The Southport Bach Choir is a mixed voice choir of around 50 singers giving several concerts a year, mostly in Holy Trinity Church, Southport. Performances often include professional soloists and may be accompanied by organ, orchestra or instrumental ensemble.
We also enjoy being involved in other projects. For example, in July 2014, we were invited to provide the nucleus of the newly formed Crosby Symphony Chorus, to sing Bruckner’s Te Deum and the choral movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Crosby Symphony Orchestra in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Choir and the Community
We are keen to attract both new members and new audiences and with this in mind we explore occasions for performing outside Southport and varying our repertoire, as well as being available for private bookings. We are happy to provide a small group to sing at weddings, funerals, or other events. If you are interesting in booking a group of singers please contact our Secretary on 01704 535208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have organised a number of successful ‘Come and Sing’ events in Crosby; the latest was in November 2013 showcasing Ian Crawford’s interpretation of Fauré’s Requiem and Whitacre’s evocative Lux Aurumque. The atmosphere of fun, the lunches and particularly the home-made cakes at these events are quickly becoming renowned. We have also invited singers who are not necessarily experienced in choral singing to join us for a workshop featuring jazzy arrangements of carols which was designed to emphasize the fun side of choral singing.
In June 2012 members of the choir joined a large group of local choristers to sing a medley of songs from the past 60 years as part of Southport’s celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and in November 2013 we took part in the Open Weekend celebrations at the Atkinson, Southport’s new arts venue, formerly the Arts Centre, when the audience was treated to Ian’s inimitable and charismatic style whilst rehearsing a more funky arrangement of Good King Wenceslas.
Fund-raising and social events are also part of the choir’s life. We have held music marathons, garden parties, jumble sales, musical soirées, and most recently, a small band of walkers set off into the Lancashire and Cheshire countryside. We usually hold a lunch-party in September at the start of the season, and welcome ideas from members for ways of raising funds and at the same time having fun.
A Brief History of the Southport Bach Choir
The Southport Bach Choir was founded (under the name Southport Bach Society) in 1965 by David Bowman, who was at the time organist and choir master at Holy Trinity Church, Southport. When he left in 1970 to join the staff at Ampleforth College, his position in both roles was taken by David Williams.
Under the two Davids the choir built up a repertoire that included music from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including choral classics by Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Britten, Fauré, Vaughan Williams, as well as many lesser known pieces. The full extent of this repertoire can be seen from the List of Works Performed.
When David Williams retired in 2008 he was succeeded by Ian Wells (former Assistant Organist at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral), who expanded the choir’s repertoire still further with pieces by Vaughan Williams, Holst and Poulenc. From 2012 the choir’s Director of Music has been Ian Crawford, whose distinctive approach blends vitality, enjoyment and thoughtful choral interpretation. Under his direction there has been an increased emphasis on a capella works in concert programmes.
Over the years the choir has enjoyed collaboration with other choirs to sing works on a large-scale. In 2011, members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir joined the Southport Bach Choir for a concert that included Holst’s Hymn to Jesus. Later that year, some members of the SBC joined the RLPC to sing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Liverpool’s Cathedral and in Portugal.
The Southport Bach Choir’s first concert was given in April 1965, so in 2015 we celebrated our 50th anniversary. The anniversary year was inaugurated with a performance of Bach’s St John Passion at Holy Trinity Church, Southport on Saturday 21 March. Our summer concert focused on music with words from Shakespeare, including a newly commissioned piece by Will Todd.
The choir is a member of Making Music, the UK’s leading organisation for amateur music making.