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.

The President is the Mayor of Leamington Spa, Heather Calver.

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, Janet Lince, Nigel Stark and now under the baton of our new Musical Director and Conductor, Christopher Cromar, 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 | Christopher Cromar

Christopher Cromar is Music Director of Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir, and Congleton and Sandbach Choral Societies. He is a former Music Director of Keele University Bach Choir and Salford Choral Society and pursues a freelance career as both conductor and concert organist. He was born in Scotland where he was a chorister at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dundee. In 1992 he won a scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music, studying the organ with Christopher Stokes at Manchester Cathedral, and with Nicolas Kynaston and Kimberly Marshall in London. He was a finalist in the 1995 and 1997 National Young Organist Competitions at Plymouth.Christopher has given organ recitals at many prestigious venues including: Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, King’s College Cambridge, St. Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh, the Caird Hall Dundee, in the United Kingdom; Notre Dame, Sainte-Clotilde, Saint-Germain-des Prés, Saint-Roch, Saint-Étienne-de-Caen in France, and throughout Germany, Greece, Holland and the USA. He has played with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Orchestre de Paris, and recently performed the Poulenc Organ Concerto in Guildford Cathedral with Southern Pro Musica.Contemporary music is a prominent feature of Christopher’s repertoire. He premiered Errollyn Wallen’s Tiger at the 2001 Oundle International Festival and gave the piece its London premiere later that year at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He has worked closely with many contemporary composers including Peter Aston, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jonathan Dove and Naji Hakim, frequently in preparation for first performances and broadcasts.Illustrious choruses with which Christopher has been invited to work as guest chorus master or accompanist include the Chorus of Radio France, BBC Singers, Manchester Chamber Choir, RSNO Chorus, Vasari Singers, Brighton Festival Chorus, Chelsea Opera Group, and he served on the deputy music staff of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey for a number of years.

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


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Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir