Kingston Orpheus Choir celebrate 70 years singing together

Surrey Comet: Humble beginnings: Kingston Orpheus Choir in the 1940s Humble beginnings: Kingston Orpheus Choir in the 1940s

A Kingston choir founded in wartime is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Kingston Orpheus Choir was founded in 1944 after an appeal calling on singers by musical director George Anderson was put into the Surrey Comet.

Its first meeting was attended by 35 nervous singers at the Zeeta Cafe in Clarence Street where John Lewis now stands.

The group’s first performance led by Mr Anderson was a Christmas carol concert that same year with money raised for the Army Benevolent Fund.

Today, more than 50 singers including 17 sopranos, 20 altos, five tenors and eight basses aged from their 20s to 70s meet weekly to practise for performances at All Saints Church and St Andrew's Church.

Jon Fray, who sings with the choir, said: "There is a love for music in the borough. People do come and go but there are always people who love classical music.

"The choir has performed all the major choral works including Handel's Messiah, Mendelsohnn's Elijah, Brahm's Requiem and Fauré's Requiem, many times over during the seventy years, but has also found time to perform opera choruses, show tunes and even Abba's greatest hits.

"The lovely thing about a community choir is that you meet people that you might not otherwise meet and we are all working towards a similar goal. It’s very friendly."

The tenor singer added his highlight of all the years was the moment in a concert when the dramatic music and audience reaction led to that "tingle down you back".

Surrey Comet:

An exhibition to celebrate the choir’s long history which includes old programmes, posters and photos dating back to its origins is currently on display at the community display at Kingston Museum until the end of the month.

The Kingston Orpheus Choir can be heard this weekend performing a concert titled England’s Finest directed by David Condry on Saturday, July 12 at St Andrew’s Church in Maple Road, Surbiton.

For more information visit kingstonorpheuschoir.com.

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