History

HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY

A choral society in Biggleswade is recorded in 1876, but our roots are really in our predecessor, the Ross Boughton Singers,  founded in 1936 by the headmistress of Rose Lane Girls School but disbanded in 1939 at the start of WW2.  Following a public meeting in 1944 the society became firmly established by 1945 when Leslie Woodgate obtained the services of  Mr Wesley Dennison as Conductor, a post he held until 1960.  Both men were members of the BBC Singers who were broadcasting from Bedford during the war.

A growing membership enabled performances of major choral works and in the 1970’s and 80’s we joined other Bedfordshire choirs and the Youth Orchestra for performances in the Royal Albert Hall, including Balshazzar’s Feast, The Dream of Gerontius and Carmina Burana.

In 2006, under the auspices of Making Music  ‘Promoting young professionals’ we joined with the Phoenix Concert Band of Enfield, young musicians from Biggleswade’s Stratton Upper School and two young professionals, a singer and a trumpet player to give a performance of light and classical music.

In 2007 we gave two performances of  Haydn’s Passion with the Orpheus Choir of North Herts, once in Hitchin and the second in Biggleswade.

We were privileged in 2010 to find ourselves, funded by a wonderful legacy from a relative of a member, able to commission ‘Divine Emblems’, based on poems of John Bunyan, from the exciting young Bedfordshire composer John Chambers.  This highly original yet very accessible and enjoyable work was given its first performance at our celebration 65th Anniversary concert ‘A Festival of English Choral Music’ at St Paul’s Church, Bedford in May 2011.

Officers of the society since 1945

Conductors

Wesley Dennison 1945—1959
H Wintersgill 1959—1960
R J Moore 1960—1961
Brian Lincoln 1961—1967
E (Ted) Amos 1967—1968
G Divers 1968—1970
Frank Pallister 1970—1987
Howard Parkhouse 1987—2004
Revd K J Brown 2005—2009
Karen Beer 2009—

Deputy Conductors

Karen Beer 2005—2009
Justin ThomasDavid Beer 2009—20132013-

Accompanists

Cynthia Bates with Wesley Dennison
Raymond Wood with Wesley Dennison
Jean Amos with Ted Amos
Edgar Ball with Brian Lincoln, G Divers, Frank Pallister
Bill Soames with Frank Pallister, Howard Parkhouse
Anne Wright (2000) with Howard Parkhouse, Keith Brown, Karen Beer