The Bingham and District Choral Society was formed in 1972 by Neville Ward from a choral class at Toot Hill School, Bingham.
Our aim is 'to educate and interest the public in music, particularly choral music, by the presentation of concerts and other activities.'
We have around 65 singers coming from a wide area of South Nottinghamshire. We are a classical SATB, non-audition choir.
The choir performs four concerts in each season, including an ever-popular Christmas concert. We aim to hold a Singing Day workshop each year, 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 - and we are very proud to announce that Bob Chilcott will be running our Singing Day in February 2024. 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. Last year was our Golden Jubilee anniversary, which we celebrated with a series of three Jubilee concerts, including Handel’s Messiah, the work first performed in public by the choir 50 years before.
Guy Turner announced his retirement as Musical Director at the end of 2022. He will be greatly missed but our good fortune in being able to attract exceptional leaders has been demonstrated once again by the appointment of Stephen Bullamore as his successor. Stephen has an extensive background in choral conducting and is currently also Director of Music at St Mary Magdalene Church, Newark and Musical Director of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir.
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.
Stephen is Director of Music (Master of the Song School) at St Mary Magdalene church, Newark, where he oversees the oldest non-cathedral or collegiate Choral Foundation in the country. He has previously held posts at Guildford and Lincoln Cathedrals and was Director of Music at Waltham Abbey for the best part of a decade.
For ten years he was Musical Director of the North Herts Guild of Singers, a 145-voice chorus based in Hitchin. He is Musical Director of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir and previously was Musical Director of Barnet Choral Society. Between these groups he has conducted much of the major choral repertoire, including Bach’s St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, B minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio. In addition to numerous performances of Messiah, he has conducted several other Handel oratorios, including Judas Maccabeus, Samson, Saul, Solomon and Israel in Egypt. Great Classical works have included Mozart’s Great C minor Mass, Requiem, and Solemn Vespers as well as Hadyn’s Nelson Mass and Creation. Revival performances of Thomas Linley’s Let God Arise used Stephen’s editorial skills.
His repertoire also encompasses the great Romantic oratorios: Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, The Apostles, The Kingdom, Verdi’s Requiem. Brahms German Requiem has featured several times, including in a chamber scoring commissioned from Iain Farrington. He gave the first of several 2018 performances of Ethel Smyth’s monumental Mass in D as part of the centenary of women’s suffrage; larger works he has conducted by Vaughan Williams include Dona nobis pacem and Sea Symphony. Other English works have included Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality and the belated premier of Imogen Holst’s What Man is he?
He is committed to supporting the work of living composers. Recent concerts and commissions have included works by Thomas Hewitt Jones, David Bednall, Terry Mann, Kerensa Briggs, Richard Blackford and Cecilia McDowall.
He holds a doctorate in Editorial Musicology (“The Sacred music of John Weldon, 1676-1736”) and has contributed to Grove Online. He is an International examiner for ABRSM, enjoying performances in various disciplines from Skegness to Hong Kong.
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.