please come along to the amazing finale of the day!
Concert 4pm, tickets £15 (students and U16s £7.50)
Call 01473 738324 for more information.

Sunday 2 July 2017 Ipswich Music Day 2017
Come and hear us.
Freemasons Hall
Soane Street
Ipswich IP4 2BG
June 18 2017 Strawberies and Song

Missing Image

Saturday 29 April 2017 Mendelssohn's Elijah
Spring Concert
Sunday 19 March 2017 Mendelssohn's Elijah
Spring Concert
January 2017 Elijah: from start to finish
A live concert is the culmination of hours of rehearsals which audience members are blissfully unaware of when enjoying the performance. An exciting collaboration between two long established Ipswich Societies will highlight the work involved with staging a very special concert at Snape in April 2017.

Ipswich Choral Society has begun work on Mendelssohn's popular oratorio Elijah with rehearsals being caught on camera by members of Ipswich and District Photographic Society. An exhibition will be held at Snape Malting Concert Hall on 29 April showcasing the best photos from rehearsals and the Elijah performance in Halifax.

Add to this, a collaboration with the oldest Choral Society in the World, and there is the making of a very special experience. Halifax Choral Society, founded in 1817, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year and will be performing Elijah with Ipswich Choral Society at the Snape concert as well as a performance in Halifax on 19 th March.

Members from Ipswich and District Photographic Society will be travelling up to Yorkshire with Ipswich Choral Society to also record the pre-concert rehearsal and concert itself on film at The Victoria Theatre in Halifax. These photographs will be part of the Snape exhibition too.

Ipswich Choral Society presents Mendelssohn's Elija
Saturday 29 April 2017, 7.30pm
Snape Maltings Concert Hall
Snape, Suffolk IP17 1SP

Ipswich Choral Society with Halifax Choral Society
Conductor: Robin Walker, ICS Music Director
Soprano: Claire Weston
Contralto: Susan Moore
Tenor: James Elliott
Baritone: Garry Magee
Kingfisher Sinfonietta, leader Beth Spendlove

In collaboration with Ipswich and District Photographic Society
Tickets: £16, £18, £20 (students £8)
Available direct from ICS members or Snape Maltings Box Office 01728 687110 or

Ipswich & District Photographic Society

The society can trace its origins back to the very earliest days of photography. On 6th March 1888 a number of keen photographers met to form the first Photographic Society in Ipswich. This first society was reformed as Ipswich Social Settlement Camera Club in June 1904 and this became the Ipswich and District Photographic Society in the late 1920s. In 1988 the Society celebrated 100 years of club photography in Ipswich.

There have been regular annual exhibitions since 1926 and these have usually been opened by the Mayor of the Borough. This has been a continuous tradition for over 40 years. IDPS is proud of its long association with Ipswich Borough Council and with other Arts organisations in the area.

Over the years IDPS has had a number of prominent citizens and leading photographers of the day among its membership. These associations are represented by the names on the collection of IDPS cups and trophies which are awarded annually.

IDPS has always responded to the interests of its membership and in 1982 formed specialist sections for prints and transparencies. There are now specialist groups for audio-visual, beginners, digital imaging, monochrome, and studio photography. With over 100 members, IDPS continues to be one of the largest photographic societies in East Anglia and one of the leading photography clubs in the country. Our programme of activities runs from September to May with competitions, lectures and practical meetings. Each Spring we stage one of the largest Exhibitions of photography in East Anglia. Help and advice is available for new members. President: Peter Cox LRPS CPAGB Ipswich & District Photographic Society is a member of Ipswich Arts Association and The East Anglian Federation of Photographic Societies and is affiliated to The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain.

Halifax Choral Society

Is believed to be the oldest choral society in the world the Halifax Choral Society has an unbroken record of performance since its foundation in 1817 by William Priestley, a gentleman wool merchant as well as a talented amateur musician and antiquarian. The choir was to be known as the Halifax Choral Society. Its permanence was remarkable! The first performance took place in the Halifax Court House: Haydn's The Creation, performed on Monday 9th February 1818. Another early work to become a fixture was Handel's Messiah which is believed to have been performed annually by the choir each Christmastide since 1818. The Halifax Choral Society is a thriving and enterprising choir, widely considered to be amongst the foremost of its genre. To ensure continuing high standards of singing the HCS has engaged its current professional artistic director, John Pryce-Jones, for the past 25 years. John is also Music Director of the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, based in Leeds. He takes the HCS weekly rehearsals as well as conducting all performances. In addition the HCS engages a regular professional accompanist.

The choir is made up of around 110 amateur members, from all walks of life, who enjoy singing to professional standards. Members range in age from teenagers to octogenarians and come mainly from the local community, but increasingly from other parts of WestYorkshire - and Lancashire! HCS is a very friendly, open organisation that extends a warm welcome to all new members. New singers are actively encouraged to join the choir.

Each season the choir usually promotes and presents a full season of concerts in its home concert hall - the Victoria Theatre, Halifax - and on occasion in the town's beautiful medieval Minster. The programme usually comprises major concerts in spring and autumn, an annual performance of Handel's Messiah and, with the Black Dyke Band, two Carol Concerts in December and a Summer Concert in June that aims to be light hearted in the spirit of the Last Night of the Proms. There may also be external engagements carried out during the year.

The choir is now fast approaching its bicentenary concert season in 2017-2018 when it hopes to celebrate with concerts that both mark its long history and emphasise its commitment to the future.

Tuesday 20 December 2016 Christmas concert
An evening of festive entertainment to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. Raffle with fantastic prizes to raise money for Headway Suffolk, ICS nominated charity for 2016.

Headway Suffolk supports people with an acquired brain injury and those who care for them. We have Neuro Hubs based in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, and our service is offered to those in the areas of Suffolk and south Norfolk.

Headway Suffolk is a registered charity in England (no.1075338) that offers advice, support, rehabilitation and support services to anyone (over the age of 16) who has, during their lifetime, sustained a brain injury through traumatic accident, stroke, virus, tumour, neurological conditions or other similar event.

St Johns Church, Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich IP4 4QE
Invitation only, retiring collection in aid of choir funds.

Saturday 29 October 2016 A Grand Tour

Sunday 5th July 2015 Ipswich Music Day
Christchurch Mansion Art Gallery
Saturday 25 June 2016 Celebrating the Bard
Spring Concert
Saturday 16th April 2016 Vocal Workshop: Back to Basics
Castle Hill URC Church
Dryden Road

An exciting workshop day was held exploring singing techniques helping you get the best from your voice, and the fun of singing with a large chorus. The day included music by Mozart, Bach, Franck, Bruckner, and Brahms, as well as plenty of tea and cake!

Saturday 12th March 2016 Messiah
An exciting collaboration between two long established Ipswich Societies was unveiled today at Ipswich Corn Exchange. One of the best-known choral works Handel’s Messiah holds a special place in the hearts of singers and audiences alike and now is inspiring creativity in local artists.

Ipswich Choral Society rehearsed with members of Ipswich Arts Society attending as observers. The art works inspired by the choir singers, the music itself and the messages it conveys, were exhibited in the Grand Hall.

Robin Walker - Music Director
Soloists from the Royal Academy of Music
Soprano - Emily Forrest
Mezzo - Olivia Warburton
Tenor - Freddie De Tommaso
Bass - Michael Mofidian

Kingfisher Sinfonietta - Leader Beth Spendlove
Organist - Andrew Cantrill
Tuesday 15th December 2015 Family Concert and Christmas Party
Main Hall, Northgate School, IP4 3DF
Saturday 14th November 2015 Autumn Concert
Poulenc - Gloria
Mozart - Laudate Dominum
Mendelssohn - Organ Sonata VI
Mendelssohn - Lauda Sion

Introducing Robin Walker - Music Director
Julie Roberts - Soprano
John Cooper - Organ
St Mary-le-Tower, Tower Street, Ipswich IP1 3BE
Sunday 5th July 2015 Ipswich Music Day
Christchurch Mansion Art Gallery
Thursday 25th - Monday 29th June 2015 Nettuno Festival, Italy
Ipswich Choral Society will be taking part in 2 or 3 performances at the Nettuno Festival
Saturday 16th May 2015 Spring Concert

Ipswich Choral Society presents 'Voyaging'
Please join us for our Spring concert, the last concert Ipswich Choral Society will perform with their Music Director, Stephen Rumsey, with specially invited guests, baritone Mark Oldfield and pianist John Paul Ekins.
Sponsored by Coes Time: 7.30pm
Burns Recital Hall
The Royal Hospital School Holbrook

Friday 13 March 2015 Charity concert

Felixstowe Landguard Rotary Club and Ipswich Choral Society presented a charity concert of music and poetry, including "When this rotten war is over"

Friday 13th March 2015 at 7.30pm
Felixstowe Academy, High St, Felixstowe IP11 9QR
Doors open at 6.45pm
Tickets £10 available from:
Scarborows Opticians, 34 Orwell Rd, Felixstowe
Or by phone on 01394 279593 or 01394 380625

Saturday 28 February 2015 Spring Choral Workshop

Choral Workshop run by Ipswich Choral Society
at our workshop to lift your spirits and develop your singing skills.

Workshop Leader: Vetta Wise
Time: 10.30am to 4pm, registration from 10am
Venue: Salvation Army Citadel, 558 Woodbridge Road, Ipswich IP4 4PH
Cost £15.00 includes refreshments and buffet lunch; music also provided.

To help banish the winter blues, Ipswich Choral Society and their Music Director, Stephen Rumsey are hosting a choral workshop, led by Vetta Wise, an experienced vocal teacher and chorus-master based in north Suffolk.

The workshop includes vocal warm-ups plus tips, techniques and advice on how to make the most of your voice.

Further details are avaialable here.

Choral Workshop 28th February 2015 Details
Choral Workshop 28th February 2015 Application Form
Saturday 13 December 2014 Ipswich Sings Christmas!

As their 190th anniversary year draws to a close, Ipswich Choral Society returned to the Corn Exchange to host their annual Christmas Community Concert. An upbeat festive celebration, “Ipswich Sings Christmas!” brings together local school choirs, musicians and the community in general, in conjunction with The Mayor of Ipswich Councillor Bill Quinton.

This year, Ipswich Choral Society welcomed Terry Hunt, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times, as compère for the evening. Local brass band Suffolk Phoenix Brass returned to perform seasonal favourites and accompany the traditional carol singing with the audience.

Ipswich Choral Society was delighted to welcome back popular local group The Kettle Girls performing Christmas classics in their lively jazz/folk style. For that extra Christmas sparkle, the choirs from local schools St Alban's Catholic High School and St Margaret's Church of England Primary School sang and took part in special collaborations with Ipswich Choral Society.

2014 marks the 60th consecutive year that Ipswich Choral Society has held a Christmas concert. Each year, the Society uses the annual Christmas concert to raise money for local charities and this year Ipswich Choral Society are supporting one of the Mayor’s chosen charities: Suffolk Family Carers (registered charity 1069937).

Suffolk Family Carers is an independent charity which gives information and support to Family Carers.  A Family Carer is someone of any age who is looking after a relative, friend, partner or child who cannot manage without them because of illness, age, physical disability or mental health problems.  There are approximately 80,000 Family Carers and 4,000 Young Carers in Suffolk.

Saturday 29 November 2014 Coffee Morning and Christmas Fayre

The Friends of Ipswich Choral Society held a Coffee Morning and Christmas Fayre, on Saturday 29th November from 10am to 1pm at 17 Woodstone Avenue, Ipswich.

A cake stall included Christmas cakes and puddings, plus other home-made goodies. Christmas gifts including Christmas cards and wrapping paper were also be available to purchase. All proceeds in support of Ipswich Choral Society (Registered Charity No. 278866).

Saturday 22 November 2014 A Celebration Concert

Ipswich Salvation Army presents
A Celebration Concert
Saturday 22 November 2014 7.00pm Ipswich Salvation Army Band
Ipswich Choral Society

Ipswich Citadel, 558 Woodbridge Road, Ipswich IP4 4PH

Sunday 16 November 2014 Great War Centenary Commemoration

Ipswich Choral Society presents "When this rotten war is over"
Sunday 16 November 2014 3:30pm
Fauré Requiem Mass
Songs and poetry reflecting the First World War
Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich IP1 3QW

Stephen Rumsey: Music Director
Mark Ellis: Baritone
Richard Popple: "Tommy"

Interval refreshments available

March 2014 Researching 190 years of singing.

In their 190th anniversary year, Ipswich Choral Society received a £5800 Sharing Heritage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project "The history of Ipswich Choral Society - 190 years old and still singing - Why?". Led by volunteers from the choir, the project initially focused on research about the formation of the choir in 1824 and its impact on the Ipswich arts scene over 190 years.

The project enabled choir members to research concert programmes, press cuttings and other archive material at local centres such as the Suffolk Records office and the Britten-Pears Library before widening out the search to other archive resources such as the British Library and Royal College of Music. Another team of volunteers will be interviewing long-standing members and supporters of the Society; as well as the current Music Director Stephen Rumsey and other former conductors of the choir. For the volunteers, this provides a great opportunity to learn about researching records, understanding historical documents and collecting archive material.

All the information gathered must then be recorded electronically and catalogued to enable information to be found easily. The aim is to create an electronic archive of images, interviews with current and former members and recordings of the choir to accompany the printed records. The findings of the research project will be made available to the wider public via presentations to local community groups and a booklet on the history of Ipswich Choral Society.

Ipswich Choral Society is a friendly mixed choir of over 70 members and is the second oldest Choral Society in England. In 1824 Ipswich Choral Society would have been performing the latest music to its concert-goers, the first provincial performance of Haydn's Creation in its first concert. It continues in that tradition with new and emerging composers and performing contemporary music as well as the classics. It has recently commissioned work by several composers, including 'Seasons' by Stevie Wishart (2013-14) paid for by a legacy, and works by James McWilliam and Aaron Parker through the national 'Adopt A Composer' scheme.

Commenting on the award, Graham Popple, Ipswich Choral Society Librarian and Project Leader said: "We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this exciting project into the history of Ipswich Choral Society. The choir have had some really famous people and orchestras performing with us in the past, and we hope to discover how and why they came to perform with Ipswich Choral Society. Over a third of the members of the choir have volunteered to help us and we can't wait to find out more about the history of the Society. We are confident the project will inspire us and future generations of choir members to be proud of continuing the tradition of choral singing within Ipswich for years to come."

Robyn Llewellyn, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: "Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Ipswich Choral Society can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF's funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what's important to them in their area."

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK. For further information visit

About Sharing Heritage
Sharing Heritage is for any not-for-profit group wanting to explore their community's heritage. With a commitment from HLF of £3m each year, Sharing Heritage grants between £3,000 and £10,000 are now available to groups who want to discover their local heritage. Projects can cover a wide spectrum of subject matter from exploring local archaeology and a community's cultures and traditions to identifying and recording local wildlife and protecting the surrounding environment to managing and training volunteers, and holding festivals and events to commemorate the past. 1909Concert

Ipswich Choral Society performance of Handel's "Messiah" on 1 April 1909 at the Public Hall in Ipswich. Kindly donated to Ipswich Choral Society by Mrs Jane Kemp of Ipswich.


Ipswich Choral Society concert rehearsal for Britten's "St Nicolas" on 17 November 2013 at Ipswich School.

January 2014 Ipswich Choral Society Celebrates 190 years

190th Birthday Cake

Founded in 1824, the Ipswich Choral Society can claim to be the second oldest choral society in Britain; the oldest being Halifax Choral Society founded in 1817. The Suffolk Chronicle records that the Ipswich Choral Society was founded 24 January 1824 with about 20 members.

The newly formed society met on Tuesdays once a fortnight to rehearse for their very first concert, the first provincial performance of "The Creation" by Haydn. Ipswich Choral Society still rehearse on Tuesdays, although rehearsals are now weekly. Therefore Ipswich Choral Society will be celebrating their 190th birthday next Tuesday 21 January, and may forego candles on the cake!

Incredibly, the original hand-written scores for "The Creation" used for the first Ipswich Choral performance were discovered by Mr Spruytenberg in January 2012. The scores are now archived at the Suffolk Record Office in Gatacre Road. Still a popular work for choral societies today, the Society last performed Haydn's "The Creation" in May 2010.

Recently, Ipswich Choral Society was contacted by Mrs Jane Kemp of Ipswich who had discovered an old photo of the choir, dated 1909. Checking through the old concert programmes from the archive, the photo is thought to have been taken at a performance of Handel's "Messiah" on April 1st, 1909 at the Public Hall in Ipswich. Soloists were Miss Barwell Holbrook, Miss Alice Coppin, Mr Webster Millar and Mr Dan Price. The orchestra and choir were 400 in total, conducted by Mr William Hockey.

Ipswich Choral Society has been fortunate to perform with some top-class soloists and orchestras throughout its history, as well as introducing new pieces to the Suffolk music scene. As well as the first provincial performance of Haydn's "The Creation", in 1911 the society gave the first performance in Suffolk of Elgar's masterpiece "The Dream of Gerontius".

Orchestras engaged to perform with the choir regularly included the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. In 1975, Ipswich Choral Society performed in the inaugural concert for the Ipswich Corn Exchange after its transformation into a performance venue alongside the Ipswich Bach Choir. The concert was conducted by the Czech-born British conductor Walter Sussskind and featured the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1947, a performance of Elijah was given by the Society for the centenary of Mendelssohn's death and soloists included soprano Isobel Baillie and contralto Kathleen Ferrier. In 1960, contralto Janet Baker sang with ICS for a performance of Belshazzar's Feast by William Walton at the Gaumont theatre.

With our current director Stephen Rumsey, the society continues in the tradition of exploring new music and performs a varied and ambitious programme. The society encourages the commissioning of new pieces from composers such James McWilliam and and most recently, "Seasons" by Stevie Wishart, a homage to Benjamin Britten (ICS President 1948-58) which will have its premiere at Snape in April 2014.

The Suffolk Record Office has an archive on Ipswich Choral Society, mainly made up of concert programmes and press cuttings and other printed material. With the recent discoveries of the hand-written scores and the photograph from 1909, the Society wonders if there is more information about the history of the choir that they are unaware of. If anyone has any information they would like to share with the choir, please call 01473 738 324 or email

Christine Pearce interviewed on BBC Radio 3 Breakfast show 24th February 2014

Graham Popple and Fenella Andrews interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk Drivetime show 24th February 2014

BBC Copyright is acknowledged and formal permission to use these clips is being applied for.

June 2013 Workshop for Britten Centenary Commission
Workshop kick starts new commission for Britten Centenary

Ipswich Choral Society met up with renowned composer Stevie Wishart recently to start rehearsing a new commission for the choir. The piece by Stevie Wishart, a song cycle called "Seasons", will be a homage to Benjamin Britten. Using the wide skies and flatlands of the Suffolk landscape as inspiration, the song cycle will reflect the ages of man and musical eras as well as the seasons of the year.

Two songs from the cycle, "Autumn" and "Winter" had their World première at the Ipswich Choral Society Autumn concert. Text for one of the song arrangements has been provided by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. The concert also featured a performance of Britten's "St Nicolas". The whole "Seasons" song cycle will be premièred at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 13 April 2014.

Stevie Wishart was delighted to receive the new commission in honour of Benjamin Britten. "Britten has been very important in the formation of my own musical language. Growing up in East Anglia I attended master-classes at Snape. A genius at setting the English language and like myself, relishes English dialects and harks back to Chaucerian medieval English. But for all that, is thoroughly modern and pioneering."

A legacy bequeathed to the Ipswich Choral Society from Judith Hawkshaw has been used for the commission. Judith was an active member of the Society for many years and would be thrilled that her gift to the choir was being put to such creative use. Particularly as Benjamin Britten was a former President of Ipswich Choral Society and also nephew of a past conductor of the choir.

The accompanying pictures show Stevie Wishart and Stephen Rumsey, (Music Director, Ipswich Choral Society) and Stevie and Stephen working with members of Ipswich Choral Society at their workshop, held in St. Peter Stoke Park, Ipswich on 22 June 2013.

Stevie and Stephen

Workshop Jun2013

December 2013 Ipswich Sings Christmas!
Grand Hall, Corn Exchange, Ipswich

Suffolk Phoenix Brass
Silbury Hill (Acoustic Rock Duo )
Phoenix Jazz
Local Primary Schools:
   Piper's Vale Community Primary School
   St John's Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School
Musical Director - Stephen Rumsey
Compere - Lynne Mortimer - East Anglian Daily Times

Supporting the charities of the Mayor of Ipswich Councillor Hamil Clarke MBE
   East Anglia's Children's Hospices - EACH (registered charity 1069284),
   Fresh Start - New Beginnings (registered charity 1149347) and
   The Dame Vera Lynn Trust (registered charity 1089657).
November 2013 Britten Centenary Celebration
Ipswich Choral Society presents "Britten Centenary Celebration"
Britten: St Nicolas
Purcell: Come ye Sons of Art
Purcell: Chacony in G minor
Wishart: Autumn and Winter from "Seasons"

Stephen Rumsey – Music Director
Richard Edgar-Wilson - Tenor
Fran Burn - Contralto
Chris Burn - Counter-tenor
Alastair Chapman - Bass
Choristers from St. Mary-le-Tower

The Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich IP1 3QW

Familiar Fields
April 2013 More Fundraising Success For Ipswich Choral Society

For a second year, Ipswich Choral Society has supported the Woolverstone Wish Appeal at their annual Christmas community concert. This year, despite difficult economic times, the Society has succeeded in raising more money than the previous year.

Committee members Maureen Fell (Chair), Linda Scott (Treasurer) and Peter Brunning (Bass section representative) were thrilled to present a cheque to Cheryl Thayer from the Woolverstone Wish Appeal for £1250. The Woolverstone Wish Appeal had been chosen as the Christmas concert charity for a second year as some choir members were patients in the Oncology department of Ipswich Hospital. The Society was keen to contribute to the planned refurbishment of the Woolverstone Wing outpatient facilities.

Hosted at the Corn Exchange in Ipswich, Ipswich Choral Society, their Music Director, Stephen Rumsey and compère Lynne Mortimer (EADT) were joined by special guests, Suffolk Phoenix Brass, The Kettle Girls and John Cooper (Vice-President of Ipswich Choral Society) playing the Corn Exchange organ. Choirs from St Pancras Catholic Primary School and The Oaks Community Primary School also took part in the concert with readings provided by The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Mary Blake and Cheryl Thayer from the Woolverstone Wish Appeal.

Ipswich Choral Society use their annual Christmas concerts to raise money for local charities, having previously supported the EACH Treehouse Appeal and Somebody's Daughter Memorial Fund.

The accompanying picture shows (l-r) Peter Brunning (Ipswich Choral Society), Cheryl Thayer and Victoria Barber of Woolverstone Wish, Maureen Fell and Linda Scott (Ipswich Choral Society).

Woolvertone Wish 2013

2013 will be another exciting year for Ipswich Choral Society. Rehearsals are already underway for our spring concert "The Spirit of Spring" on 27 April at Ipswich School. The concert programme is made up of 20th century choral works from British composers, Elgar (Spanish Serenade), Holst (The Hymn of Jesus) and Vaughan Williams (Five Mystical Songs) and culminating with "Lux Aeterna" by the American composer, Morton Lauridsen.

As members of Ipswich Arts Association, Ipswich Choral Society will be participating in the Mayors concert at Museum Street Methodist Church on 24 February. The choir is also looking forward to performing on the classical music stages for Ipswich Music Day in July.

2013 also celebrates the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, one-time president of Ipswich Choral Society and nephew of a past conductor of the choir. A performance of "St Nicolas" at our autumn concert on 17 November will mark the occasion. Ipswich Choral Society has also commissioned a piece from renowned composer Stevie Wishart in homage to Britten which will be premiered at this concert.

December sees Ipswich Choral Society back at Ipswich Corn Exchange for our annual community Christmas concert, which raises money for a local charity. For the last two years, Ipswich Choral Society has been supporting the Woolverstone Wish appeal and has helped the charity by raising over £2000.

Ipswich Choral Society relies on the hard work and dedication of its members, and we're always looking for new members to join us.

April 2013 The Spirit of Spring
Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna
Elgar: Serenade for Strings
Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs
Elgar: Spanish Serenade
Holst: Hymn of Jesus

Stephen Rumsey: Music Director
Mark Ellis: Baritone

The Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich
December 2012 Ipswich Sings Christmas

Ipswich Choral Society return to Ipswich Corn Exchange with their annual Christmas community concert on 15 December, supporting the Woolverstone Wish appeal.

The seasonal extravaganza will see Ipswich Choral Society performing a festive mix of traditional carols and Christmas songs, led by their Musical Director, Stephen Rumsey. Compère Lynne Mortimer from the East Anglian Daily Times returns welcoming the acts and introducing the guest appearances, including The Mayor of Ipswich, Councillor Mary Blake.

Local band, Suffolk Phoenix Brass, will once again accompany the traditional carol singing with the audience as well as performing their Christmas favourites. Ipswich Choral Society are this year welcoming the Kettle Girls, an acapella vocal harmony group, performing Christmas classics in their lively jazz/folk style.

The Woolverstone Wish Appeal is raising money to refurbish the Chemotherapy outpatient clinics and day-unit in the Woolverstone Wing of Ipswich Hospital. The aim is to increase the available space, improve privacy for patients and provide a more comfortable treatment area.

Ipswich Choral Society raised £1000 for the Woolverstone Wish Appeal at the 2011 Christmas concert. Come and join in the Christmas celebrations to help raise even more this year for such a worthy cause!

Ipswich Choral Society presents ‘Ipswich Sings Christmas!’
7.30pm Saturday 15 December 2012
Grand Hall, Corn Exchange, Ipswich IP1 1DH

November 2012 Ipswich Choral Society presents "Glorious Voices, Brass and Drums"

Ipswich Choral Society promises vibrant rhythms, energetic melodies and moving harmonies at their autumn concert "Glorious Voices, Brass and Drums" on 18 November at Ipswich School.

The choir sings an exciting programme of modern choral works, featuring John Rutter's 'Gloria' accompanied by brass, percussion and organ and "The Making of the Drum" by Bob Chilcott; a setting of poems by Edward Kamau Brathwaite concerning the mystical importance of the drum in African cultures. The programme starts with the moving "Totus Tuus" by Henryk Górecki and includes Bruckner's 'Inveni David' for male chorus and trombones.

Ipswich Choral Society is always keen to work with and promote young professional accompanists whose careers are developing. For this concert, we welcome Roche Brass, a brass quintet from London whose youthful enthusiasm will bring an added zest to the performance of John Rutter's Gloria.

In addition to accompanying the choir, Roche Brass will perform some pieces of their own, including Quintet No.1 by Victor Ewald and an arrangement of "Espãna" by Isaac Albeniz.

In addition to the feast of music, another feast will be available in the form of delicious cakes and other home-made goodies for the interval refreshments, provided by Creative Cooks.

Gloria: John Rutter
The Making of the Drum: Bob Chilcott
Stephen Rumsey – conductor
Roche Brass

3pm, Sunday 18 November 2012
The Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich IP1 3QW

February 2012 Ipswich Choral Society presents 'Mozart Magic' at Snape

Ipswich Choral Society and their music director, Stephen Rumsey, return to Snape to present 'Mozart Magic', a delightful programme from the great composer. Joined by their President, international conductor, Cem Mansur, the Society are delighted to perform Mozart's Requiem with the talented young musicians of the Suffolk Youth Orchestra (SYO) and specially invited soloists, Fiona Hammacott, Clarissa Meek, Nicholas Ransley and Timothy Dawkins.

Ipswich Choral Society are thrilled to also welcome former SYO member, Ipswich pianist Erdem Misirlioğlu to perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor. Erdem was a prizewinner in the International Rachmaninov Competition for Young Pianists in 2006 and won the piano section of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2008. His recent recital at Wigmore Hall was broadcast on Radio 3.

Ipswich Choral Society Chair, Maureen Fell, is delighted that Cem Mansur is visiting Suffolk to conduct the choir again, having previously worked with the choir at Snape with the Britten Sinfonia, the City of London Sinfonia, and at the Istanbul International Music Festival. Maureen says "The choir always enjoy working with Cem and are enthusiastic about performing at Snape with him in April. Being joined by Erdem and SYO adds to the excitement and highlights the quality of the talent we have locally. With wonderful soloists too, the concert is definitely not to be missed!".

Ipswich Choral Society presents 'Mozart Magic: Requiem & Piano Concerto No. 20'
5pm, Sunday 22 April 2011
Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk IP17 1SP

December 2011 Ipswich Sings Christmas

Ipswich Choral Society presents "Ipswich Sings Christmas!"

Ipswich Choral Society's annual Christmas community concert returns with a sparkling festive extravaganza!

Performing a festive mix of traditional carols and Christmas songs, Ipswich Choral Society and their Musical Director, Stephen Rumsey, will be joined this year by compère Lynne Mortimer from the East Anglian Daily Times to introduce the special guest performances. Local band, Suffolk Phoenix Brass, return to perform their Christmas favourites and accompany the traditional carol singing with the audience.

Ipswich Choral Society are delighted to welcome Suffolk Soul Singers to add extra Christmas sparkle to the evening. As usual, children from local schools are taking part and this year Ipswich Choral Society welcome choirs from Grundisburgh Primary School, Hintlesham and Chattisham CEVC Primary School and Rushmere Hall Primary School to enchant everyone with their joyful performances.

Ipswich Choral Society use their community concert to raise money for a worthy local cause. This year, we will be raising money for the Woolverstone Wish appeal this year. The Woolverstone Wish Fund is raising money to refurbish the Chemotherapy outpatient clinics and day-unit in the Woolverstone Wing of Ipswich Hospital. The aim is to increase the available space, improve privacy for patients and provide a more comfortable treatment area.

Come along and help Ipswich Choral Society spread some Christmas cheer and also help raise money for a good local cause.

Ipswich Choral Society presents 'Ipswich Sings Christmas!'
7.30pm Saturday 17 December 2011
Grand Hall, Corn Exchange, Ipswich IP1 1DH

December 2011 Nightingale Project

The Nightingale Project started in Spring 2010, with a grant from BBC Choral Ambition fund. Workshops took place during June 2010 and culminated in an outdoor performance on the Cornhill Ipswich of specially written works by Jim McWilliam and Bridget Cousins for choir, workshop groups and audience as part of the 2010 Ip-art Festival.

A grant of £2,000 given to Ipswich Choral Society by the Suffolk Foundation Healthy Ambitions programme enabled the Society to continue to run more free community singing workshops during 2011. Ipswich Choral Society is pleased to benefit from the experience of Julie Stokes and Gina Silburn from the Town & Bridge project to coordinate and undertake the Nightingale Project workshop series.

The Town and Bridge Project already deliver a wide range of activities targeted at +45 people in the town centre and Stoke Bridge areas of Ipswich. Gina Silburn runs friendly singing sessions, called Keep on Rockin' for Town and Bridge, on alternate Wednesday evenings as part of the project activities.

Julie Stokes, Manager of the Town & Bridge Project, said 'We have been running a very successful singing group called "Keep on Rockin" for the last two years. Many of the members thought that they couldn't sing, but with a little help from the music facilitator, they have discovered their voices and now perform at various locations and some members even sing solo. It's not just about the singing, people have made new friends, their confidence has grown, they feel happier and they have a great time.'

About The Town & Bridge Project

The Town and Bridge Project is a One-Ipswich Local Strategic Partnership initiative, which started in 2004. The aim of the project is to work with the community, key individuals, professionals, and local organisations to improve the health and well-being of people, between the ages of 45 – 74 years, living in the Town Centre and Stoke area of Ipswich.

Through the work of the project, the Town & Bridge Project want to support and empower people to make positive changes to their lifestyles in an effort to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attacks, lung disease and cancer and help people improve where they live and fee safer in the community.

The Town & Bridge Project also works in partnership with other organisations to develop Community Projects in Ipswich.

Suffolk Foundation Town & Bridge Ipswich Sings
November 2011 Brahms Requiem

Ipswich Choral Society return to The Great School, Ipswich School for their autumn concert on 6 November. The programme features pieces by composers from the German Romantic period culminating in 'Ein deutsches Requiem' by Johannes Brahms as the finale.

The arrangement of the Brahms Requiem chosen by the choir is accompanied by a piano duet. Following the successful "America" concert back in April, Ipswich Choral Society is delighted to welcome back internationally renowned solo pianist John Paul Ekins, who will perform the duet with pianist Christopher Guild. Both pianists will also perform solo pieces by Franz Liszt – 'Vallée d'Obermann from Années de pèlerinage' and 'Mephisto Waltz No.2'.

Also returning to perform the Requiem with the choir are Soprano Fiona Hammacott and Baritone Nick Fowler. Fiona will be delighting the audience with 'Csárdás and 'Mein Herr Marquis (Laughing Song) from Die Fledermaus' by Johann Strauss and Nick will be performing 'O du, mein holder Abendstern from Tannhäuser' by Richard Wagner. The choir will complete the programme by singing a selection from 'Liebeslieder Walzer op. 52' by Brahms.

Refreshments of delicious cakes and other home-made goodies will be available during the interval, provided by Creative Cooks.

Brahms 'Ein deutsches Requiem'
3.30pm Sunday 6 November 2011
The Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich IP1 3QW

February 2011 1946 Programme

A few weeks ago we received a programme from Graham Wild for a recital of Handels Messsiah on 4th December 1946 in which his father Ronald Wild played trumpet for the London Orchestra.

Of note on page 2 of the programme is a subsequent recital of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" on February 12th 1947 featuring Soprano Isobel Baillie and Contralto Kathleen Ferrier.

Many thanks Graham

January 2011 America

Ipswich Choral Society and their Musical Director, Stephen Rumsey, are hosting an exciting afternoon concert of American music on 3rd April, 3.30pm at Ipswich School.

A compelling collection of pieces including negro spirituals from 'A Child of our Time' by Michael Tippett and excerpts from Leonard Bernstein's 'West Side Story'. In addition we will perform a choral arrangement of Samuel Barber's haunting 'Agnus Dei' and 'Sloop John B', originally performed by the Beach Boys. The concert would not be complete without some pieces from 'The Tender Land' by Aaron Copland and some traditional American folk songs, arranged by John Rutter.

We are delighted that John Paul Ekins, internationally renowned solo pianist, will be able to join us at Ipswich School. He will be playing a selection of his favourite American music, including George Gershwin.

Ipswich Choral Society presents America!
3rd April 2011, 3.30pm
The Great School, Ipswich School, Ivry Street, Ipswich IP1 3QW

January 2011 Free Singing Workshops
Whitton & Whitehouse

Why not do something outrageous in 2011 – no talent required! You don't have to be able to sing just come along make new friends, have fun and learn how to develop your voice & singing techniques.

If you are aged 20 years and over, live in Whitton or Whitehouse and like singing, then why not come and join the Town & Bridge Project & Ipswich Choral Society at five free singing workshops. Funded by the Suffolk Foundation, the two organisations are working together to take music out into the community for people to 'have a go' and find out more about community singing.

Sessions start on Saturday 22nd January, then every Saturday for 5 weeks.
10.30am – 12.30pm,
Whitton Baptist Church, 209 Highfield Road, Ipswich, IP1 6DH
Refreshments available

Click here for further details on the Nightingale Project Nightingale Project 2011 The Nightingale Project is Ipswich Choral Society's response to the BBC's Choral Ambition Scheme, an opportunity to obtain funding for developing the activities of choirs in their community. The Nightingale Project received the maximum possible grant, making Ipswich Choral Society the only choir in the Eastern Region to be so fortunate.
The past few months have been busy with groups of folk with little or no singing experience taking part in professionally led creative singing workshops, exploring the expressive and life enhancing activity that is vocal music making.
June 27th saw the culmination of their efforts with an outdoor performance on the Cornhill Ipswich of specially written works by Jim McWilliam and Bridget Cousins for choir, workshop groups and audience as part of the 2010 Ip-art Festival.

Following the Ip-art Festival, further creative singing workshops will take place around Ipswich. Please email to register your interest and receive further details.

BBC Performing Arts Fund

About the Composers

Jim McWilliam

"Ipswich Choral Society approached me to write a piece or several pieces on the subject of Home. I have written 2 original compositions and one arrangement all of which offer different perspectives on this idea using texts from a variety of sources. The first piece 'Home, My Little Children, Hear Are Songs For You' is a poem by the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and deals with the subject of Home from an innocent childlike viewpoint. The second piece 'I AM' is a poem by the English writer John Clare for whom the idea of Home was central to all of his work. Throughout his life Clare struggled with his own identity and once declared that he was infact Shakespeare. He died in the Northamptonshire County Asylum in 1864 shortly after writing 'I AM', possibly his most famous poem. The third piece is an arrangement of the well known folk tune, 'Sloop John B',covered by many artists but made famous by the Beach Boys in 1966. Originally a traditional West Indies song titled, 'The John B. Sails', the American writer Carl Sandburg included it in his 1927 collection of folk songs. The song tells the story of the John B., an old sponger boat whose crew were notorious for drinking and fighting whenever they reached port. The boat was sunk in the Bahamas in about 1900."

James McWilliam is a composer and arranger living in London. As well as writing for the concert hall he has worked as an orchestrator on films such as Harry Potter, written string arrangements for many pop artists and has recently composed the score to a new BBC One series, Tronji. James was music editor on all 100 episodes of the BAFTA winning Children's show 'In The Night Garden' and in March 2010 the London Philharmonic Orchestra gave the World Premiere of his arrangement of the 'In The Night Garden' opening theme at the Festival Hall. James was Ipswich Choral Society's adopted composer in 2006.

Bridget Cousins

"The piece I've written for ICS weaves three quotes about the idea of 'home' by three very different writers : TS Eliot, Emily Dickinson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. The quotes are all from American writers - Ipswich has a strong connection with the Americas being one of the first ports of call for the Mayflower before she set sail from Plymouth in 1620. Eliot writes 'Home is where you start from', whereas for Dickinson 'where thou art,that is home'. Wendell Holmes combines these ideas in one lovely phrase : 'Where we love is home, that our feet may leave, but not our hearts' . The three phrases are woven together using canon and countermelody to form a flowing piece reminiscent of the river at the heart of Ipswich. It also reminds us what home means, and meant, for those leaving and arriving in this city, from the Anglo-Saxons who created this port to the Caribbean islanders who came in the 1950s and more recent arrivals from Portugal and Poland."

Bridget Cousins is a community musician who enjoys writing choral pieces for those who have no previous experience of singing or reading music. She works with groups in various community settings including schools to create compositions and recently completed a project sponsored by the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia to write four songs inspired by their roving artefact collection with elderly residents at an old people's home. This resulted in a performance which featured the residents themselves on stage (several of whom were over 90) as part of a community choir.

She has written 2 song-cycles inspired by the Blyth Valley for Halesworth community choir - 'Singing the River' and 'Ballads of Blything Hundred' both of which have been performed to packed audiences and warm reviews at the Cut Arts Centre and other venues, including Snape Maltings as part of the Ebb and Flow festival 2008.

February 2010 Choral Ambition - Performing Arts Fund Project

Ipswich Choral Society has been awarded a £5,000 grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund as part of Choral Ambition, as special funding scheme for performing choirs.

Ipswich Choral Society will be using this grant, as well as seeking additional funding, to commission a new piece of music for choir and community voices to be based on a local theme (working title: Sounds of Ipswich). It will be performed in a local venue, in a programme with other suitable pieces, in the Summer of 2010.

The grant will allow us to undertake the commission and to run 'Discovering Music' sessions around Ipswich. We plan to go into different communities in parts of Ipswich that might not have much exposure to choral music, to undertake community based workshops that aim to stimulate interest in musical activities, and that allow the general public to experience collaborative choral performance and develop their singing skills.

The project will challenge members of Ipswich communities and Ipswich Choral Society to learn new singing skills provided by the workshops; to develop skills of working with a composer during the composition period; and to be part of an entirely new collaborative process of a community based performance.

The Society will also benefit from increased exposure to and interest in classic choral music, which we hope will increase both the audience numbers and membership of our choir and other musical groups in Ipswich.

By using the links below Ipswich Choral Society will receive a small commission.

Saturday, 2 December 2017, 7.30pm

Britten's Ceremony of Carols
The Great School
Ipswich School
Ivry Street
Ipswich IP1 3QW

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem
Corn Exchange
Ipswich IP1 1DH

Tickets direct from:
ICS Members
ICS Ticket Line
01473 625 208
0759 705 2572
Music World,
Queen Street,
Ipswich IP1 1SS