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‘Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing.’  William Byrd

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Lutterworth and District Choral Society Registered Charity number 1048089


Lutterworth and District Choral society traces its history back to the late 19th century, with the formation of the Lutterworth Orchestral and Choral Society.  As our 1996 centenary booklet proclaims, concerts in those days ‘were held in the Town Hall commencing at eight o’clock, carriages at 10’.  The conductor was the Rector of St Mary’s parish church, Rev. M. F. Alderson, and he directed a choir of 38 with a dozen instrumentalists.


There is no record of what happened during the war but during the 1920s the organist at St Mary’s, George Haswell, took over the baton of what had by then become the Lutterworth Musical Society.  The programmes included both secular and sacred music, with enthusiastic reviews and requests for encores. One reviewer noted on 25th January 1924, ‘Complete success attended the annual concert of the Lutterworth Musical Society, held at the Town Hall on Friday evening.  The Society is in its twenty-fifth season, and under the direction of Mr. G. J. Haswell (conductor) and Mr. G. Bond (honorary secretary) is now in a very flourishing condition – demonstrated by the high standard of musical excellence attained by the orchestral and choral sections.  The proceeds were devoted to the District Nurse Fund.’


Almost immediately after the end of World War II in 1946, the society was reformed and renamed Lutterworth and District Choral Society.  Its aim was to be the art, practice and presentation of choral music and it chose as its motto, a couplet from composer William Byrd:


“Since singing is so good a thing

I wish all men would learn to sing.”


Under the leadership of John Buck the society started performing popular concerts in St Mary’s church hall, the Methodist Church, and the then-Grammar School (now Lutterworth College).  By the time of its tenth anniversary concert in 1956, Ken Harris had joined the Society as a singer, and it was not long before his conducting talents were spotted.  He took over the baton at the first Christmas concert with the Lutterworth Town Band – establishing a tradition that continues to this day.  The annual Christmas concerts feature a mixture of carols and brass-band music for the festive season.  Ken Harris was the longest-serving conductor to date (1957 to 1985) and subsequently became President of the society.  During his tenure he put on a series of celebrity concerts, including one featuring Owen Brannigan.  ‘They were indeed happy years,’ reminisced Ken Harris.



Lutterworth and District Choral Society

Golden Anniversary Concert 27 April 1996

Conductors in more recent decades have included Michael Arnison, Marlene Sweetko, Anne de Graeve, Kathryn Cook, Robert Foreman and now Alan Barraclough.  The choir continues to perform a varied and extensive repertoire, combining ‘choral staples’ such as Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation, with songs by Rogers & Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  In 2009 the choir joined forces with Market Harborough Choral Society to perform Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.  Under the baton of the present musical director, Alan Baraclough the choir takes pleasure in creating programmes of varied music around a theme, such as the lively ‘Animal Magic’ songs for a picnic-concert at Walton village hall in June 2009.

Please click here for a full list of past performances.

Lutterworth and District Choral Society continues to flourish, with some 70 enthusiastic, committed members.  Whilst there are many members who have been with the choir for longer than they may care to mention, there is a constant influx of new voices, and a willingness to tackle new works.  The choir is always looking forwards and will carry on its tradition of bringing choral music to the people of south-west Leicestershire for the foreseeable future.


History