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History

Geraint John - Founding Conductor
Geraint John

Before 1970, there had been a number of choirs in Aberystwyth, notably the Aberystwyth Borough Choral Society.  They had performed oratorios with organ accompaniment in local chapels and churches or in the King's Hall, giving the same work two or three nights in succession.  There were groups associated with the Music Department of the University such as the madrigal singers and, precursor to the Male Voice Choir, the Post Office Gleemen.  However, by the mid-60's the town's mixed-voice choir had died leaving a gap in our musical life.

The idea of a new town choir arose over coffee in the Penguin Cafe, favoured haunt of staff from the Music Department and their friends.  In the early summer of 1970 Geraint John, cellist in the Department's professional string quartet, who had had experience in choral conducting, together with a few friends who were keen singers, decided to find out if there was sufficient support.  A written invitation was sent to specific addressees supported by a more general invitation spread by word of mouth to meet at the old Welsh School in Alexandra Road.  The inaugural meeting on 16 June 1970 filled the school hall and it was immediately obvious that the proposal was enthusiastically supported. 

It was decided quite early on that there should be a pattern of two concerts a year.  At this time, concerts were held in the King's Hall with the first performance at the new Aberystwyth Arts Centre Great Hall in November 1975.  The King's Hall continued to be the venue for the Spring concerts until March 1979 and from then on all concerts have been held in the Great Hall.      

The first performance was of the ever-popular Handel's Messiah. Geraint John conducted the choir from that first concert right up until Spring 2002 when he completed his dedicated service to the choir with a final and extremely well-attended Messiah.  Geraint continued to support the choir both as a Friend of the Society and as a regular member of the audience until his death in January 2018.  He left the choir in the very capable hands of David Russell Hulme.  David is well-known as Director of the University Music Centre.  A professional conductor, David is a world-authority on Gilbert and Sullivan and makes frequent trips round the world to work in his area of expertise.

While still finding time to perform the central classics, such as Messiah and Elijah, the Society has steadily enlarged its repertoire with performances of Mozart's Coronation Mass and Solemn Vespers, Rossini's Petite Messe Solonelle and Stabat Mater, Poulenc's Gloria, John Rutter's Requiem and Magnificat, Haydn's Maria Teresa Mass and Paukenmesse, Orff's Carmina Burana, Elgar's Gerontius and  Musicmakers and Bizet's Carmen.

Every concert is special, with particular memories for those who took part.  We all hope our audiences feel that way too.


Recent performances

2018 April

Dvořák Stabat Mater

Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music

2017 December

Mozart Requiem

Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols

2017 April

Tippett A Child of Our Time

Vaughan Williams Toward the Unknown Region

2016 April

Verdi Requiem

2015 December

Handel Messiah

2015 April

Rossini Stabat Mater

Mascagni Easter Hymn and Intermezzo Sinfonico from Cavalleria Rusticana

Joseph Parry excerpts from Blodwen

2014 December

Coleridge-Taylor Hiawatha's Wedding Feast

Vaughan Williams Dirge for two veterans

2014 April

Mendelssohn Elijah

2013 December

de Lloyd Tu Draw I'r llen

Dvořák Te Deum

Fauré Requiem

2013 April

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle

Verdi Stabat Mater

2012 December

Poulenc Gloria

Fauré Pavane

Cantaloube Songs of the Auvergne

Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols

2012 April

Dvořák Stabat Mater

Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music

2011 December

Bach Christmas Oratorio

2011 May

Puccini Messa di Gloria

Handel My Heart is Inditing