Reading Festival Chorus is an amateur mixed choir, first established in 1945, with a current membership of 80 singers. Our patron is John Lill CBE. We perform three to four concerts a year of sacred and secular music, ranging from early to contemporary music in varied venues in and around Reading. We perform with both professional and amateur soloists and orchestras.
The aim of the Chorus is to give the people of Reading and its surrounding communities the opportunity to learn, perform and hear varied choral music of the highest standard. Click on the image to see and hear the Chorus in March 2018.
The Chorus also appears in A Creative Place: Reading 2018/19. This highlights many of the great arts, culture and heritage events and performances in Reading over the year. This film was produced for Reading UK by BBC Berkshire and was premiered at the Reading Cultural Awards on 24 June 2019. The audio track features the Chorus from about 2:42 with video at about 3:19.
Our rehearsals, on Monday evenings, involve fun, challenge, humour and passion and we aim for a high standard of singing and performance. In addition to our formal concerts we are involved in a variety of other musical events. We have regular exchanges with our twin choir Johanneskantorei in Düsseldorf and sing carols at various venues over the Christmas period where we raise monies for charities.
We provide a choir for weddings and memorial services. If you require a choir for such an occasion, please contact Bill Ellison (see Contact Us).
We also have open evenings throughout the year and singing workshops working on our technique and musicality. We have a lively and varied social life including regular post-rehearsal pub visits, quizzes, dinners and fundraising events such as singing carols.
We warmly welcome enthusiastic singers who are reasonably proficient at reading music and are able to commit to regular attendance at rehearsals and concerts. For further information, see the Singing with us page.
GREG HALLAM - MUSIC DIRECTOR
Greg Hallam gained his bachelor degree from the Royal College of Music where he studied voice with Ashley Stafford.
He went on to study Choral Conducting with Patrick Russill and Paul Brough at the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded an MA and LRAM, both with distinction.
Greg is Musical Director of Reading Festival Chorus, Swansea Bach Choir and Bracknell Choral Society. He is tutor to the postgraduate choral conducting students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Greg is proud to have helped set-up the London Youth Choir 2012, directing their boys’ choir and training choir for four years and delivering workshops as part of their ‘Aspire’ scheme. In addition he has worked as Assistant Music Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and founded the Ulster Youth Junior Choir.
As singing teacher at Wellington College and Christchurch Cathedral School, Oxford, Greg teaches individual lessons to young singers aged 8-18. In addition, he works closely with Worcester College, Oxford; delivering regular workshops for the chapel choir, providing vocal tuition to undergraduate students and helping produce their four most recent recordings.
Recently, Greg has been working with Mahogony Opera Group as Music Director for their ‘Snappy Operas’ – teaching and conducting ten newly-commissioned 10-minute operas to children in Cornwall, Durham and Essex.
JUDITH CREIGHTON - ACCOMPANIST
Judith began learning the piano at the age of six and went on to study Music and German at the University of Southampton where she specialised in piano accompaniment, accompanying many music students for their final recitals.
She is currently the regular accompanist for Reading Festival Chorus, Twyford Singers and Tamesis Chamber Choir, and occasional accompanist for numerous other local choirs and operatic societies. Highlights include playing in the pit for West Side Story and almost mastering the piano part for Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods.’
She teaches piano at Crosfields school and helps to lead worship at Shinfield Baptist Church. Judith is also learning the flute, recently passing her Grade 5 with distinction, and plays in a local flute choir. She also practises Taekwondo and hopes one day to achieve her black belt!
PREVIOUS MUSIC DIRECTORS
1945 to 1967
1968 to 1971
1971 to 1984
1984 to 1988
1988 to 1996
1996 to 2003
2004 to 2011
2011 to 2017
|Dr Reginald Jacques
W Ewart Masser
Jonathan Grieves Smith
Jacques Harry Cohen
Andrew Haase (Guest)