How the Linsdale Singers started
In 1977, four people got together in a house on Bideford Green in Linslade and started to sing motets and madrigals for their own entertainment and with no thought of public performance. The name, Linsdale Singers, came about after a misspelling in the programme of the choir’s first public performance in the Methodist Chapel, Wingrave, in October 1978! Since this first performance, the Choir has grown in strength, numbers and reputation, and they are now well-known in the area for quality choral singing.
The membership of the Linsdale Singers comprises a musical director and about 30 people of varying ages split into 1st and 2nd sopranos, 1st and 2nd contraltos, 1st and 2nd tenors and 1st and 2nd basses. There are no fixed numbers in any voice part, and numbers fluctuate slightly as people move in and out of the town, retire from the choir, or go on to college/university. Select the ‘Joining’ menu item to find out about joining the Singers. The Choir offers a limited number of choral scholarships to young singers aged 16–20. Contact us to find out more about these exciting opportunities for gaining experience of singing in a chamber choir.
Repertoire and performances
The Singers’ repertoire covers all styles of choral music both sacred and secular from the 14th century right up to the present day. Although the choir sings mostly unaccompanied music, occasionally they tackle a larger work accompanied by organ or a small orchestra. Often a year’s series of local concerts would include a concert of mostly serious unaccompanied sacred music, a concert featuring a more substantial work accompanied by organ or a small orchestra and a more lighthearted concert including madrigals, folksongs and close harmony arrangements. In addition to this core series of local concerts, the Choir will give other concerts and sing in services as the opportunities arise, including a weekend singing the serivces in a British cathedral or minster (see below).
Most performances take place in the Leighton Buzzard/Linslade area of Bedfordshire. There are two principal venues: All Saints Church in Leighton Buzzard (venue details) and the nearby St. Barnabas Church in Linslade (venue details).
The Linsdale Singers also venture further afield, and over the years, under its conductor Dennis Pim, the Choir has spread its musical wings, and has given many concerts in and around the Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire area. In addition, once a year, usually towards the end of July, the Choir sings in the weekend services at a major British cathedral or minster. These have included Winchester, Hereford, Ely, Norwich, Lincoln, Worcester, Peterborough, Exeter, Chichester, Gloucester, Salisbury, Portsmouth, Sherbourne and Christchurch. These weekends away are great fun – both musically and socially – and are very popular with the Choir members.
Visits abroad are arranged from time to time. In 2004, the Choir sang at the Engelse Kerk, Amsterdam (English Church, c. 1419) and in 2006 it visited Titisee-Neustadt, the twin town of Leighton-Linslade in the southern Black Forest of Germany.
Between December 2007 and June 2008 the choir presented a series of three highly successful concerts in St. Barnabas Church to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The programme in each concert was designed to showcase one aspect of the wide range of music from the repertoire that the Singers have built up over the years. The first concert of seasonal music was accompanied by a small orchestra and included Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on Christmas carols’ and Rutter’s ‘Magnificat’. The second concert in the season of Lent consisted of unaccompanied music in a reflective mood and included Victoria’s ‘Requiem’ and Whitacre’s ‘Sleep’. In the final concert at the height of summer, the singers let their hair down with a selection of light music including Flanders and Horovitz’s ‘Captain Noah and his floating zoo’, madrigals, folksongs and arrangements of Beatles songs.
In addition to being musically successful and a fitting way to celebrate the choir’s 30th anniversary, the three concerts raised nearly £2000 for the St Barnabas Parish Hall refurbishment appeal.