Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and for considering joining us. We always welcome hearing from talented choral singers and look forward to meeting you!
We are an outstanding, welcoming, outgoing and friendly Wimbledon-based choir of about 40 voices. We typically perform three concerts per year off limited rehearsal. Our concerts are often accompanied by a professional orchestra and our rehearsals are in Wimbledon at 7.30 pm, usually on the four or five Mondays and Thursdays immediately before a concert. Members of the choir are entitled to sing in every concert and those who are able to sing in any given concert ideally attend all of our rehearsals. Attendance at all rehearsals is not an absolute requirement but we make material progress at every rehearsal (typically on questions of style and technique) and anyone who does have to miss a rehearsal swiftly realises that they have fallen a little behind! We are selective about our membership and work consistently towards the very highest musical standards. We regularly "refresh" ourselves after rehearsal and performance in an excellent local pub ...
Our members include a small number of semi-professional musicians across a number of genres and otherwise tend to have experience as Oxbridge choral scholars or as members of other leading choirs. The choir appeals to confident and experienced choral singers who want to sing wonderful music off limited rehearsal - and not to have to trek into or out of central London to do so. Many of our members live or work locally, often including those who have moved to the area relatively recently.
We are sometimes contacted by singers who would love to sing with us but cannot commit to being members (or would like to become members but either cannot do so because of their own circumstances or because there is not a suitable vacancy in the choir). We are always happy to hear from people in this position - our membership is intentionally small and spaces in the choir for specific performances often open up. It is naturally hugely important that the singers who are added to the choir in these circumstances are able to fit in seamlessly; as a result we are always happy to audition singers in all voice parts to join this very helpful group.
The music we perform is varied, centred on the major oratorios from the choral repertoire. Recent and forthcoming programmes include major works by Mozart, Bach, Monteverdi, Handel, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Bruckner. We also perform concerts of smaller works but the works - and we hope our performances(!) - are of the highest quality. We rarely perform the same work twice within a ten year period. A selection of the music we have performed can be found here.
We are immensely proud to have Matthew Best as our Music Director. Matthew's exemplary skills as a singer, singing teacher and conductor make him a joy to sing for and to learn from. Matthew has been involved with singing and singers – at choir and solo level, both amateur and professional – throughout his adult life, and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as both singer and conductor. He is perhaps best known in choral circles for directing Corydon Singers, and later Corydon Orchestra, over a period of 28 years. As a singer he was awarded the Decca-Kathleen Ferrier Award in 1981 and has sung a very wide range of repertoire from Bach, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner in nearly all of the world's top opera houses. He is a Principal Study singing teacher at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Members pay an annual subscription of £100 in order to contribute towards meeting the considerable costs of running the choir. This subscription can be paid in monthly or quarterly instalments. Under-25s and full time students are exempt from this requirement. Many members of the choir also contribute further to the finances of the choir by becoming members of our Friends scheme; we encourage new members to consider whether they may also wish to do so. Our subscription is fixed at a low level compared with many other membership choirs but nobody should be prevented from singing with us through being unable to meet our subscriptions; should this be the case for you please do let us know - we will always give a sympathetic hearing.
Entry to the choir is by audition. Auditions are conducted in a relaxed environment and auditionees are asked to sing a short prepared aria or song, to undertake some simple vocal exercises and a short sight-reading test. We always welcome hearing from people who would be interested in joining us - at present we are particularly keen to hear from tenors and basses and are in the very fortunate position of building a waiting / dep list for sopranos and altos who would like to join. If you would to hear us sing before deciding on whether or not to join us then please do come along to our next concert or get in touch about the possibility of sitting in on one of our rehearsals so that you can get a sense of how the choir works.
If you would like to join us – and we hope that you do – please do speak to anyone you know in the Academy Choir or email us here.