History

Originally a Male Voice Choir, it was found that with so many men in the forces of WW2, it was decided to hold a meeting on 22nd November 1943 with a view to establishing a Mixed Voice Choir. It was realised during the meeting that the date was in fact St Cecilia’s Day, and as a consequence the newly formed Choir was so named.

The first concert was held in January 1944.  Following this several more small concerts were held in the locality and the first Celebrity Concert was held at the Ritz Cinema on 17th February 1945.

In August 1946, following an audition, the choir gave the first of many broadcasts for the BBC.  In 1946 the choir entered a choral contest at Leamington Spa where the choir carried off First Prize.

The choir travelled extensively to different eisteddfods in Oxford, Leicester, Birmingham, Blackpool, and Loughborough.  In 1951 the choir reached the finals of an all England competition and sang in the newly opened Royal Festival Hall. The St. Cecilia Singers have the honour of being the first choir to perform on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall.

Mr. John Wearmouth was appointed Musical Director on 5th July 1976, and it was upon his instigation that the first of many Annual Concerts with an orchestra was held on 10th December 1977, and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” was the main item on the programme.

In 1993 two major concerts were performed to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.  It was also the year when Geoff Twell arranged the publication of a booklet entitled “Hail Bright Cecilia” depicting the history of the Choir up to that point.

In 1994 the “Friends” scheme was launched which proved to be not only another source of revenue, but also formed a nucleus of concert audiences and attendance at social functions.

Martin Budgett was appointed as Musical Director in September 2000.

In 2003 the Choir celebrated its Diamond Jubilee and, combining with Daventry Choral Society, Towcester Choral Society, Wellingborough Orpheus Choir and the New Phoenix Chorus & Orchestra, the St. Cecilia Singers staged a Gala Concert at Derngate Theatre, Northampton.  In the second half performed the magnificent Mahler 2nd Symphony (Resurrection).

January 2013 saw the beginning of a new chapter for the choir, when we welcomed our new musical director Emma Goddard.

19th March saw our first concert of 2016 based around the theme of 'light'. The first half was a collection of works by composers including Lauredson, Rutter and Tallis. A special performance of 'O Gladd'ning Light' by Gareth Tresedor was recorded to be sent off to a publishing company. The second half of the concert was Faurés Requiem which was a popular choice both for the choir and the audience. The soloists were wonderful, in particular the treble from Leicester Cathedral choir. The concert was held at Higham Church and was well attended and enjoyed by all.

History of the choir for previous years, including details of concerts and the pieces performed, can be found in the links below: