The Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir is recognised as one of Warwickshire’s finest amateur choirs. With around 80 members coming from all walks of life, we are united by a love for choral music, and regularly perform throughout the year at local venues. 

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!

A Brief History of the Choir

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.

Musical Director & Conductor | Nigel Stark

Accompanist | Colin Druce

RLSBC is extremely fortunate to be supported in our practices and concerts by Colin Druce, professional pianist and organist.  Colin trained with Roger Fisher, the Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chester Cathedral, and later at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where he won the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Competition Prize.

Colin gives recitals and concerto performances at venues throughout the country as a concert organist, concert pianist, and is very well known in his local area of Leamington Spa and Warwick.  He is also known an accomplished accompanist, not least through his long association with the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir and the Warwick and Kenilworth Choral Society.

Coilin is a sought after teacher and he has a thriving private piano and organ teaching practice in Warwickshire, and gives lessons for both adults and children from complete beginners to Grade 8 and Diploma level.  For more details of Colin’s activities, please visit www.colindruce.co.uk

Nigel Stark became the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir’s conductor in 2005; he is also director of music at St. Martin’s and St Mary’s Stamford, Lincolnshire. Previously, he was Director of Music at St. Michael’s Church Bishop’s Stortford, conductor of the Bishop’s Stortford Choral Society, musical director of the Harlow Opera Company and founder and director of ‘Serenata’, a small professional vocal ensemble.

Originally from Chester, Nigel studied the piano and organ with Roger Fisher at Chester Cathedral.  Before moving to the West Midlands in 2002 to take up the post of Director of Music at St. Alphege Church, Solihull, he was Director of Music at the Church of St. Mary Portsea and head of St. Mary’s Music Foundation. The Music Foundation was created in 1992 to provide musical opportunities for children from the local ‘Urban Priority Area’. In the summer of 2012, Nigel directed the music at a service in Canterbury Cathedral in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury to mark the millennium of the martyrdom of St. Alphege.

As a pianist, Nigel has specialised in accompanying solo singers and instrumentalists, and has performed many times locally and nationally. He has given solo organ recitals in London and major churches and cathedrals here and abroad. Nigel is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists, holds a Diploma in Choral Directing, and MA in Organ Historiography. He is a former council member of the British Institute of Organ Studies, and an Inspector for the Historic Organs Certificate Scheme.

In addition to his work as a conductor, organist and pianist, Nigel plays trombone with  the Rutland Big Band. His private company, Hauptwerk Systems, supplies virtual pipe organs to churches, halls and homes.

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Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir