A HISTORIC PROFILE
In 1963 a group of singers and Sunday School children from the Methodist and Parish Churches joined together to perform a Christmas Mime with Carols, devised by Davena Hinton. It was a very successful venture and enthusiasm grew to create a permanent mixed choir. Ivy Bradley, the organist for the concert, and also a music teacher, agreed to be the founding conductor and it was agreed to call the group of singers the Brockenhurst Village Choir. The choir gave its first concert under this banner in the summer of 1964 in the Brockenhurst Methodist Church with Haydn’s Creation.
In the ten years until Ivy Bradley retired the choir’s repertoire had expanded considerably to include not just major choral works but also some Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas and very popular Christmas carol concerts. In 1973 the conductor’s baton was handed over to Jane Fish who took the choir through to 1994 with challenging works, consolidating its remit to produce excellent standards of choral singing. During this period the choir’s reputation grew enormously and concerts were eagerly awaited. A notable concert was the complex Leonard Bernstein’s Mass performed at Brockenhurst College. After twenty-one years, Jane retired and the choir appointed Geraldine McDonnell to the post of conductor. When Geraldine left in 1999 to raise a family Ian Harrison and Trevor Selby filled the gap until a more permanent conductor could be appointed.
In 2002 Paul Colman was appointed as conductor and the first concert under his wing was a programme of magnificent music to celebrate HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee year. 2002 was also a notable year for the choir when the members voted to rename it, THE BROCKENHURST CHOIR. In 2004 the choir celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
When Paul left in 2010, Miriam Newton took over and is the present conductor of the choir, continuing the tradition of expert musicianship which the choir has enjoyed since its inception.
The Brockenhurst Choir attracts over 80 voices for its annual two concerts, each performed with professional soloists and musicians. The choir has just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its formation with a workshop with the nationally acclaimed young choral conductor Will Dawes, and a performance of Handel’s oratorio ‘Israel in Egypt’.