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Capel Choral Society

Looking back…and forward
With the Leith Hill Musical Festival and our summer concert behind us the choir is now having a well-earned break — time perhaps for a few reminiscences about Capel Choral society.
With the centenary of the First World War upon us this month, it is appropriate to look back at what the Choir was doing at the start of that world-changing conflict. Capel Choral was  formed in October I904, so at the outbreak of war it was already nearly ten years old. The committee minutes of March 1914 give no indication of the approaching conflict which of course did not become inevitable until after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in late June that year. A concert was given in April, (a not very complimentary report from the local paper is pasted in the minutes book!). The next record is that of a committee meeting in September at which it was resolved to hold a ‘public meeting’ to ‘ascertain whether they desire the Choral Society to be carried on during  the ensuing year’. This sounds as if the committee wondered if it would be proper for the choir  to continue with the Nation at war, but it appears that it was then the usual practice for a decision to be made at the start of each Season whether the Choir would continue. On this occasion it was decided to carry on, but after a concert in May 1915, (at which the music reflected some nationalistic sentiments no doubt prompted by the war), the choir was evidently disbanded until 1919.

Capel Choral Society is now approaching its 110th anniversary. we are currently a small choir – we have no indication of the number of singers in 1914, but it included some prominent village families such as the Coles and the Mortimers. Numbers have fluctuated over the years (at one point a shortage of tenors almost caused the resignation of the conductor!!) but the Choral Society hop that, with your help, it will be part of Capel village life for many years to come.

We start rehearsals again in early September,  with and exciting Leith Hill Season ahead of us – the 110th anniversary of the Festival will include a specially commissioned work to celebrate Festival Conductor Brian Kay’s 20 years with us. We need to grow the Choir and we always welcome new singers, of all abilities.

Please contact the Choral Secretary, Judith Hall, on 01306 712365 or email secretary@capelchoralsociety.com – do come and give us a try!

Ian Moir

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