Reading Festival Chorus is an amateur mixed choir first established in 1945 with a current membership of 75 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 Reading Festival 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.
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. In 2011, we provided a supporting choir for the famous quartet Blake at the Hexagon in Reading.
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 marshalling at the Reading Half Marathon and 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 Joining Us page.
Edward-Rhys Harry - Music Director
We are very fortunate in having Edward-Rhys Harry as our conductor and music director.
However it is with great sadness and not a little consternation that we are having to say goodbye to our marvellous Musical Director. Edward has been our guiding presence for 6 years and having developed us to the heights of our last concert now feels it is time to go and spread his musical wings with another choir, so our Christmas 2017 concert will be his last with Reading Festival Chorus.
Greg Hallam - Music Director appointee
Greg Hallam is Assistant Music Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and director of their Boys’ Choir, who, last year, gave the premiere of Jonathan Dove’s cycle ‘Seasons and Charms’, funded by Friday Afternoons Music. Greg 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 Swansea Bach Choir, Bracknell Choral Society and works each summer with the Ulster Youth Choir. This year, Greg directed the first ever Junior Choral course for UYC, which attracted more than 80 members. Greg is proud to have helped set-up the London Youth Choir with colleague Rachel Staunton in 2012, directing their boys’ choir and training choir for four years and delivering workshops as part of their ‘Aspire’ scheme. 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; delivering regular workshops for the chapel choir and helping produce their two most recent recordings. Greg has been working with Mahogony Opera Group as Music Director for their ‘Snappy Operas’ – teaching five newly-commissioned 10-minute operas to children in Cornwall. He is set to work on these operas again in early 2018 - this time in Durham.
Greg is delighted to have been appointed Music Director of Reading Festival Chorus and is looking forward to working with the choir from April 2018.
Judith Creighton - Accompanist
Judith started learning the piano at the age of six and studied Music and German at Southampton University, where she specialised in piano accompaniment. Since graduating she has accompanied many different choirs and theatre groups in and around Reading for rehearsals and performances.
She is currently the regular accompanist for the Twyford Singers and Tamesis Chamber Choir, as well as accompanying solo singers and instrumentalists for exams and recitals.
Judith also teaches piano, at Crosfields School and the Earley Music Centre in Reading, and Shiplake College near Henley, and plays the piano for services at Shinfield Baptist Church.
Judith is married to Phil, the editor and publisher of The Wokingham Paper, and their two children are learning the piano, violin, guitar and recorder between them! Perhaps future accompanists of Reading Festival Chorus...?
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