The Beginning – publicity sent out

W.E.A. course starting in April 1972
CHORAL MUSIC, led by Mr M Bax
Starting for 6 meetings, 7.30 pm, 12 April 1972
County Primary School, Manor Road.

This course is intended to introduce the student to choral works by Schubert, Purcell, Wilbye, Vaughan Williams and others, in the form of part songs, church music, and madrigals, and to rehearse these works with a view to a public performance.  Music available.  Fee: £1.15

The choir thus formed, The Nantwich W E A Choir, gave their first concert in Nantwich Parish Church on 28th June 1972.  The main work was Schubert’s Mass No 2 in G, and other items included works by Purcell, Stravinsky and Vaughan Williams. Michael Bax - Conductor, Michael Bridger - Organist and Joyce Robers - Pianist.
Tickets: 30p

The Evening Sentinel reported: Nantwich choir make impressive debut. The choir, about 40-strong, had an audience of about 120 and they [the audience] were impressed by the standard achieved under the conductorship or Mr Michael Bax, who had been the class tutor’.

In July 1972, The Chronicle reported: Choir is here to stay and the inaugural meeting for the new choral society was held on 20th September.  The first concert given by the Nantwich and District Choral Society was Handel’s Messiah on 16th December. (The Messiah was to become a regular item in their programme of events, as concerts, fund-raising events and Come-and-Sing events.)

There were three conductors in the early days: Michael Bax (until 1975), Michael Bridger and Eddie Hewison, sharing the role, with Joy Roberts as Accompanist.

The Society continued to flourish and gave a number of concerts in many different venues, as is recorded in the document Nantwich_Choral_Society_Concerts_1972_2005 (more links in Past Repertoire).

The concert in December 1982 marked the end of 10 years as Principal Conductor for Michael Bridger as he left the district to take up a new appointment.  Stephen Buckman was appointed new Conductor in early 1983.

The formation of The Nantwich Choral Society 

In 1985, the choir changed its name to Nantwich Choral Society and also registered as a Charity.

In addition to the many regular and varied concerts in the local area and beyond, the choir spread its wings and made visits abroad, some of them as part of the Crewe and Nantwich twinning arrangements.

In November 1987, the Choir performed in Advent Celebrations in Vienna; the first British Choir to sing in the Town Hall (Rathause).

In October 1989, the choir visited Mâcon.  There was a Civic Reception in Mâcon Town Hall and an official Banquet given by the town’s twinning committee. It was reported that ‘many trips were arranged for the choir.  It was a very successful and enjoyable visit.’

In October 1991 the choir visited Bischofsheim, Germany, twinned with Crewe and Nantwich.  The choir sang Choral High Mass in the Parish Church of St Valentin in Keidrich and were welcomed by the Mayor at a civic reception and treated to wonderful hospitality by their hosts Oekumenische Kantorein Bischofsheim.

In May 1995, the Choir gave 50th Anniversary Concert of Commemoration supported by Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council to mark the end of the war.  The choir were joined by the Okumenische Kantorei Bischofheim Germany, the Borough’s Twin Town.  The music was chosen to illustrate the theme of Commemoration, Peace, Reconciliation and Hope.

October 1997 - Annual Dinner Farewell and Presentations to StephenBuckman and Joy Roberts who both were leaving at the end of the year.  Joy had been the Accompanist since the start of the choir in 1972; it was Stephen’s 15th year with the Society. 

January 1998 - new appointments: Patrick Larley, Conductor and Andrew Mildinhall, Accompanist.

2 July 2005 - the last concert conducted by Patrick Larley who then left to take up a post with Birmingham Sinfonia.

John Naylor was appointed the new Music Director.

Andrew Mildinhall moved away from the area in 2010 and Simon Russell was appointed Accompanist.