Founded in 1939 by Dr Stanley Vann, the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir (RLSBC) recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Stanley Vann, whose long and successful career as a choral conductor and composer continued through to his death in 2010, conducted the Choir’s first concert, a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, in the spring of 1940. In March 2000, the RLSBC celebrated its Diamond Jubilee with a triumphant concert that included one of the great English choral works, A Sea Symphony, composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was appointed the first Patron and President of the Choir in 1940.
Dr Vann has been succeeded by a distinguished array of musical directors. In recent years, under the batons of Malcolm Goldring and Janet Lincé, and now under the leadership of the current musical director and conductor, Nigel Stark, the Choir has continued to expand its repertoire, ranging from the classical, baroque and romantic periods to music of the twentieth century. These have included compositions by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Cherubini, Chilcott, Duruflé, Dvořak, Elgar, Fauré, Handel, Haydn, Holst, Janacek, Kodaly, Lauridsen, Mendelssohn, Monteverdi, Mozart, Orff, Rachmaninov, Rossini, Rutter, Tippett, Vaughan Williams, Verdi and Walton.
The Choir has benefited from working with a number of different local orchestras, and we have a long and happy relationship with the Beauchamp Sinfonietta. We enjoy working with a range of soloists, and in 2007, a highlight for us was to share a stage with the world-famous opera star Sir John Tomlinson, in a charity concert in Royal Leamington Spa.
The Choir usually performs four concerts a year at a variety of venues in and around Leamington Spa, but concerts have also been staged in Tewkesbury Abbey, Southwell Minster, Birmingham Symphony Hall, Gloucester Cathedral, Douai Abbey, Portsmouth Guildhall, and most recently in Peterborough Cathedral. The Choir has also performed abroad in Bruges, Ghent and Paris.
The Choir aims to give performances of a high musical standard, but we also believe that music-making should be fun and a good way to make new friends. New members in any voice part are always welcome.