Aylesbury Choral Society was founded in 1932 by Charles Pope, who lived locally and did so much for the musical life of the town.
With an initial eleven members, the Society concentrated mostly on madrigals and part songs. After a very successful appearance at the Buckingham Festival the Society began to grow, and consequently started to expand its repertoire. Our numbers continued to increase, as we developed into a well-established Choral Society within the town.
We currently number around 90 members of all ages and abilities, including a fairly sizable Tenor and Bass contingent - 27 in all, and with roughly equal proportions of Altos and Sopranos making up the remainder.
Musical Director: Jeff Stewart
Jeff Stewart, our Conductor
Jeff Stewart trained as a singer at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, winning the Harold Rosenthal award for outstanding achievement, and then at the National Opera Studio. He has appeared in Opera Houses throughout Europe, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera, Opera North, Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, Komische Oper Berlin, Schwerin, Bremen, Gera & Skopje, in a wide variety of repertoire that includes the title role in Peter Grimes, Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Nemorino (L’Elisir D’Amore), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Steva (Jenufa), Rodolfo (La Bohème), The Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Male Chorus (Rape of Lucretia), Pinkerton (Madame Butterfly), Tamino (Magic Flute), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Walther, (Tannhäuser), Andres (Wozzek), Alfred (Die Fledermaus), Gounod’s Romeo and Gustavus (Un Ballo in Maschera). He has appeared in concert and recital all over the world, singing most of the great oratorio works. Amongst the conductors with whom Jeff has worked are John Elliot Gardiner, Simone Young and Andrew Manze.
Jeff is a professor of the vocal faculty at the Royal College of Music and at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has given masterclasses in Macedonia. He also has a busy private teaching practice.
In 2004, Jeff became conductor of the choir of Holy Trinity Church, Bledlow, which quickly grew into a large choir which sings at many of our great cathedrals. He was then appointed musical director of Uxbridge Choral Society with whom he has performed many well known and several more unusual works. He is regularly invited to give choral workshops to choirs in the UK and abroad and also runs his own company, Choral Holidays, giving courses for amateur singers who come from as far afield as Australia and the USA to take part. He was appointed as the new musical director of Aylesbury Choral Society in 2015.
Chair - Chris Dalladay
Deputy Chairman - John Lawrence
Honorary Secretary - Jenny Ion
Assistant Secretary - Rosemary Berdinner
Honorary Treasurer - Val Turnham
Membership Secretary - Moira Dlugosz
Librarian - Linda Dentith
Concert Manager - Helen Green
Charles Pope Memorial Trust and Friends of ACS - Roger Kirk
Publicity and Marketing - Annabel Edwards
Website - Nick Heritage
Committee Member - Gus Orchard
Accompanist: Colin Spinks
Colin Spinks, our Accompanist
Colin Spinks was born in Aylesbury and educated at Aylesbury Grammar School, studying organ with Stephen Armstrong in High Wycombe. He became Organ Scholar of Brasenose College Oxford in 1994, continuing his studies with Stephen Farr and David Goode. In 1998 he was appointed as the first post-Graduate Organ Scholar of Gloucester Cathedral, where he participated fully in the Cathedral’s daily Offices, training choristers and helping to form a new Youth Choir. Since September 2017, Colin has been Director of Music at St Olave’s Hart Street in London and St Katherine Cree, regularly working with both amateur and professional musicians.
Prior to this he held a similar position at St Mary le Strand in London and has also been involved in part time roles at St Dunstan in the West and St Albans Holborn. Colin enjoys working as a repetiteur for High Wycombe Choral Society, Aylesbury Choral Society, Barnet Choral Society and the North Herts Guild of Singers, whom he recently accompanied on a tour of Belgium, having held similar positions with Marlow Choral Society, Thame Choral Society and Aylesbury Opera Group. He features as an organist on recent CDs by Aylesbury Choral Society and North Herts Guild. He is also currently Musical Director of Wingrave Singers, a chamber choir with whom he frequently visits many of the UK’s great Cathedrals, and was also Musical Director of Thame Choral Society from 2008-2012.
Colin is frequently in demand as an accompanist for concerts, regularly working with the London-based chamber choirs Ad Libitum and Chantage, and has performed with the Frideswide Ensemble (Oxford), Musica Donum Dei and the London Mozart Players. Colin was the founder conductor of the Langlais Festival in Brittany, France, and still participates in the Festival as a repetiteur and lecturer. He has also performed in the USA, Australia, Germany, Italy and Guernsey.
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