Handel's Messiah

We are delighted that for our Autumn 2021 programme we will be singing Handel's Messiah as we return to physical rehearsals after 18 months of lockdown. We are planning to perform the work, a perennial favourite of the choral repertoire, at All Saints Church, West Dulwich at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday evening, November 27th. 

For our Music Director Will Vann, it will be his first opportunity to conduct the choir in person after guiding us through a whole series of podcasts and Zoom rehearsals since the start of the pandemic. We will be delighted to have the chance not only to benefit from his enthusiasm for the work, but also of course to hear other voices singing around us. Zoom has been a great way of keeping the choir in touch with one another over recent months, but is no substitute for the real thing. 

Because of uncertainty over how Covid regulations may evolve, we are moving our weekly rehearsals to St. Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue, just round the  corner from our previous venue at JAGS. As before, they will take place weekly on Monday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., including a 15-minute break midway through.  The first rehearsal will be on Sept. 6th. 

We very much welcome new members in all voice parts to the choir, and invite you to contact us on 
membershipdcs@gmail.com for more details. New members are welcome to come along to rehearsals and try out the choir, and will be invited to take a short audition after two or three weeks to establish singing range. Our membership secretaries Jane & Michael Palmer will be happy to provide further information by email.


Dulwich Choral Society is a thriving friendly local choir with about 100 members which rehearses on Monday evenings during term time from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Our new venue, starting in September 2021, will be St. Barnabas Church, Calton Avenue, Dulwich Village. 

Our members are drawn from across the entire local area including Dulwich, Herne Hill, West Norwood, Crystal Palace and Brixton, as well as further afield. While we are an auditioned choir with high standards, the ability to read music and sing in tune are the two main requirements and everything else can be picked up in rehearsal. We welcome new members, and our membership secretaries Jane and Michael Palmer can be contacted at any time on membershipdcs@gmail.com.

The choir, which was founded in 1944, performs at least three concerts a year. These include two with professional orchestras and top-class soloists, typically in late autumn and early spring, and a third with a lighter programme in the summer. We also hold an Xmas music and carol concert, typically with a local primary or junior school, and also at least one Come & Sing event a year on a weekend when non-members are invited to rehearse and perform music with the choir in an informal and sociable setting. We welcome the opportunity to sing additionally at local festivals and similar events. 

Our most recent concert was a performance of Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Benjamin Britten's Canticle II `Abraham and Isaac' and Jubilate in C, Janacek's Otcenas (Our Father) and Vaugh Williams's Let All the World. It took place at All Saints, West Dulwich on March 14, 2020 and was the final concert under the baton of our former Music Director Aidan Oliver, who has left us after 14 highly successful years to pursue his responsibilities at Glyndebourne and the Edinburgh International Festival. He has been replaced by our new Music Director William Vann, who is the founder and Artistic Director of the London English Song Festival and Director of Music at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. 

Prior to our Bernstein concert, our previous event was `An Evening With Bach,' featuring his Magnificat in D and Ascension Oratorio, at All Saints in November 2019. In the 2018-19 season we performed an ambitious programme encompassing Haydn's Mass in Time of War and Vaughan Williams's Toward the Unknown Region at JAGS's Vaughan Williams Auditorium in November 2018, followed by Mendelssohn's Elijah at Cadogan Hall in April 2019, as well as Christmas and summer concerts. In addition to performing in the Dulwich area, the choir regularly appears more widely in central London and abroad, and a choir tour to Italy's Amalfi coast took place in October 2018.


Since 1998 the choir has undertaken tours to Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Germany and Estonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina; in 2014 the choir continued this tradition with a four day visit to Portugal, performing in Sintra and Lisbon, while in 2016 our singers visited Spain, focusing on the area around Madrid. The 2018 tour took us to Sorrento, Salerno and Ravello. Closer to home the choir performs in several of the beautiful churches in and around Dulwich, and enjoys a strong local following. If you would like to support the choir, you can find details of our Friends and Patrons scheme here.

Other major recent concerts have included Handel's Samson at All Saints West Dulwich in Spring 2018, Beethoven’s Mass in C at All Saints, Dulwich in December 2017, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at Cadogan Hall in March 2017, Haydn’s Creation in Dulwich in October 2016 and the world premier of Jonathan Dove’s Arion and the Dolphin in the presence of the composer in March 2016. The choir has also recently performed both Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in the beautiful surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich.

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