Looking for something challenging? Fancy coming back to singing after a break?

Whether you are wanting to meet new people, dusting down your singing skills or looking to try something exciting and challenging, you’ll receive a warm welcome from Ipswich Choral Society.

Come along to an open rehearsal to see for yourself with no pressure to join. Our voice section reps will be on hand to help with any queries you may have. The open rehearsals will be held on Tuesday 21st and Tuesday 28th June 2022, 7.30pm, at Northgate Arts Centre, Sidegate Lane West, Ipswich IP4 3DF.

For more information or to join the choir when we start back at rehearsals from 6th September 2022, please email recruitment@ipswichchoralsociety.org

Ipswich Choral Society and Music Director Robin Walker make their debut at Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh with a performance of Bach’s St John Passion on 9th April.

Bach’s dramatic setting of the Passion of Christ was first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday, 7 April 1724. The work is a compilation of biblical passages from St. John’s Gospel, arias based on contemplative texts and chorales using traditional Lutheran words and melodies

Ipswich Choral Society will be singing the St John Passion in German at Baroque pitch, accompanied by period instrument chamber orchestra Vivace! with Hazel Brooks as leader. For their Blythburgh debut, Ipswich Choral Society are also delighted to be joined by soloists well-known to local audiences, soprano Gwen Martin, mezzo-soprano Diana Moore, tenor Jonathan Hanley and baritone Christopher Borrett.

In the iconic setting of Holy Trinity Church, a building renowned for its fine acoustic, this will truly be a night to remember!

Ipswich Choral Society presents
Bach St John Passion
Saturday 9 April 2022, 7.00pm
Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, Halesworth IP19 9LL
Tickets £17 available online or via the ICS Ticket Line 07597 052572.

Bach St John Passion poster

Finally, after 18 months of meeting on Zoom, ICS will be meeting indoors to sing together again. September 7th marks the first rehearsal of our autumn term when we will start work on the Mass No 2 in E Minor by Anton Bruckner for a concert performance of the work on Saturday 4th December 2021 at 7:30pm at Ipswich School, where we will be accompanied by the Puffin Wind Ensemble.

There has been a huge amount of work carried out by the committee, Robin our musical director and a large dose of enthusiasm from the members during the period we could only wave at each other on our computer screens or tablets, these past few weeks we have been setting things up to make sure we keep everyone as safe as possible when we meet and sing.

We are all raring to go and are very much looking forward to welcoming our loyal supporters at our first concert for two years.

Phil Powditch
Chair ICS

With the gradual easing of Covid lockdown restrictions, the hope is that Ipswich Choral Society will be able to resume in-person rehearsals soon. From 17 May, choirs will be able meet indoors in Covid-secure venues once a risk assessment has been undertaken to ensure social distancing measures are in place.

The ICS committee is working hard to ensure all the necessary paperwork and processes are in place to enable in-person rehearsals to happen. ICS members will be provided with all relevant information beforehand.

The ICS 2021 AGM will be held on 11th May via Zoom again as that worked well last year. Details have been emailed out to choir members already.

Looking further ahead, the committee have also been busy working on the event programme. With lockdown measures still in place, it is with regret that the Verdi Requiem concert in June has had to be cancelled. Performing at the Royal Hospital School is always a pleasure and hopefully ICS will be able to return back there in the near future.

The events page has been updated with the latest details on our future concerts. The choir is looking forward to the autumn concert with the Puffin Ensemble and performing Bruckner’s Mass in E minor. Make a note in your diary for 4th December and we hope to see you at Ipswich School.

The choir have still not been able to meet up in person throughout the Autumn Term, however we have not been idle. We have continued to meet online for both rehearsals and social events. In the latest of these, our Christmas Social, a good time was had by all singing carols and taking part in a quiz.

Earlier in the term we took part in the IAA “Arts in Celebration” online event. For this we submitted three virtual choir performances, for which choir members had to record themselves singing to a backing track, which were then mixed together. A video of the singers was then recorded using Zoom to accompany the soundtrack. The results of all the hard work can be seen on the choir YouTube channel.

Back at the beginning of November, with lots of had work from the committee and some great cooperation from Northgate Arts Centre we very nearly were able to start rehearsing in person, just before the first rehearsal the last lockdown was announced, and we unfortunately had to put things on hold again. All is not lost though, much of the work that was done with all the paperwork and procedures that were created can be quickly updated and be ready to use as soon as we are able to meet safely together again.

It just remains to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the hope that in 2021 we will be able to sing together and perform again for our loyal audience.

Phil Powditch

Chair, Ipswich Choral Society


Ipswich Choral Society rehearsals will continue via Zoom for the start of the new term until further notice. All current ICS members will have received a letter from Phil Powditch, Chair of ICS, regarding the arrangements for the new term and member subscriptions.

Despite the recent changes to COVID-19 guidance relating to non-professional musicians, choirs can only meet indoors in COVID-secure venues and when a risk assessment has been undertaken to ensure social distancing measures are in place. The ICS committee is working on the necessary paperwork and in contact with Northgate Arts Centre to help facilitate getting in-person rehearsals back up and running as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Tuesday nights will continue to be choir nights, and ICS will continue to embrace the technology so members are still able to make music together and help maintain the ICS tradition of good music and friendship.


Like all choirs and many musicians in the country, we are eagerly awaiting guidance as to when we will be able to meet up and start singing again.

There has recently been some encouraging news with professional artists allowed to rehearse and perform again in certain controlled circumstances along with the commitment from government that much needed research into droplet and aerosol transmission from singers and wind instrument players is to be undertaken. Until the results of this work is known, singing and playing of wind and brass instruments are considered high risk activities when it comes to the potential transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Many of the committee and choir members have been active in writing to their MP’s highlighting the need for the research, so we will be able to implement the appropriate measures when we are able to start rehearsing again. The committee are meeting regularly via Zoom to ensure we are fully up to date with the current guidance and regulations and will be ready to go again when the time comes.

Meanwhile, we have not been idle, we have been dusting off out technical skills, holding meetings and social events online, along with Zoom rehearsals and learning how to put together a virtual choir performance. There are even plans to brush up on our music theory.

We will be well prepared, to keep both choir and audience members safe and well when we do start singing again.

Phil Powditch
Chair ICS

An interesting first for Ipswich Choral Society, holding our Annual General Meeting via Zoom. The COVID-19 lockdown presented the committee with a real challenge on how to manage the 2020 AGM. Usually held before a rehearsal, the choir has not been able to meet up for rehearsal since 10 March, and the May deadline for the AGM was looming.

Sharing minutes, reports and details of committee post elections via email/post and the ICS website beforehand helped, and for those who would be unable to attend in person, the option to cast postal votes was given. With the Zoom session underway, we could use polling for the voting and the chat function to gather questions from those attending. The most popular comment from those attending was how great it was just to see other choir members again.

Chris Pearce stepped down as chair and received a big thank you from everyone for her hard work, endless cheerfulness and enthusiastic leadership for the past 7 years as ICS chair.

Ipswich Choral Society voted in and welcomed new chair, Phil Powditch, and this is what he had to say:

We are incredibly lucky to have some exceptionally talented singers and receive outstanding tuition and direction from both Robin and Roy. I will ensure that the choir are always in a position to take advantage of those opportunities, so that our members and supporters in the audiences are able to maximise the enjoyment from their hobby by being able to sing and listen to a mixture of both new challenging and familiar music. I believe we need to continue our tradition of forging relationships with other artists, whether they be composers, musicians, soloists or other choirs. We should all feel immensely proud of our history. To exist for nearly two hundred years speaks volumes for those who have been involved in the society over the years, and I will put the choir in best possible position to celebrate and enjoy our two hundredth birthday in 2024.

ICS wish Phil all the best in his new role, especially during these challenging times.

Ipswich Choral Society rehearsals have been suspended until further notice in response to the Government announcements related to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is unclear at this stage when rehearsals will start back again, however the ICS Committee are monitoring the situation and will advise as soon as possible.

The Come and Sing Day on 4 April has been cancelled, and our Treasurer will contact anyone who has booked to refund payment.

Ipswich Choral Society’s AGM planned for May 19th has been postponed until September.

The Verdi Requiem concert at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook planned on 13 June has now been postponed until June 2021. Exact details will be provided once known.


Ipswich Choral Society is keen to support local charities, both financially with fund-raising events and by raising awareness amongst ICS members and concert audiences. Our chosen charity for 2019 is the Suffolk Law Centre and we will be helping raise awareness at concerts and community events this year.

Why does Suffolk need a Law Centre?

Suffolk is a legal advice desert. There are no legal aid providers in public law, housing and asylum law currently in the county. Even before the cuts to legal aid caused by Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), there were few civil legal aid providers. This means even when people on low incomes are sufficiently aware of their rights to seek help, they have to travel out of the county to find that help.

The Suffolk Law Centre has been set up to empower the people of Suffolk to understand and assert their legal rights. Our new Law Centre will:

  • Improve the access to specialist casework and representation in social welfare law (notably in the areas of public, housing and asylum) in Suffolk.
  • Improve the level of knowledge about rights, and/or the confidence to enforce them, amongst Suffolk residents.
  • Work with local businesses and public bodies to improve the commitment in public institutions in Suffolk to recognise people’s rights and to be held to account.
  • We will be a champion for the people of Suffolk and their legal rights.

Get in touch with Suffolk Law Centre