‘Beckenham’s friendly chamber choir’
Who are we?
Many of us began our singing ‘journey’ in school or church choirs but now enjoy singing with the SLS because:
It is of smaller size than some local choirs, (we aim to be about 30 singers) giving us the opportunity to perform a different and varied repertoire (we are not going to be singing the Verdi Requiem any time soon!)
We aim to perform four concerts per year and can devote enough rehearsal time to avoid the need for us to do a great deal of ‘homework’ to get the music into our heads.
We are not required to be fluent sight-readers but are expected to be able to use our music scores to sing accurately and to note down the Director’s guidance.
We are treated as sensible musicians who are developing our musical skills and can cope with the subtleties of a good performance rather than being professional musicians.
We enjoy a laugh and a bit of fun during rehearsals and some social occasions during the season.
What do you need to know?
Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings at 7.45pm in the upstairs hall at Beckenham Methodist Church, Bromley Road, Beckenham (pictured here) for most of the year but usually with several short ‘holiday time’ breaks and a longer summer one.
How to get here: Our rehearsal venue is on several bus routes and is just a few minutes’ walk from Beckenham Junction railway station and Tramlink terminus, enabling easy access from London Victoria, Bromley, Orpington, Croydon and the surrounding area. See the locator map below. The car park in St George’s Road, a short walk from the Methodist Church, is free after 7.30pm.
Please note that although we rehearse in rooms belonging to the Beckenham Methodist Church and most of our concerts take place in the cosy interior of this fine church building with its intimate feel, we must make it clear that we are not a church choir.
Annual Subscription. The standard subscription is currently £240 per annum, and payment can be spread over three terms with the agreement of the Treasurer.
This busy, friendly choir performs three or four concerts a year in various local venues. The vast majority of SLS concerts take place at the Beckenham Methodist Church or St. George’s Church. The SLS also occasionally has an awayday and appears outside the Bromley borough.
Organised social events feature strongly in our calendar and have included parties, summer barbecues, restaurant meals, informal madrigal singing, quiz nights and country walks.
Click HERE for our rehearsal schedule.
What sort of music do we sing?
We perform from our wide-ranging repertoire (see this link to our repertoire list) which covers both secular and sacred music from the 15th century to the present. Most of our repertoire is performed in four parts (SATB) a cappella or with organ, piano or light instrumental accompaniment suited to a smaller chamber group.
THE SOUTH LONDON SINGERS perform a wide cross-section of musical works from different countries and different periods. The scope really is extensive, ranging from Britten’s “Choral Dances” from Gloriana to Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. Familiar composers such as Handel and Bach have featured alongside unjustly neglected and rarely heard composers such as Joseph Jongen and Michael Haydn.
English music has figured prominently in the choir’s programming: composers represented range from Byrd to Britten and from Thomas Arne to S.S. Wesley. But the broad sweep of our repertoire across all nationalities focuses equally on well-known pieces and many that are rarely heard. The SLS takes pride in its championship of fine pieces of music that have been overshadowed or fallen by the wayside.
The choir owns sets of some of the pieces we have performed and is willing to hire these out to other choirs. If you are interested in the possibility of hiring some of our sets of scores and would like to see what we have available, please check out this link to our Music Hire List and email our Librarian, who will be happy to contact you with details of our charges and other terms.
Click HERE to view our repertoire.
We were delighted to welcome NICHOLAS WIBBERLEY as our new Director from July 2019.
A graduate in music from Goldsmith University London where he specialised in the organ, singing, and composition, Nicholas is also Director of Music at All Saint’s Church in Orpington, a position he has held since April 2019. Prior to this he was for three years Organist and Director of Music at St John’s Church in Catford having previously held scholarships at St Laurence’s, Catford, and St George’s, Beckenham.
As a conductor Nicholas enjoys working with choirs on a wide range of repertoire and has a particular interest in European music of the 20th century. In addition to his work with various church choirs, Nicholas was also Musical Director of the Fortune Green Choir in West Hampstead, visiting conductor with the Goldsmith University Chamber Choir and Artistic Director of the St John’d Fedtival of Music.
As a solo performer, Nicholas has given recitals as both a singer and an organist all over the country, including complete song cycles by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Robert Schumann. With a particular affinity for contemporary music, Nicholas also enjoys composing and has published compositions with both Encore Publications and Firehead Editions.
In addition to his work as a professional musician, Nicholas is also an experienced funeral director and in 2018 founded his own funeral company with his wife Rachael. Nicholas’ work in the funeral company and his various musical activities all keep him very busy, but in his spare time he enjoys socialising with friends, good food, and politics.
DAVID THORNE was born and educated in Exeter. He won a scholarship to the Royal School of Church Music and read music at Bristol University. Later he was appointed Director of Music at the City of Portsmouth Boys’ School, and concurrently was Assistant Organist at the city’s Anglican Cathedral, a post he held for over twenty years. As well as accompanying most of the services, he conducted and arranged the music for a number of large-scale services.
Latterly, he worked in the music department of Portsmouth Grammar School and in 2000 became Director of Music at the city’s Catholic Cathedral and was responsible for the rebuilding of the organ there.
David is widely known for his compositions and arrangements, including ‘The Mass of St. Thomas’ and the ‘Trinity Mass’. He has also worked for the BBC on such programmes as ‘Songs of Praise’ and ‘The Daily Service’.
For more details about David Thorne’s career as both organist and composer, please visit his website at www.davidthornemusic.com..
South London Singers, Care of:
39 Balfour Road, South Norwood, London, SE25 5JY
Mary: 020 8656 2815