Of course, organisations like the Ipswich Choral Society don’t run themselves. Whilst it’s perfectly possible to enjoy membership of ICS without taking on additional roles, we like to feel that we have an ethos of a true “society”, where we all share and contribute, not only to rehearsals and performances but also to our social and charity events.
Many of our members give their time and energy in order to set the direction of the society and to create new and exciting opportunities to bolster the social aspects which in turn support our musical activities.
After nearly two centuries, Ipswich Choral Society remains a vigorous and exciting organisation. Our task is to ensure that it continues to flourish and evolve for future singers.
Chair – Phil Powditch
I joined the choir in 1999, having previously sung with choirs in Framlingham and Woodbridge. For my first ICS concert, I was lucky enough to sing Mozart’s Requiem, with the City of London Sinfonia, still one of my favourite works to sing! That also happened to be the first time Cem Mansur conducted the choir. The choir offers a fantastic experience at all levels from social activity, to trips abroad and the opportunity to sing in world class venues, either on our own or with other societies. The help and guidance available to all members, however experienced, brings together a great singing experience. As chair, I want to 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.
Vice Chair – Michael Robertson
I help to run the society. In my role, I have been involved in all sorts of things from designing posters, to fund-raising, to setting up staging, organising concerts and recording some of them. I have been in the Choral Society for 28 years, and have enjoyed the challenge and variety of the music that we sing. I have sometimes thought when we have just started rehearsing a new piece, “I don’t like this much”, but by the time we are ready to perform it, I always find that I really enjoy the piece. Singing is good exercise and after a hard day’s work, it is a good way to unwind.
Treasurer – Linda Scott
I keep control of the finances and the membership list.
Secretary – Kit Handscombe
Since childhood I have been passionate about choral singing and involved in various choirs. I joined ICS in October 2018 and immediately was drawn to the welcoming atmosphere and varied repertoire, with a specific highlight being singing Mozart’s Requiem at Snape this spring. I took on the role of committee minutes secretary this summer, as I wanted to help out after having such a positive time with this choir. Prior to ICS I sang as a choral scholar for Girton College Choir during my time at university, and whilst with this choir we toured in Hong Kong, Toronto and Portugal, and recorded two CDs.
Soprano Voice Representative – Maureen Fell
I have always enjoyed singing and joined ICS back in 1998 to find a friendly, sociable choir singing a wide range of music. Apart from great concerts in Ipswich and Snape, there have been many choir trips abroad, including memorably, taking part in the International Festival in Istanbul. As a former chair Of ICS I know how important the section reps are to maintaining a well functioning but also a sociable choir. My role will be to act as an important link between our sopranos and the ICS committee and of course to welcome new sopranos to the choir. Above all to make sure everyone is enjoying their singing with us.
Alto Voice Representative – Joanna Rogers
I was an avid choir member at school and loved to sing the big works – St John’s Passion, anything by Britten, Palestrina that sort of thing. Then life and work took over and unable to commit to attend rehearsals regularly due to the nature of my job. So almost 40 years later on semi retirement I decided to join “a proper choir” and so chose Ipswich Choral Society because it’s big, the second oldest choral society in England and sings stuff I love.
I’ve been a member for about 4 years now and the members are warm, friendly and have a great passion for choral singing. Recently I found myself putting my hand up as alto rep and am enjoying the role of looking after my group and forwarding their opinions to committee.
It’s the joy of producing that sound that about 100 people can produce that I enjoy and the good company and likemindedness of its members. So join NOW – have a go – there’s no audition and it’s enormous fun.
Tenor Voice and Bass Voice Representative – Steve Hubbard
I joined ICS two days after first arriving in Ipswich to start my first job, way back in 1986, and I’ve been here pretty much ever since. I’d loved being part of the Manchester University Chorus throughout my time studying there, to the extent that I got involved with their committee, and was Chairman when I first met Janice at one of their rehearsals! MU Chorus and subsequently ICS, after Janice joined me in Ipswich, became our ’thing’, and on the whole it has been great.
During my time with the Society I think that at one time or another I’ve done most committee posts, sometimes more than one at the same time. For a long time I managed the first choir web site, and since returning to the committee as Bass Rep I’ve also helped Fenella with managing and improving the current version of it.
Recruitment Officer – Kate Dixon
One of the first things I did when I moved to Ipswich three years ago was to join a choir. I’ve been singing in choirs for most of my life so it was something I needed to organise. The ICS seemed the ideal choir to join – they perform at great venues (my first concert was at Snape Maltings) and their repertoire is just my kind of choral music (big works like Mozart’s Requiem and lesser known and especially commissioned pieces that were new and exciting to perform). It was also a good opportunity to meet local people and make new friends. Upon arrival at my first ‘taster’ rehearsal I was warmly welcomed and since then I have formed good friendships with some members of the Altos. When the need arose I offered my support for the choir as Recruitment Officer. I wanted to be more involved in the running and of one of the oldest choral societies in the country. It will be good to encourage more people to join us. Our bicentenary is coming up in 2024 and it will be very exciting to be involved in the celebrations.
So for anyone who is considering joining a choir I would strongly recommend the ICS. Our conductor Robin is motivational and a very skilled musician, having lots of experience at leading choirs. I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody in person and singing together again after so long. You can’t beat the experience of making a wonderful sound with voices – I can’t wait!
Publicity Officer – Fenella Andrews
On moving to Ipswich, I decided to return back to singing and joined Ipswich Choral Society in January 2008 (having previously sung when I was (much!) younger whilst at Leeds University and with Preston Cecilian Choral Society). I love singing as part of a large choir and being a member of ICS has meant I’ve been able to make new friends in Ipswich as well. Initially helping out as part the ICS Publicity team, I became Publicity officer at the May 2010 AGM. There is a lot to organise with the general ICS publicity and concert promotions during the year. Fortunately, there is a fantastic team of choir members to help out to ensure everything gets done on time.
Librarian – Graham Popple
I joined the choir 5 years ago now and I wished I’d done so years earlier. The choir is just brilliant on many levels – the people are great; the rehearsals are always fun (but yet we work hard); we sing all sorts of music, so I’m getting educated; and then we wind down after rehearsals with a social drink at the pub. I like to think that we are carrying on the traditions of the choir’s founder members in 1824.
Correspondence Secretary – Sue Wallace-Shaddad
I was one of the people from another choir (Birkbeck Singers) who joined with Ipswich Choral Society to sing the Messiah in Spring 2016. I found everyone very friendly, really enjoyed learning and being stretched. I could not believe six months later that I was singing in the Corn Exchange, given that I only started singing in 2014. I have enjoyed singing Elijah this year too. As I am very involved in poetry in Suffolk, it has been great to see some collaboration between Suffolk Poetry Society and the choir too. I volunteered to become a co-opted member of the committee as Correspondence secretary this summer so am currently learning the ropes!
Ipswich Arts Association Representative – Simon Snowden
The Ipswich Arts Association supports the work of arts organisations, individual performers and issues in the Ipswich area. My role is to attend IAA meetings, keep aware of local events and issues and to feed back to the committee any relevant information which may be of help or interest to the Ipswich Choral Society.