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About Eltham Choral Society

Registered Charity No 1023904
President: Sir Willard White
Vice Presidents: Clive Efford MP, Nicholas Jenkins

Read on for our history or click to find out about
some of the recent works we've performed and tours undertaken
or see our statutory information

Facts and History

Eltham Choral Society was founded about 100 years ago, the precise date is not known, though a performance of Haydn's Creation was reviewed in 1908. Over the years, it has established itself as a choir with a wide ranging repertoire. It is independent, affiliated to Making Music, is a registered charity, and is supported by members' subsciptions. A mixed choir of about 90 voices, it admits singers without formal audition, though occasional voice appraisals are held. Bursaries are available for two young singers; currently the age range is from 18 to 70 plus. The choir is directed by Max Barley

Past directors have included Peter Asprey, Thomas Wilson, Nicholas Jenkins and Miriam Coe. Rehearsals, with Max Barley and Andrew Lenon, rehearsal accompanist, are held at Eltham United Reformed Church, 1 Court Road, Eltham, SE9 5AD on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 (normally during academic term time). A full schedule of rehearsals and other activities can be found on our members' page diary.

Eltham Choral Society, their then conductor: Nicholas Jenkins (right), Accompanist: Chris Eastwood (left), together with Bob Chilcott (centre). The concert on 29th March, 2008 in which the world première of Bob's work, "Aesop's Fables", commissioned by Eltham Choral Society to mark their centenary year, was performed.
photograph by Brian Morris

Concerts are usually given locally three or four times a year, with orchestra and/or piano or organ accompaniment, with professional soloists for major choral works. Additionally, by invitation,the choir gives concerts in country churches. In April 2000, in Eastling, near Faversham, the choir gave a preview performance of Edmund Jolliffe's commission for the choir, Missa cum Jubilo, prior to its premier at Holy Trinity Church, Eltham. Foreign tours have resulted in concerts in Chartres and Paris, in Belgium, Amsterdam and more recently in the Cathedrals of Barcelona and Girona and in Florence, Montecatini, Normandy, Koblenz and Andernach and most recently, in 2014, in Belgium with concerts in Brussells and Bruges and, en-route, an anthem at the Menim Gate, Ypres.

John Rutter, CBE presents the competion winner, Tom Bridges, (his work: Qui Autem Sperant) and runners up Sarah Mees (her work Always Race Ahead) and Murray Ashdown (his work: Citius, Altius, Fortius) at Eltham Choral Society's concert, Saturday, 30th June 2012. John is presented with a lithograph of Westminster Abbey by local artist George Fanshawe as a token of ECS' appreciation.
photograph by Mark Wall of SEnine Limited

Recent joint ventures with Blackheath Choir have included Tippett's A Child Of Our Time , Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, a concert performance of Verdi's Nabucco, Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony and Handel's Israel in Egypt. In 2005, ECS participated,with a number of other choral societies, in the joint commission of The Kestrel Road by Peter Maxwell Davies and the Society commissioned a work by Bob Chilcott for performance in 2008 as part of the celebration of 100 years since that first-known review in 1908. Recently, the choir commissioned a new work from composer Gareth Treseder. A War Cantata called In Flanders Fields, it's World Première was held in March 2017. in the presence of the composer, in commemoration of the 1914-18 world war.

In March 2014 a joint venture with Blackheath Halls Chorus and Orchestra, with the Choir of J.A.G.S. and Trinity Laban Singers resulted in performances of Mendelssohn's Elijah at Blackheath Halls and St John's, Smith Square under Edward Gardner. Other joint ventures with Blackheath Halls have included Brahms Requiem (2007) and three performances of Verdi's Requiem (2011).

For 2012, the Olympic Year, ECS ran a competition for young composers in which UK Students under 19 years old were invited to submit an olympic themed choral work of their own composition. A short list of three of the contestants was chosen to be presented at the summer concert, 2012 to which ECS was delighted to welcome John Rutter, CBE as the judge.

In March 2017, Eltham Choral Society combined with the West Barnes Singers and Wimbledon Youth Choir to perform the Verdi Requiem at Southwark Cathedral


A selection of other works performed in recent year

(For a complete record of past concerts, visit our past concerts pages)

Eltham Choral Society - European Tours
WhenToConcert at..
May/June 2018Lisbon, PortugalIgreja da Sao Vicente de Fora, Lisbon and Basilica dos Martires, Lisbon
May/June 2016Nîmes, FranceEglise Notre Dame de la Ciotat and Eglise St Symphorien les Carmes, Avignon
May/June 2014Brussels, BelgiumSint Jozef Kerk, Polderhaven, Bruges and Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, Brussels
June, 2012Koblenz, GermanyChristuskirche, Andernach and Christuskirche, Koblenz
June, 2010Rouen, FranceEglise de St Patrice, Bayeux and Eglise de St Germain, Argentan
May/June 2008Montecatini, ItalyChiesa Santa Maria dei Ricci, Central Florence and Basilica Santa Maria Assunta, Montecatini
June, 2006Barcelona, Spain.Barcelona Cathedral, Barcelona and Gerona Cathedral, Gerona
June, 2004Amsterdam, Holland the Protestant Church, Broek, Waterland and the English Church, Begijnhof, Amsterdam
June, 2002Bruges, BelgiumChurch of St. Anthony, Aalst and St Michael's Church, Ghent
June, 2000Chartres, FranceChartres Cathedral, France and The German Evangelical Church, Place Rue Blanche, Paris

Statutory and Governance information


The current version of the Society's Constitution formally adopted in 1997 is available in Adobe Acrobat format

Download Constitution Document in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format


The current version of the Society's Data Protection Policy, formally adopted in 2018 is available in Adobe Acrobat format

Download the Society's Data Protection Policy in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format


The Society's Statement of Accounts and Annual Report are available in Adobe Acrobat format. the documents are posted following adoption at the Society's Annual General Meeting, normally held in November following the end of its financial year on the 31st August.

Download Annual Report in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format

Download Statement of Accounts in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format