Sturminster Choral Society

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The Choir's History

The roots of Sturminster Choral Society go back to 1957 when the Women’s Institute asked a young music master at the High School, Alan Hannah, to form a choir, with the stipulation that it would give a short concert once a year at the end of a WI meeting. The choir, with Joyce Duncan as its accompanist, sang a variety of part songs and songs from shows and put on several successful concerts.


In December 1962 Bill Young and Alan Hannah put on "Christmas Pageant". The WI choir formed the nucleus but it was augmented by anyone who wanted to sing. As a result, the pageant attracted some tenors and basses. The singing was of such a high standard that Alan Hannah saw this as an opportunity to set up a choral society. The society had its first rehearsal in the William Barnes Primary School on 4th February 1963. Connie Young was its secretary, Muriel Minnear its accompanist and Alan Hannah the conductor. Its first concert, part of Handel’s Messiah, was held that December in St Mary’s Church accompanied by organ, trumpets and timpani. Stainer’s Crucifixion was performed on Good Friday the following year.


Twice-yearly concerts of sacred and popular music, at Christmas and in the spring, have continued ever since under Mr Hannah and various other conductors, including George Havord, Cecil Cox, Peter Lattimer and Barry Ferguson, and with accompanists Doris Edsall, Mike English and Elaine Korman. Over the years it has performed most of the great works of choral music – from Bach, Brahms, Haydn and Mozart to Rossini, Rutter, Vivaldi and Vaughan Williams. Alan Hannah continued to conduct the choir until 1974 returning briefly in 1994.