AN appeal for new members has been made as Wellington Choral Society prepares to start its new season.

The choir is returning to Wellington School for rehearsals, which will start in the prep school in South Street on September 6, from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm, and is keen to hear from any prospective new singers.

St John’s Parish Church will continue to be the venue for concerts, with an autumn ‘Italian baroque’ performance planned for November 25.

The present choral society was founded in 1940 but actually dates to 1871 when it began as a harmonic society which continued until it was suspended during the First World War.

Wellington Choral Society music director Laurence Blyth
Wellington Choral Society music director Laurence Blyth. (Paula Fernley)

It restarted after the war and enjoyed a large membership but was eventually suspended again when numbers fell too low, until a performance of Handel’s Messiah was held in the 1930s and tenor soloist Andrew Burton reinstated it as the society which is still known today.

Membership has fluctuated over the years but more recently numbers have dropped considerably.

Society secretary Julie Harland said: “The reason is most certainly to do with the Covid pandemic which has caused uncertainty among people generally.

“The choir is self-supporting, membership subscriptions being the main source of income.

“To ensure the future continuation of the choir, an appeal for more members is being launched.

A Wellington Choral Society concert.
A Wellington Choral Society concert. (Colin Trim LRPS)

“To those who enjoy singing and would like to try a choir, or have sung at school or elsewhere and would like to get back to singing, do come along.

“All are welcome, we are a friendly group and will be pleased to see you. A free trial is available before you commit to membership.

“There is no charge for under-18 membership.”

Ms Harland said Laurence Blyth had been musical director since 2011 and was ‘valued in every respect and has a good relationship with the choir’.

She said: “Laurence has the ability to inspire the choir to give their best, resulting in a concert which is well received and applauded by the audience and an exhilarating, satisfying experience for singers.”