The Bingham and District Choral Society was formed in 1972 by Neville Ward from a choral class at Toot Hill School, Bingham. Its aim is:
to educate and interest the public in music, particularly choral music, by the presentation of concerts and other activities.
The original membership of 40 has now increased to around 90, with singers coming from a wide area of South Nottinghamshire, North Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
The choir performs four concerts in each season, including an ever-popular Christmas concert. We also hold a Singing Day workshop in early spring, extending a warm welcome to all-comers. In 2017 we were very honoured when John Rutter agreed to run our Singing Day - predictably a huge success. Over the years, we have worked successfully with other choirs, internationally and locally, including the Kortriik Vocaal ensemble from Belgium, the Mansfield, Scunthorpe, Newark and Southwell Choral Societies and St Peter's Choir in Nottingham.
Neville Ward retired as Musical Director in 2015 after 43 years of dedicated and inspirational work, and we also said goodbye to our brilliant accompanist, Roger Bryan. We were incredibly lucky to attract another talented team to succeed them. Guy Turner, our Musical Director, and Edward Turner, our accompanist, developed a happy partnership with the choir over the following four years, enabling us to continue our musical journey. At the end of the 2018/19 season Edward decided to move on to develop his blossoming musical career in new directions. In his place, the choir is delighted to welcome Michael Overbury. As well as being a highly experienced accompanist, Michael has a distinguished solo career as a harpsichordist and organist.
Our concerts under Guy's watch have included much-loved works that are almost universally recognised, notably the Verdi Requiem and the Fauré Requiem, but we have also been able to present beautiful pieces that may be new to our audiences, such as Pergolesi's Magnificat and Poulenc's Gloria. During our 2019/20 season we will sing a programme of baroque music in the autumn and in the spring will be collaborating with Mansfield Choral Society to present Brahms' German Requiem at Southwell Minster.
PAST CONCERTS HAVE INCLUDED . . .
Neville Ward was Conductor and Musical Director of Bingham and District Choral Society from its inception in 1972 until he retired in 2015, a total of 43 years.
He studied clarinet and bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music, then taught music in Halifax before moving to Bingham, where he was Head of Music at Toot Hill School from 1969 until 2001. He started a choir at Toot Hill, which gradually grew and became a Choral Society. He has also been a conductor of several other choirs in the region, as well as an orchestral conductor, including professional orchestras on some occasions. He has also worked with leading professional soloists, both vocal and instrumental, and has trained choirs for performances with professional conductors. As an accomplished piano player, he has also accompanied in concerts and recitals of all kinds.
Because of his distinguished record, Society members agreed unanimously to appoint him as Life President on his retirement as Musical Director.
Guy Turner studied Music at Cambridge, where he sang in Clare Choir under John Rutter, and founded the St Michael’s Singers.
He was a music teacher for thirty-one years, in Surrey Comprehensives, a Somerset Further Education College, and latterly in the private sector. During this time he also conducted the Tudor Singers (with whom he appeared on TV and Radio) Egham and District Choral Society, and Surrey Heath Youth Orchestra. He assisted with the foundation of Surrey County Youth Choir and then in 1992 founded the Somerset County Youth Choir. He sang in the choir of St John the Baptist, Yeovil for ten years before seven years as the church’s musical director. School and College teaching gave him the chance to MD for Musicals such as Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Chicago and Fame.
In 2008 he moved to Nottinghamshire to take up a post singing in the Cathedral Choir at Southwell Minster, where he remains. In 2010 he left teaching and now pursues a freelance career which includes being the Archivist if the Eric Thiman Collection, the Secretary of the Southwell Music Festival, a member of the Southwell Minster Choral Outreach team, and a question writer and verifier for TV quizzes. He also teaches theory and composition, plays piano and restaurants and sings (both chorally and as a solo comic song performer) when anyone is prepared to pay him. He is Assistant Conductor of the Cecilian Singers (Leicester), one of the premier chamber choirs of the Midlands.
Throughout his career he has also been an active composer and arranger, with works ranging from a Requiem and other choral works, to comic choral numbers such as the well-known Tequila Samba (OUP Encores for Choirs), and arrangements such as his Over the Rainbow, (OUP In the Mood), which has become a concert standard. A book of his light choral pieces, Potato Music , was published in 2012. He has had a long-standing relationship with the international close harmony group Cantabile (The London Quartet), who have performed his music all over the world, and on CD, TV and Radio. He has written two full-length musicals, including his adaptation of Terry Prachett’s Wyrd Sisters, which was premiered in 1995 in the presence of the author.
Locally his music has been performed by the Southwell Cathedral Choir (on Radio 3), the Nottingham Harmonic and the Nottingham Bach Choir, who premiered his Songs and Legends of Robin Hood in 2015.
Guy's new website can be found at guyturner.co.uk
Michael Overbury's early musical influences centred on Farnham and London. At his local Parish Church he was introduced as boy chorister and Assistant Organist, to the glories of the English liturgical tradition, and it was here also that his organ teacher Stephen Thomson inspired in him a love of the harpsichord. Also during these years at Farnham Grammar School, the nationally acclaimed Farnham Festivals provided opportunity for Michael to give a number of first performances on solo piano, recorded by the BBC, including works by Richard Rodney Bennett, and Leonard Bernstein. These formative experiences were complemented by Saturday mornings at Trinity College of Music, London, where he held a Junior Exhibition, being awarded a diploma in piano-playing whilst still at school.
Horizons broadened with an Organ Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he read music and studied the organ with Gillian Weir. Harpsichord tuition continued with Kenneth Gilbert. After graduating he was successively, an assisting organ scholar at King's College, Cambridge, Assistant Organist at New College, Oxford, a deputy organist at St Alban's Abbey, Director of Music at Eagle House Preparatory School, and Master of the Song School at Newark, Nottinghamshire. He was for 25 years Director of Music of Nottingham Boys Choir.
After winning First Prize in the 1982 Manchester International Organ Competition, he appeared twice as soloist at the Royal Festival Hall, and in countless other venues, and has continued to play with numerous choirs and orchestras, and on several recordings, including solo discs.
Michael was for 15 years Director of Music at Worksop Priory, and remains a founder member of Mvsica Donvm Dei, playing on period instruments mainly in the East Midlands. Michael is also harpsichordist for the chamber trio Continuum, with whom he has performed several times at the Handel House Museum in London. He has been accompanist to Nottingham Harmonic Society, and for many years has written reviews for the Organists' Review. He is currently accompanist to Bingham and District Choral Society, Ruddington and District Choral Society, and Sinfonia Chorale in Nottingham. He has a number of mainly liturgical compositions published. He continues to pursue an active concert and recital career as soloist and accompanist.