Since the reforming of Kington Choral Society there have been three Music Directors: In 1996, after a few years in the wilderness, the choir was reformed under Charles Allsopp as Kington and District Choral Society, although the only record of a performance that we have is of a mixed programme for Christmas on December 7th 1998.
By 1999 the Music Director was Maureen Twiddy, and the choir’s title had changed to Kington Choral Society. The first concert was held in the summer featuring Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, and the choir was accompanied by the Winforton Wind quartet. Over a period of more than ten years the choir went from strength to strength as the numbers grew from 35 to as many as 80 in 2003. Throughout her time, the choir stabilised in number and became far more confident, performing in at least two concerts a year, and Come and Sing events were held as well. Maureen Twiddy retired from the post in 2010, after a substantial contribution to the success of the choir.
In November 2010, Roger Langford took over as Music Director, having sung the bass solo with the choir in the last concert conducted by Maureen, a mix of Michael and Joseph Haydn. Roger brought a new perspective on singing and performing into the choir – rehearsals were never dull or lacking in challenge and members of the choir were stretched in every way (including in the warm up!). Concerts and Workshops continued throughout the five years with Roger, and the introduction of small orchestra accompaniment with Handel’s Messiah in 2013 and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in 2014 opened the eyes of the choir to the increased enjoyment and enhancement of the presence of multiple musicians.
Very sadly Roger resigned in 2016, and we worked very successfully with our Guest Conductor, James Davies, to perform our May Concert of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man / Rutter Requiem.
Since September 2016 our choir has been working happily with the energetic and enthusiastic Robert Evans, who has brought us a bright future as we explore the broad spectrum of choral music.
Our Musical Director
Robert Evans began his musical education as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral and studied clarinet at The Royal Welsh College of music. He subsequently studied singing with Henry Cummings.
After a number of careers (from the Petro Chemical industry to Solanacae husbandry) Robert was drawn to the notion of making his living from singing, to which end he studied as a “mature” student at The Royal College of Music. Robert distinguished himself there by being a) the oldest student and b) the cheapest “Elijah” since the Suez crisis.
Robert made his London debut in 1987 at The Royal Festival Hall with the choir of The London Oratory. Having spent ten years in the choir of Westminster Cathedral (winners of the Gramophone Record of the year 1999) Robert moved to Salisbury, allowing him to concentrate on his freelance singing career, both as a soloist and as a consort singer working with The Sixteen, The Cardinalls Musick (winners of the Gramophone Record of the year 2010), Alamire, Tenebrae, The Kings Consort, and The Gabrieli Consort. Recently Robert moved again, this time to Mid Wales – his time is now shared between singing and walking two (over energetic) border collies.
Singing engagements have taken Robert to the USA, Japan, Australia and throughout Europe. Sadly an appearance of several weeks in New York only featured his hands, plaster casts of which appeared there on a mannequin.
Although Robert spends most of his time performing Classical music, he also enjoys the lighter end of the repertoire. He has sung in the West End (Starlight Express), cabaret, jingles and film sound tracks including Crimson Tide, Sleepy Hollow, Chocolat, King Arthur, Pirates of the Caribbean II, Flushed Away, The Da Vinci Code, Prometheus, Grimsby and his particular favourite, Muppet Treasure Island.
Paul Roberts studied organ and piano as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music, and read music at Oxford as a choral scholar at Worcester College. For five years he taught music at a leading grammar school in Amersham, and accompanied the school choir in trips to Germany as well as concerts at home. During that time he also conducted the Marlow Choral Society. He then had a change of direction and was ordained as a priest in the Church of England, serving latterly in a South London parish. He continued to accompany both individuals and groups on piano and organ whenever he had the opportunity, and now in retirement he has been able to focus on his earlier musical career, playing the organ from time to time in the local church, and continuo with the Titley Philharmonic. He loves spending time with his family and in the garden, and anything to do with trains – real or model. He is also trying to learn Italian.
Members of our committee are:
Chair – Lesley-Anne Ryder
Secretary – Sandie Smith
Treasurer – Nick Cooke
Musical Director – Rob Evans
Concert planning and logistics – Dick Sawle
Publicity – Currently vacant
Fund raising – Colin Piers
Librarian – Kate Binney
Hospitality and Catering – Rita Briddson