Cumbria Rural Choirs was established over sixty years ago, bringing together members from:
- Wigton Choral Society
- Keswick Choral Society
- Ullswater Choir, Penrith
and other singers from all around Cumbria and neighbouring areas.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no annual concert took place 2021. The Trustees have used the break to re-orientate the organisation. We are adopting a new name, Cumbria Singers, from late May 2022, with a first major concert planned for 2023. Please find our new website, cumbriasingers.org.uk, here.
The final concert as Cumbria Rural Choirs took place in March 2022.
Cumbria Singers will continue the practice of Cumbria Rural Choirs in welcoming singers of all ages and levels of experience, from age 8 to over 80, from across Cumbria and beyond. Our ambition is to perform an annual concert where the programme primarily consists of large-scale choral works, led by a professional conductor and accompanied by professional musicians. This will provide participants with the opportunity to enjoy an experience which smaller choirs, with greater financial constraints and smaller numbers, are unlikely to be able to offer. Where circumstances allow, the annual concert will be performed in a high-profile venue in Cumbria with the capacity to accommodate a large choir, orchestra and accompanying singers.
The choir will be led, through a combination of face-to-face rehearsals and e-based tuition (available on-line for practising between rehearsals), by a highly-experienced professional conductor of national or international renown. The role will be that of both Chorus Director and the Conductor of the concert. The person appointed to this role is likely to change each year.
Most rehearsals will take place on Saturdays as full-day workshops, divided into morning and afternoon sessions. At least four of these will take place between September to April/May. Occasionally, evening rehearsals may be necessary, but these will usually only take place just before the concert.
Cumbria Singers will strengthen the links which already exist and increase its communication networks with other choirs, arts venues and cultural groups across the region. This will enable Cumbria Singers to regularly ‘signpost’ its members to other musical events taking place across Cumbria, recruit members and publicise its activities.
We are grateful for the sponsorship received from the following organisations:
We are very grateful for the generous legacy donation by Evelyn Dover, a member of the Cumbria Rural Choirs for many years, who sadly died in October 2019. Such gifts are invaluable to support our activities.
Born in the Festival of Britain
The first concert of the Cumbria Rural Choirs was given in 1951 at the Pavillion in Keswick, as part of the North Lakeland Festival of Britain celebrations, with a performance that included Act II of Orpheus by Gluck. The orchestra then, and on many future occasions, was the Lemare Orchestra; the first conductor, Cyril Gell.
We have been fortunate to continue to attract well-known conductors and choral specialists including John Butt, Andrew Padmore, Bob Chilcott, Simon Halsey, Nigel Perrin and Stephen Cleobury. We are also able to engage outstanding musicians, including the British Sinfonietta and Manchester Camerata.