Banbury Choral Society was founded in 1942, in the dark days of World War Two. The choral society celebrated its 50th year in 1992 and to mark the occasion, Walter Cheney, compiled a history of the choral society from 1942 to 1992 called 'We are the Music Makers'. This book was dedicated to the memory of Lionel Pratt who died in January 1992. He was a valued member of the tenor section for almost 50 years. It is a wonderful account of how the choir developed over that time and shows the dedication and commitment of its members. To download a copy, please click here.
A succession of inspirational directors from Geoffrey Furnish through Malcolm Sargent, ‘Eddie’ Palmer, Sue Freestone, Keith Smith and Martin Quinn to Julian Harris, have increased the choirs’ repertoire as well as developing our skill and ability to ever greater heights.
Julian has brought a lively and dynamic approach to his conducting of the choir and rehearsals are demanding, but rewarding. Julian is supported by the highly accomplished pianist, Elsa Williams who is much appreciated by the choir.
Committed to building and developing the choir, in 2012, the BCS committee introduced the Youth Outreach Scheme, an exciting initiative to help students to reach their full musical potential in singing with a large choir. One of the students, Lucy Donaldson, wrote about the scheme, “I have learnt so much, including sight-reading, diction and different languages! I have become more confident and love the concerts that showcase what we have learnt. The experience has been amazing and I look forward to attending rehearsals each week.” To build on its success, the scheme is funded and supported by generous donations.
In 2014, aiming to grow the links between choir and the local community, the choir successfully started the Friends of BCS scheme. Launched in September 2014 at a concert held in the Great Hall of Broughton Castle, it is with grateful thanks to the Saye and Sele family that we now have a growing list of new Friends to support the choir in its future endeavours.