Writtle Singers is a mixed-voice chamber choir dedicated not only to performing music to the highest standard but also to enjoying the satisfaction we achieve through doing so; we hope that our audiences will enjoy listening to us too!
Although Writtle is our base, and several members live in the Chelmsford area, we come from as far away as Harlow, Braintree, Billericay and Walthamstow to make music (and eat home-made cakes) every Monday evening.
Our repertoire is varied: our recent programmes feature standard repertoire such as Stanford Three Motets and Duruflé Requiem alongside the new and unusual – Gabriel Jackson To the Field of Stars, Janet Wheeler Time Becomes a Song and an array of pieces by Pärt, Whitacre, McDowall and MacMillan.
We are never afraid to mix the old with the new.
Much of what we sing is unaccompanied, but from time to time our Musical Director will multi-task as both conductor and pianist, or we are able to engage another pianist or organist, a full orchestra as for J S Bach St John Passion, or multi-instrumental groups ranging from organ and saxophone to an ensemble playing Latin American music on theorbo, lute, guitar, Baroque violin, bass viol and percussion!
With fewer than 30 singers, every voice matters. Development of good singing technique is encouraged in our warm-ups, led by our experienced and talented musical director Christine Gwynn, and by workshops with internationally renowned vocal coach Ghislaine Morgan. Our excellent soloists are almost always drawn from the choir.
We generally perform at least four concerts a year, in spring, summer, autumn and at Christmas. Most concerts are in All Saints’ Church, Writtle, where we have also been invited to contribute to the entertainment at the annual Christmas Tree Festival.
A few years ago we were asked to present a Christmas concert at historic Copped Hall, near Epping. This has become a regular fixture in our calendar, characterised by spectacular log fires around the building – and Christmas jumpers to offset the draughts! There have been performances in Ingatestone Hall, Chelmsford Cathedral, Bolton Abbey, York Minster and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and concert tours to Prague, Antwerp and Zürich. We have also recorded three CDs which encompass the breadth of our repertoire.
We hold a very popular fund-raising quiz night every February as well as a social event in the summer, and Monday night often finds us swelling the numbers in Writtle’s delightful Wheatsheaf pub after rehearsals.