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Hereford Choral Society

175th anniversary season

1837 2012 A special programme of events celebrating 175 years of great music-making in Hereford

See our Gala


Hereford Choral Society John Hunt 1837–42

George Townshend Smith 1843–77

Langdon Colborne 1877–89

George Robertson Sinclair 1889–1917

Percy Hull 1918–49

Meredith Davies 1950–56

Melville Cook 1956–66

Richard Lloyd 1966–74

Roy Massey 1974–2001

Geraint Bowen from 2001

Geraint Bowen was born in London and received his early musical education as a chorister at Hampstead Parish Church under Martindale Sidwell. He was organ scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, following which he held posts as assistant organist at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin and Hereford Cathedral. From 1995 to 2001 he was organist and master of the choristers at St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire, and artistic director of the St Davids Cathedral Festival. In 2001 he took up the posts of organist and director of music at Hereford Cathedral, conductor of Hereford Choral Society and artistic director of the Hereford Three Choirs Festival. His work with the cathedral choir has included CD recordings of works by William Byrd and Herbert Howells, radio and television broadcasts, four tours of the USA and the introduction of an annual Holy Week performance of one of Bach’s Passions. The choir has also given several performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and in 2012 will complete a cycle of liturgical performances of Haydn’s last six masses. In 2010 the choir toured South Africa for the first time. At the Three Choirs Festival, he has been responsible for commissioning works by James MacMillan, John McCabe and Anthony Powers, and he has worked with some of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Performances with Hereford Choral Society have ranged from Handel to Tippett including Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and The Kingdom, commemorating respectively the 70th anniversary of the composer’s death, and the centenary of its composition in Hereford. Since 2004 a new dimension has been brought to the society’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and other works from the baroque and classical repertoire by the use of period instruments.

Ticket information


Please refer to this section before completing the booking form at the back of this booklet.

175 years ago, in 1837, Hereford Cathedral would have looked a very different place – the central screen with organ would still have been there and, while the energetic Dean John Merewether had been in post for a few years, the great restorations of the cathedral had not yet taken place and the state of its fabric was fragile, to say the least! The standard of music in the cathedral during the 1830s was no doubt variable, but it had, of course, enjoyed a brief glimpse of something more exotic, during the brief reign of Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1832–5). He no doubt opened eyes to a musical world outside the choir stalls and I like to think that this expanded vision helped to lead to the formation of our Choral Society and to presenting the people of Hereford with a larger and more catholic musical diet! Musical concerts in the cathedral itself were, at that time, viewed with some suspicion by the Chapter and one of the great developments in the past 175 years has been gradual recognition that concert hall and choir stalls – sacred and secular – are not that far apart, and that one can feed the other. The annual performances of Hereford Choral Society in the cathedral today are occasions thoroughly accepted – indeed looked forward to – by the cathedral and the partnership between our two communities is both mutually supportive and creative. I consider it a great privilege to be both Dean and President and offer the warmest congratulations to all in this anniversary year. The society has been blest with the very best of conductors and officers during those 175 years – long may it be so! Michael Tavinor Dean of Hereford

Please note that all the society’s concerts take place in Hereford Cathedral by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.

· Nave and Plinth Areas A to C are reserved seating at the prices shown on the booking form. · Seats in the choir stalls and side aisles are unreserved seating (restricted view).

· Tickets are available from:


Unreserved The Ticket Secretary (see below) Friends and Patrons of HCS (0845 46 33 109) Hereford Cathedral Shop The Outback, Church Street, Hereford

· Up to two children under 16 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. · Parties of 10 or more receive a group discount of 10% · Wheelchair space is available in areas A and B with notice, or in the side aisles without notice. · Telephone bookings must be confirmed in writing within seven working days. · Cheques should be made payable to Hereford Choral Society. · Unless booking on-line, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope. For further information please contact the Ticket Secretary, Claire Hancock 0845 46 33 124 Knapp Farmhouse Bridge Sollars Hereford HR4 7JH Hereford Choral Society Registered Charity No. 508140

1837 Rowland Hill’s government discusses the idea of carrying letters in a separate sheet which folded to become an envelope and the idea of ‘a bit of paper’ which could be affixed to a letter to flag that postage had been paid William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone patent the electrical telegraph King William IV dies from heart failure at Windsor Castle Princess Victoria of Kent ascends the throne as Queen Victoria General election results in a Whig victory General Register Office begins the practice of registering births, marriages and deaths Queen Victoria moves into Buckingham Palace, the first monarch to live there The Isambard Kingdom Brunel-designed steamship Great Western launched Euston Station, London’s first railway station, is opened Lea & Perrins begin making Worcestershire sauce AND … John Hunt founds Hereford Choral Society

Society events The Society was formed in 1837 by John Hunt, the cathedral organist, from the cathedral choir plus the addition of adult male singers, who were not members of the cathedral choir In 1853, a programme notice read, ‘It is requested that the audience will abstain from applause or censure.’ In the early 1880s, Edward Elgar played violin in the orchestra for Hereford Choral Society During his time at Plas Gwyn, not infrequently Elgar used to slip in during the Choral Society’s practices In 1901, the Society had 155 members, but more tenors and basses were required to, ‘balance properly the sopranos and altos …’ Dr H Watkins Shaw played the continuo in the Society’s performance of Handel’s Messiah in March 1950 - eight years prior to editing his definitive edition of the oratorio In the early 1970s concerts were moved to a Saturday instead of Thursday so that members could attend the afternoon orchestral rehearsal – and so began the tradition that still pertains to this day At this time the Society didn’t possess any raked staging so it was not unusual for some members of the chorus to have no sight of the conductor. It was possible for some members of the chorus to be singing from a position with no view of the conductor, having not rehearsed with the orchestra and where they could not easily be heard!

17 March Starting our celebrations

Gala Concert

7.30 pm

Verdi Requiem Benjamin Ealovega

Verdi’s colossal Requiem, described by many as his greatest opera, opens our special celebrations. It is a powerful evocation of our responses to death, from its hushed opening, through the shattering depiction of the terror of judgement day in the famous Dies irae, to the many sublime moments in the latter movements. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a live performance of this stunning work. With world-class soloists and the incomparable Philharmonia Orchestra and one the most dramatic choral works ever written, this is set to be an evening no-one will ever forget.


Claire Seaton


Jeanette Ager


Wynne Evans


David Stout


Geraint Bowen

Tickets Nave A / Plinth A Nave B / Plinth B Nave C / Plinth C Unreserved Under 16s

£30 £25 £20 £12 2 free per adult

To book Kindly sponsored by Mr Clive Richards OBE DL

1 2 Booking form on the rear cover 3 0845 46 33 124

1 July 3.30 pm

Evensong Commemorating 175 years of great music-making in Hereford, members of Hereford Choral Society will sing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus during this service, to which all are welcome. Please join us on this special occasion.

21–28 July View the exhibition about our 175 years of great music-making in Hereford. Come and see the display in the Hereford Three Choirs Festival Club.

6 October A chance for members and friends old and new to be together and recall what Hereford Choral Society has meant to everyone. For more information or to book places, please call 0845 46 33 109

Gala Dinner Munstone House Hereford HR1 3AH 7.30 pm for 8.00 pm

17 November Choral Classics 7.30 pm

A spectacular evening of choral favourites that have delighted audiences over the last 175 years

Standard ticket pricing. 1 2 Booking form on the rear cover 3 0845 46 33 124 Please note that the composers shown are not necessarily indicative of the works to be performed

8 December Bringing to an end our year of special celebrations with … the cathedral filled with atmospheric candlelight … the Hereford sky filled with spectacular fireworks …

And the glory, the glory of … Handel’s

MESSIAH Standard ticket pricing

by candlelight

1 2 Booking form on the rear cover 3 0845 46 33 124

Starting at 7.00 pm to be followed by the Firework Spectacular

Collectable souvenirs Made in Staffordshire bone china, only 175 examples of each commemorative item has been made to mark Hereford Choral Society’s special anniversary. Every item is individually numbered to signify its uniqueness.

Mug £8 Trinket box £7 Plate £5 Full set £17 ORDER FORM Please send me:

Name: Quantity


Item cost £8

Trinket box




Full set



£3 Total

Total cost

Delivery address:

Postcode: Tel:

Please post this order with a cheque for the total amount made payable to Hereford Choral Society, to: Mrs K Roberts, Wychford End, Cradley, Malvern WR13 5NF

Membership Would you like to perform in the wonderful setting of Hereford Cathedral?

Friends and Patrons Scheme

Hereford Choral Society rehearsals are held every week on Monday evenings between September and March, normally in the Zimmerman Building of Hereford Cathedral School. New members are welcome subject to passing a simple voice test. Please contact Dora Parry, Membership Secretary, on 0845 46 33 104, or email if you wish to find out more about joining the society or attending a rehearsal. Why not attend our open rehearsal? It is usually held on the third Monday in September; please contact Dora Parry for details and to reserve a place.

Cathedral rehearsal

Photo: Dr Derek Foxton

Why not become a Friend or Patron?

Patron Friend ÂŁ75 pa ÂŁ25 pa

Benefits: Priority booking for up to two tickets per concert 10% discount on all tickets Advance booking before general ticket sales begin on 1 October Free concert programmes Your name printed in the programmes Your name on the society website Pre-concert refreshments Occasional social events

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Your ticket sales will be managed through the Friends and Patrons Secretary. If you would like to know more about becoming a Friend or Patron please call 0845 46 33 109 or visit

Gala Concert 17 March 2012: Verdi Requiem

Booking form Please refer to the booking information on page 3 of this booklet before completing the booking form. Tickets for the November and December concerts go on general sale on 1 October 2012. Friends and Patrons receive priority booking before this date.

Ticket Nave A (£30)


Total Sold out

Nave B (£25)

Sold out

Nave C (£20)

Sold out

Plinth A (£30)

Sold out

Plinth B (£25)

Sold out

Plinth C (£20)

Sold out

Unreserved (£12) Children (under 16)

(2 free per adult)

17 November 2012: Choral Classics Ticket Nave A (£22) Nave B (£18) Nave C (£14) Plinth A (£22) Plinth B (£18) Plinth C (£14) Unreserved (£10)


Children (under 16)


(2 free per adult)

8 December 2012: Handel Messiah Ticket Nave A (£22) Nave B (£18) Nave C (£14) Plinth A (£22) Plinth B (£18) Plinth C (£14) Unreserved (£10)

Post to: Ticket Secretary Knapp Farmhouse Bridge Sollars Hereford HR4 7JH 0845 46 33 124

Children (under 16)

Name: Address:

Town: Postcode:


Email: Posting details overleaf

Total to pay:


General ticket sales from 1 October 2011



(2 free per adult)

Hereford Choral Society  

175th Anniversary year programme