Lancaster Singers Sing Together At Last!
On 1st June 2021 Lancaster Singers met for the first time in 448 days to sing together in person. The rehearsal was in the playground of Bowerham Primary School. This was a long-awaited and joyful event which was evident from the smiles on members’ faces as they sang. The pandemic has prevented the choir from singing together in person but they have met almost weekly on Zoom to learn and rehearse and keep in touch with one another.
Throughout the past year, the Director of Music, Duncan Lloyd directed the Zoom singing and has created rehearsal tracks to help members learn their parts. The Chair, Chris Haughton organised the sessions, as well as social events
The singers had not heard each other sing since March 2020 and it was wonderful to hear their voices joining together. They were accompanied on piano by Ian Tate. The weather couldn’t have been better and there was a lovely background of bird song in the evening sunshine.
A small committee had taken great care to ensure all the Covid security guidelines were observed and although this meant that singers had to be seated appropriately distanced and had to avoid singing loudly, it didn’t take anything away from the enjoyment. The Director of Music, Duncan Lloyd was unable to attend so members of the choir stepped up to the podium to conduct familiar pieces that were mostly already known to the choir.
It is as yet uncertain when the Lancaster Singers will be able to meet in person indoors but at least this gave us one opportunity to sing together.
To see the photo album: > CLICK HERE <
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|We are sorry to report the death of former Lancaster Singer Jean Wangermann who passed away peacefully on the 3rd December 2020. Jean had not been well since last Christmas and spent several weeks in hospital before moving to Laurel Bank just before the start of [Covid] lockdown. She developed pneumonia and was admitted to hospital for the last few days.
Many of us will remember Jean’s enthusiasm for the choir as an alto and, of course, an extremely energetic committee member. Following her retirement as a Singer, she was a regular and ardent support of the choir at our concerts.
Lancaster Singers express its sadness and sends condolences to Jean’s family.
Chair, Lancaster Singers
Rehearsals are also postponed until after Summer
For all singers, whether currently a member of Lancaster Singers or not, our director Duncan Lloyd has made available some new warm-up videos which should be useful to keep us all going! Here's where you will find them:
It is with shock and great sadness that we report the sudden and unexpected death of Lancaster Singers’ tenor and Choir Vice Chairman, John Falkingham.
John collapsed and died, we understand, late on Friday 1st February 2019 while on holiday in the Caribbean with Liz, his wife.
John, the former Head of Garstang High School, was an accomplished musician and had been a stalwart member of Lancaster Singers for many years. He was closely involved back-stage in the running of the choir as well, of course, as a Singer. Last November, he was largely responsible for 18 months’ worth of LS involvement which led to the hugely successful Armistice Concert of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man in Lancaster Priory. He will be missed grievously.
Lancaster Singers would like to extend its deep sympathy and condolences to Liz and family.
Chair, Lancaster Singers
|We had another successful choir walk this November, on a bright sunny day in Elterwater, raising £80 for choir funds!
Lancaster Singers present a Choral Voice Workshop focussing on Mozart’s Requiem Mass to be conducted by eminent, professional soloist and voice-coach
Christopher Steele. Saturday 7th July 2018 9.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. The Baptist Church | Nelson Street | Lancaster | LA1 1PT
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.
We were delighted to be invited to join in the 2017 Lancaster Music Festival at the Storey Institute. We performed on Sunday afternoon to a modest but highly appreciative audience. Restricted by the performance space meant we were only about a third of the total choir but the blend and sound quality was excellent. We performed, under the baton of our Director, Duncan Lloyd, an eclectic range of songs from our recent repertoire. This included participation from some of the audience who produced an ethereal accompaniment using the rims of tuned wine-glasses. The choir was fortunate to be accompanied on the piano by local virtuoso Andy Plowman while Monty McMorrow and Martha Lloyd (aged 9) both sang beautiful solos. Martha’s rendition of the Vicar of Dibley theme tune was received very well indeed. The concert ended in an uplifting medley of numbers from West Side Story with an exciting full-throated and emotional finale.
This was our first appearance in the amazingly successful Lancaster Music Festival which is fast attracting regional, national and even international acts. We hope it won’t be the last and we extend our thanks to Russell and his staff at The Storey who facilitated the event.
All Members, FoLS, LS + families and friends welcome. We’ll be starting from The Britannia Inn, Elterwater, Langdale, at 12 o’ clock sharp and completing a 6½ mile loop taking in rivers, quarries, woods, bridges, caves, waterfalls – oh, and cake at Chesters. Should be back at The Britannia around 4-ish.
A chance to get together to socialise, enjoy the Cumbrian scenery and eat cake – what’s not to like!
A group of 15 or so (including Daisy the dog!) gathered in Arnside on the May Day bank holiday for the purpose of climbing Arnside Knott – I know – not exactly Mount Everest but we weren’t going for records just to enjoy some exercise and raise some funds for the Choir Orchestra fund.
The adventurers set off!
Fortified by tea/coffee and cake, we set off along the edge of the Kent Estuary to be greeted with one of the sights of Arnside – the Arnside Bore came in just as we were walking along – an unexpected treat for those who had not seen it before – and who were amazed by the legendary speed with which the water came in.
Leaving the Estuary, we walked up through the woods to come out just below the top of the Knott – a quick – if breath-taking – step and we had conquered all 160 metres to be treated with the tremendous views that are seen from the top. Unfortunately, although it was a glorious day, weather-wise, it was hazy – so although we could see the distant fells we could not make them out very clearly. It didn’t diminish the enjoyment though!
Enjoying the view
Back down through the woods for more tea, cake and flapjack – a great walk – lots of chat and fun – a chance to get to know one another a bit more – £55 raised for choir funds – but any calories lost in walking up the Knott were more than fully replaced by the cake eaten!
Duncan Lloyd , Director of Lancaster Singers and Marco Fanti, LS Principal Guest Conductor are
Come and Sing
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.
If you wish to purchase a CD of the recording of Allegri’s Miserere, or buy it from iTunes, contact Katharine Howell on firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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!
Thoughts on the Verdi concert on Saturday November 23rd 2013 from members of Lancaster Singers:
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.
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.
This prestigious award was made at the final of the competition in Edinburgh by renowned composers James MacMillan, Bob Chilcott & Simon Woods Ch. Exec. of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
The Lancaster Singers are proud to have included Hermione’s composition in their annual Carol Concerts programme on Tues 14th & Frid 17th December but additionally delighted that it was also sung by the BBC Singers and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 20th Dec – on the ‘Carol a Day’ series and published in the new Carols for Choirs – 50th Anniversary Edition (OUP).
Marco Fanti, 34, has taken the post of director and conductor of the historic Preston Cecilian Choral Society.
The only sticking point is that it comes with a 1,800 round trip from his hometown of Bologna, where he lives with his wife Cristina.
It costs the Italian-born musician approximately £100 a week and takes seven hours, two train journeys, a cross-continent flight and a car ride just to get to weekly rehearsals every Monday night at St Augustine's Primary School in Avenham.
Despite spending most of his pay for the part-time post on the long-distance commute, he says he is loving the pace of his new job because the classical music scene in Preston is more vibrant than in his hometown.
He said: "For me the travel is a pleasure. I wouldn't want to do it forever but for now I am enjoying it. I get to listen to music, read and things like that.
"I am happy to do it just to be here. The opportunities for me here are very good. There aren't many opportunities in Italy, especially in choral music. Here people see music as important for life and the scene is very exciting and well organised with lots of events and concerts."
Mr Fanti, who is also musical director of Lancaster Singers, has conducted the Romanian State Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica del Lario and the Coro and Orchestra Athena. He is also a professor of music at the University of Bologna and teaches literature at public high school.
He plans to move to Preston if he can find full-time work as a teacher.
John Bird, media officer for the Preston Cecilians', said the appointment represented one of the most "exciting" periods in the choir's 83-year history.
He said: "It is great news for us. We've never had an Italian conductor before and he is certainly very vibrant, emotive and lively. He's breathing new life into the choir and hopefully will help us branch out and attract new people.
"It must be a tough commute though. It is a very big undertaking for him."