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History of the Choir

The West Somerset Singers is a mixed voice adult choir founded in 1945 by Arthur Temple, head of music at Taunton School.

The intention was for the choir to perform unusual works in contrast to Taunton Choral Society. At this time the choir had twenty four singers drawn mostly from the music staff of local schools and concentrated on cameo, unusual and frequently modern works.

Arthur Temple’s friend, the baritone Henry Cummings, became Patron and joined the choir in both religious and secular works. The great Soprano, Isobel Baillie, was also a soloist in those days and works such as E.J. Moerans ‘Songs of Springtime’ and Malcolm Sargent’s ‘The Second Cruxifixion’ appeared in the programmes.

Arthur Temple conducted the choir for the first fifteen years or so handing over to the leading soprano, Elizabeth Rowe. Three years later, the remarkable Bob Tullett, the musical director at Bishop Fox’s School, took on the baton. He coached the choir to success at Bath Music Festival.

Over the years the choir has seen a few changes in conductor including Chris Banks, Richard Barrell and Dawn Lankester but Arthur Temple’s original concept of performing little known works has largely been maintained.

In 1994 the choir became a registered charity. Its Committee is elected annually at the AGM and comprises Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, NFMS representative and not more than six other members including a librarian and publicity manager.

The West Somerset Singers celebrated their Diamond Jubilee in December 2005 with a concert at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton with a repertoire including Charpentier ‘Midnight Mass’ , Buxtehude ‘The Newborn Infant’ and Vivaldi ‘Gloria’.
Choir numbers have fluctuated but currently are close to thirty.

Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings at Taunton School for two terms of 12-13 weeks for concerts in April or early May and December, usually in one of the larger Taunton churches.

 

© West Somerset Singers 2010, Registered charity no. 1037125