Lancaster Singers’ two December Carol Concerts in the Ashton Memorial have long been one of the highlights of the choir’s annual season, and a joyful highlight of Lancaster’s Christmas festivities. For Christmas 2017 however a group drawn from the choir embarked on a new venture: on the afternoon of 21 December we were the guests of Moorside Care Home, Wyresdale Road, where for an hour or so we entertained staff and residents with a programme of well-known and well-loved (as well as a few less familiar) carols.
From start to finish the carollers were made to feel welcome, and it was thrilling for us to experience the response that our singing of Christmas favourites evoked in the audience gathered in the Care Home lounge. Many of the residents responded positively to familiar words and music, even when through age or infirmity they were unable to sing or read the words. We felt that we helped them connect with happy Christmas experiences they had enjoyed in the past. The success of this new initiative encourages the Singers to repeat it in 2018, and possibly on a somewhat larger scale, in two or three Care Homes rather than just one. And why only carols, why only at Christmas? Bringing good music to as wide an audience as possible is a vital part of our mission as a Charity – as well as a thoroughly enjoyable experience for the music-makers involved.
Lancaster Singers rehearse every week in the Anglican Chapel at Lancaster University, where we’re extremely grateful to have the use of the beautiful grand piano. This is on loan to the Chaplaincy from its owner, Alice Rosser, who is pleased the piano is in regular use. Unhappily, the constant shifting of the piano took its toll and one of the castors became loose. This meant the piano couldn’t be moved at all.
To rectify this situation, Lancaster Singers is delighted to have procured and donated a specially made ‘A’ frame. This lifts the piano off the floor and gives it a whole new set of wheels! The frame was fitted without a hitch on 2nd June 2016 and was an immediate and huge improvement. The piano may now be moved easily by one person and we hope it will continue to give much pleasure for many years to come.
Bill and Eric, from Promenade Music in Morecambe, are pictured fitting the frame, followed by the finished job.
Lancaster Singers are performing the Hummel Mass in B flat on Saturday November 21st 2015,
8:00pm at Lancaster Cathedral.
Duncan Lloyd , Director of Lancaster Singers and Marco Fanti, LS Principal Guest Conductor are
leading a Come and Sing day at Christ Church, Wyresdale Road, Lancaster, LA1 3EA, to explore
the Hummel Mass in B flat plus Lloyd´s arrangement of a folk song and a short piece by Morten
Come and Sing
Hummel Mass in B flat
Director Lancaster Singers
LS Principal Guest Conductor
As of 14th June 2015, over £1000 has been raised for the Nepal earthquake appeal .
Donations are still welcome by clicking on the link below the May 18th news item.
Lancaster Singers perform Allegri’s Miserere for the Nepal earthquake appeal 11th May 2015
Choir member Katharine Howell asked if anyone was prepared to take part in a recording of Allegri’s Miserere to raise funds for the DEC Nepal earthquake appeal. There was a good response and members of Lancaster Singers assembled in St Peter’s Cathedral on May 11th to make a recording to sell for the appeal. Katharine says:
This time last year I was living in the lowlands of Nepal, by day measuring rice leaves for my Master's fieldwork and by night eating and dancing with the wonderful community I was living in. Nepal is a special place for me: it's where my parents met, as volunteers in the eighties, it's where we lived for part of my childhood and a place I keep coming up with research-based excuses to visit. Already a desperately poor country, Nepal has been devastated by the earthquake which hit it on 25th April, and its recovery will take a lot of time and support.
The wonderful choir I sing with, Lancaster Singers, have kindly agreed to record our rendition of Allegri's beautiful Miserere as a charity single in aid of the DEC Nepal Earthquake Appeal. It will be available soon for you to download in exchange for a donation. In the meantime, please feel free to give generously to the appeal, and in the words of my friends in Nepal (fortunately all safe): 'pray for Nepal' - and sing too!
The link, if you want to donate is:
As part of Lancaster University’s 50 Anniversary celebrations, Lancaster Singers, the Lancaster University Music Society and the Haffner Orchestra are performing in a concert for Comic Relief in the Great Hall on March 21st at 7.30pm. The conductor is the brilliant musical comedian, Rainer Hersch (an alumnus) who has brought hilarity to the world of classical music all over the globe. Expect a blend of stand-up comedy, witty orchestral arrangements and audience favourites within this Comic Relief Concert - and some very red noses of course!
For more details, go to
Lancaster Singers are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Musical Director, Duncan Lloyd, whose biography is below.
Duncan Lloyd began his musical career as a chorister at Southwell Minster under the tutelage of Kenneth Beard. As a violinist, he played with the internationally renowned Nottingham Orchestra directed by Christopher Adey and read Music at Manchester University. He has a PGCE from Durham, a Diploma in Education Management from Sheffield Hallam and his NPQH.
Duncan has thirty years teaching experience, most recently as Director of Music at The Minster School Southwell. He co-wrote the School’s successful bid for Specialist Music and Humanities status and ran the very successful Chorister Outreach Programme. During his sixteen years as a Tenor Lay Clerk, he founded The Ensemble of Southwell and the Djanogly Community Orchestra and Jazz Band, typeset the New Southwell Psalter and, with Simon Bell, founded The Minster Girls’ Choir. He composes and arranges and has recently had works performed by musical groups in Nottinghamshire and North Yorkshire.
Duncan has extensive experience as a conductor of both choral and orchestral groups and has led extremely successful concert tours throughout Europe. He played viola in the Pollyanna Quartet and has played both viola and violin in many leading ensembles in Nottinghamshire.
Duncan and his family relocated to North Yorkshire in August 2014 and he is very much looking forward to taking up his new role with the Lancaster Singers in 2015. He continues to work as a freelance instrumental and vocal teacher and has been acting Music Director at Kendal Parish Church since December 2014.
This apology concerning the Nov 15th concert was printed in the Westmoreland Gazette on Nov 20th and appeared as an item on the Radio 4 ‘News Quiz’ on Friday Dec 5th 2014.
‘The Westmoreland Gazette apologises to the Haffner Orchestra and Lancaster Singers for the wrong advert placed in last week’s paper. There were a number of errors, including the date of the concert, the soloist and the works being performed. These errors were not the fault of the orchestra or choir. We apologise unreservedly, and hope that the concert was a success in spite of these problems.’
Acting Musical Director of Lancaster Singers awarded prestigious prize.
Mavis Fletcher, who has been acting director of Lancaster Singers for the past 3 seasons, has been given a Special Commendation ‘For her outstanding contribution to music in the community’ as part of the Making Music Lady Hilary Groves Prize 2014.
The Lady Hilary Groves prize is awarded each year by Making Music, which is the national charity which looks after all kinds of amateur musical activity –orchestras, bands, groups as well as choirs. They have 3,000 plus members. Lancaster Singers is a member of Making Music.
This year there were 42 nominations for the prize and some were of such an exceptional calibre that for the first time ever the Making Music committee decided to award 3 additional commendation awards as well as the main prize, one of which was to Mavis.
The presentation was made on October 11th at the Making Music conference.
The award recognised Mavis’ work with music-making in the NW generally and in particular with Lancaster Singers, the Children’s NW Honour Choir and Bob Chilcott (who had sent a lovely letter in support, which was read out).
Congratulations to Mavis from the Lancaster Singers!
Marco Fanti, principal guest conductor of Lancaster Singers, is leading a Come and Sing Day on Saturday October 18th 2014 in the Anglican Chapel at Lancaster University, to explore
Haydn’s Paukenmesse and Brahm’s Nänie and Schicksalslied
It is with great regret that Lancaster Singers have accepted the resignation of our musical director Marco Fanti, due to his ill health. He will complete the 2013-2014 season, culminating in the concerts in June. The co-director, Mavis Fletcher, will then lead the choir until a new musical director is appointed.
CONCERT ON MARCH 22ND 2014 CELEBRATES 40 YEARS’ ASSOCIATION BETWEEN IAN HARE AND LANCASTER SINGER
The following is an interview with the first Musical Director of Lancaster Singers, Ian Hare.
‘Although the first record I have of a concert involving the Lancaster Singers dates from 1975, the idea of forming a choir was conceived soon after my arrival as a Lecturer in Music at the University in September 1974. A meeting with Dr. Eric Sharpe, of the Department of Religious Studies, and his Swedish wife Birgitta led to my being introduced to a small group of singers based at St. Paul's, Scotforth, and we went on from there. Concerts and services took place mainly in Lancaster and Morecambe, with occasional excursions to Cartmel Priory, Carlisle Cathedral and the Lune valley. Among the highlights were several events in St. Peter's Cathedral, notably a performance of the Berlioz Te Deum, directed by our President and my successor, Prof. Denis McCaldin, for which I played the organ.
It is gratifying to find that the Lancaster Singers are still going strong under their third musical director, Marco Fanti, who is ably assisted by Mavis Fletcher. This concert will be a celebration both of our long association and also of the fine organ in the Great Hall, which has added an important dimension to music making there, since its installation in 1979. I hope that both will continue to enrich Lancaster's cultural life for many years to come.’
6th March 2014
A new study by Oxford Brookes University has found that singing in a choir can boost your mental health, reports the Daily Telegraph . Researchers carried out an online survey of 3745 people who sang in choirs, sang alone, or played team sports. All three activities yielded high levels of psychological wellbeing, but choristers stood out as experiencing the greatest benefit. Nick Stewart, who led the study, said: “These finding suggest that feeling part of a cohesive social group can add to the experience of using your voice to make music.” The feel-good effects of singing have long been recognised, and there is growing evidence that it can have a positive impact on a range of physical and psychological conditions.
Looking ahead to next year, Marco Fanti will be conducting a ‘Come and Sing Day’ on Saturday February 22nd to study the Dvorak’s Mass in D, which Lancaster Singers will be performing on March 22nd 2014 in the Great Hall, Lancaster University.
The ‘Come and Sing Day’ will be held in the Chaplaincy Centre at Lancaster University from 11am to 3.45pm. It is open to any interested singers, at a cost of £15. These events are very enjoyable and popular, so sign up as soon as possible!
For more details, click on this link.
Thoughts on the Verdi concert on Saturday November 23rd 2013 from members of Lancaster Singers:
‘I think the Verdi Requiem sounded marvellous, and Marco did such a magnificent job at keeping us in line and bringing the best out of the piece. He brought it to life with such emotion and dramatic contrasts. I thoroughly enjoyed singing it; it was a treat for me, especially singing with the fantastic orchestra and soloists. I will never forget it.’
Helen Sayers (soprano)
"I was fortunate to be sitting on the back row of the main stage from where I had a superb panoramic view of the magnificent assembly of chorus, orchestra, soloists and conductor, backed by the audience. As the trumpets rang out from the far heights of the gallery in the "Dies Irae", followed by the thunderous majesty of the orchestra and chorus the most enormous beam spread across my face! It was just thrilling to be a part of such drama!"
John Falkingham (tenor)
"We had an amazing experience at the Verdi Requiem! What a great privilege to be part of such a powerful and professional concert. It was, in our opinion, world class. A day to remember and treasure."
Angela Rubio (soprano) and Simon Halliday (tenor)
We’re now on the countdown to our Verdi Concert next Saturday in Bolton. Final rehearsals this week and there is a great sense of excitement building up. If you haven’t already booked tickets, then there will be some for sale on the door and, of course, you can contact any of the three choirs. Coaches have been organised from Lancaster and Preston – see the side bar for details – and there are still a few seats available. £25 combined concert/coach ticket (no concessions).
We hope we see you on Saturday – 7.30 pm at the Victoria Hall in Bolton – this will be a night to remember!
The dream was to perform the Verdi Requiem in Verdi’s 200th anniversary year and to make it especially memorable by combining three choirs and a professional orchestra and soloists.
For those unfamiliar with the costs of such a project the sum is eye-watering and the logistics scary!
Imagine combining three choir committees for a start……..
BUT on November 23rd in the Victoria Hall, Bolton 2013 the dream becomes a reality.
Based in Bologna MARCO FANTI – young, gifted and dynamic is the conductor of two of the participating choirs, Lancaster Singers and Preston Cecilian Choral Society and has connections with the third choir, Prestbury Choral Society.
All three choirs are working with chorus masters and conductors in preparation and on October 19th we met for a joint rehearsal day with Marco.
The atmosphere was electric! The sound is already magnificent and under Marco’s compelling direction it became even more dramatic and thrilling. It was an unforgettable day which gave us all such a buzz of anticipation for the concert when with the orchestra it will be even more exciting.
The Lancashire Sinfonietta has worked with Marco Fanti before and the players are in turn interested and eager to join in this unique experience of combining forces.
The soloists Laurie Ashworth, Janet Shell, John Upperton and Stephen Holloway are experienced in opera and concert work and come with outstanding reviews so what a treat it will be.
A group of supporters from Bologna is coming over especially to hear the concert. It is unlikely ever to happen again so please don’t miss it!
Verdi Requiem 23rd November 2013.
Click here for information on our soloists and the orchestra.
Sunday June 16th 7.30pm
Lancaster Singers are proud to present a concert of music inspired by the East; Japanese music, both traditional and modern, and excerpts from the Mikado. Marco Fanti, our dynamic Italian Director, and Mavis Fletcher, Associate Director and experienced Choral Director in her own right, feature the choir in Furusato-Songs of the Japanese Homeland-with arrangements by Bob Chilcott (of Kings Singers fame) and Rikuya Terashima, the latter being the U.K. première.
Ian Tate provides solo piano pieces by Toru Takemitsu and Tan Dun. The first half of the concert includes the rousing Three Hungarian Folk songs by Matyas Seiber which are great fun. The concert ends with well known excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado.
Mavis Fletcher writes 'it has been an exciting challenge to prepare and learn to sing in Japanese these Terashima settings of lovely Japanese songs. The composer has given us great help and is very excited about their first performance in the UK.'
Tickets £10, including strawberries and cream and lemonade pressé, may be obtained from the Ashton Memorial (01524 33318), online at www.lancastersingers.org, by phone 01524 68481 or on the door (though space in the Memorial is limited so pre-booking is advisable.
Over the years Lancaster Singers have sung in many languages as well as English. Works in French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and, of course, Latin, have all featured regularly over the years.
But this season has taken us one step further on our linguistic journey – into Japanese! With magnificent assistance from Mrs Yoshiko Rowe, the boss of one of the Singers, some beautiful Japanese folk songs have been transcribed into Roman text to enable us to sing them. We are working on our pronunciation and Mavis Fletcher, our Associate Director, has burned much midnight oil producing copies we can sing from.
The seven short songs complement the Japanese theme of our next concerts in Bowness on the 15th June and the Ashton Memorial in Lancaster on the 16th June. The programme will also include five more Japanese songs arranged by the internationally-renowned and LS friend, Bob Chilcott.
By way of counterpoint we will also be singing some Hungarian folk-songs (translated into English), before returning, in a somewhat lighter vein, to the Japanese theme by performing some extracts from the Mikado by the incomparable Gilbert and Sullivan.
A programme with a difference – and we do hope you can join us in June!
Lancaster Singers’ PresidentDenis McCaldinhas been moonlighting with the Haydn Society of Great Britain. Together they have just issued a 2CD set on the Divine Art label (dda21221) of neglected chamber works from the first and last decades of the composer’s life. The eightNotturni(1790) are scored for flute, oboe, two clarinets, two horns, two violas & continuo, and featured in his London Salomon concerts. These delightful three 3-movement divertimenti are partnered with six youthfulScherzandiwhich rank alongside Haydn’s earliest Esterhazy symphonies.
The Haydn Society promotes a wider knowledge and understanding of Haydn’s musicand offers young professional musicians the opportunity to develop their skills in aspects of18th- century performance practice through recording and performance. Further details, including price concessions for ISM members, can be obtained via www.haydnsocietyofgb.comor by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The venue for our next concert on Saturday 23rd March 2013 has moved to The Priory Church, Lancaster.
This is due to circumstances beyond our control and we hope this will not unduly inconvenience you.
The ‘Advent Candle’ a new carol by Bob Chilcott – has been specially commissioned by Lancaster Singers and several other choirs in the North West. The choirs have exclusive rights to perform it this year and we will be including this lovely new piece in our Christmas concerts.
Our performances will be on December 18th and 21st at the Ashton Memorial, Williamson Park, Lancaster, starting at 7.30 pm.
Following extensive auditions, we are delighted to announce the appointment of our new accompanists - Ian Tate, from Stockport, and Christopher Brayne, from Kendal. Sharing the accompanist’s role will afford the Singers great flexibility, and the excellent musicianship and skills of Ian (mainly piano) and Chris (mainly organ) will complement each other superbly. Simon Brett has also agreed to accompany us if the need should arise.
Everyone in the Lancaster Singers extends a very warm welcome to Ian, Chris and Simon. We look forward to some rewarding and satisfying music-making!
Advance Notice of a Verdi Requiem ‘Sing Day’and performance – Saturday 9th March 2013.
The Clonter Farm Music Trust are inviting singers to a Sing Day in Congleton to practice and then perform the Verdi Requiem.
Lancaster Singers announce the soloists and orchestra lined up for their three-choir Verdi Requiem concert next year!