Godalming Choral Society was originally established in 1856 and was re-formed in 1967 under the late James Vine who conducted the choir for sixteen years. Nicholas Steinitz, who was Musical Director for twenty two years, retired in 2006 and was awarded the title of ‘Conductor Emeritus’. The present conductor and musical director, Michael Veazey, took over in 2007.
Since the reformation of the choir, Godalming Choral Society has gone from strength to strength and is now recognised as one of the most active and progressive choral societies in West Surrey. Whilst maintaining a professional approach to all ventures, the choir retains a warmth and friendliness which is valued highly by all members.
The Society has performed most of the major and well-loved choral works in the repertoire, but aims to perform more challenging, lesser known and even new works on occasions. In 1987 the Choir performed the first public performance of ‘Corrina’s Maying’ with the composer, David Oppenheimer sitting in the audience. The Choir has always found audiences and critics alike responsive to the freshness and vitality that the Choir’s approach brings.
Godalming Choral Society has established a twinning arrangement with L’Ensemble Choral de Joigny, from Godalming’s twin town in Burgundy. Members of the Society visited Joigny in 2000, 2004 and 2010, performing joint concerts with the L’Ensemble Choral. In 2001, 2007 and 2012 the Choir reciprocated by hosting the Joigny choir, which joined it for hugely successful performances of Mozart’s Trinity Mass and Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle respectively.
The Society performs at least three public concerts a year under our talented conductor, with excellent orchestras and soloists of high repute. On occasion the Choir combines with other Choral Societies to perform concerts of spectacular proportions at Guildford Cathedral, such as the Berlioz Requiem, Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Wesley’s Confitebor, Walton’s Belshazzars Feast and Britten’s War Requiem. Similarly, it sometimes performs Christmas concerts with the Godalming Band at Charterhouse Chapel. Most of the concerts are performed in the beautiful setting of Charterhouse School either in the Hall or the Chapel, although on occasion it performs at Ladywell Convent, Godalming Parish Church, and other venues.
There are currently over 115 active members singing with Godalming Choral Society and the Choir is always seeking singers with some musical experience for all voice parts. If you would like to sing with a fast developing and improving choir whose aims are to contribute significantly to the musical life of Godalming, please contact Christine Mansell (Secretary) on 01483 420536, or Val George (Membership Secretary) on 01483 428057.