Sturminster Choral Society is a mixed choir that rehearses and performs in the north Dorset market town of Sturminster Newton. Our aim is to offer people in the community the opportunity to sing in a relaxed, friendly environment, but with the motivation of a concert performance twice a year. We currently have about 80 members, drawn from towns and villages all over north Dorset.
Our general preference is for sacred music to lead our concert programmes, although the repertoire has over the years been quite varied. But this is usually supported, at Christmas, by shorter pieces and carols for solo choir and audience; and, in the Spring, by lighter works. The work of contemporary (and local) composers often feature in our programme.
We are fortunate to be led by Caroline D’Cruz who always keeps us on our toes.
She was a founder pupil at Chethams’ and a graduate of the Royal College of Music, where she studied with David Parkhouse. After a short time teaching she joined the Civil Service. She has been involved in music making in the south west since moving here in 1987. She has been musical director of many productions at Shaftesbury Arts Centre and, as well as conducting Sturminster Choral Society, she is musical director of Milborne Port Opera and accompanies the Treasury Singers in London. She is also on the board of Dorset Opera and has been Chorus Repetiteur since 2009. She works with many local musicians performing in the South West and London.
Our fantastic accompanist, Elaine Korman, keeps us in tune at rehearsals and our concerts. She was born in Canada and came to London to study with Harold Craxton. For some years she was a rehearsal accompanist with the English National Opera. Elaine came to Dorset in 1986 and has a busy schedule working with many local musicians including Dorset Opera and Sturminster Choral Society.
We are extremely privileged to be able to draw on several accomplished local organists for our concert performances. They include Peter Lattimer, our vice-president, former director of music at Bryanston School and currently organist and choir master at St Mary’s Sturminster Newton; as well as Sam Hanson, Chris Dowie and Graham Scott.
Again, there are many talented soloists living in the south west. We regularly draw on their experience as well as encouraging new names and singing scholars early in their careers. We were fortunate to be able to engage the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Award winner, Njabulo Madlala, for our Spring 2011 concert, and regular soloists include: Anna Gregory (soprano), William Tyson Smith (baritone), Maria Marton (soprano), Andrew Armstrong (bass).