Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











2022/23 Season Launched

1 September 2022

We are delighted to announce dates and details for our 2022/23 season. This season builds on the reinvigoration of the choir last season following two difficult years of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular we take on board many of the messages we heard during our #FridaysAtFour sessions during lockdown, when alongside the music we were singing virtually, we explored the idea of Expanding the Canon, making room alongside the established choral classics (the “Canon”) for works which are unjustly neglected, and for composers and performers from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders.

Our 2022/23 Season Composers

Our 2022/23 Season Composers

We begin on 15 October 2022 with a performance which places the UK première of Marianna Martines’s Quarta Messa of 1765 alongside two of W.A. Mozart’s great sacred choral works, the motet Exsultate, jubilate of 1773 and the 1779 Coronation Mass. Martines (1744-1812) was a truly remarkable composer, who studied with a number of the great composers of the age, not least Haydn, and who performed with many of the great performers of the age, not least Mozart. It is our delight to perform for the first time alongside the classical period-instrument orchestra Musical & Amicable Society, with soloists Jessica Smith, Lufuno Ndou, Rory Carver, and Alistair Donaghue.

Our Christmas concert in 2022 is another Fanfares and Carols matinée performance with Rushden Town Band; this will take place on 3 December 2022, and will include not only popular carols for audience, choir and band, as well as choral music accompanied by band, and works for band alone, but also a small number of astonishing unaccompanied motets hand-picked by our guest conductor. On 18 March 2023 we will be working on a newly-commissioned version of Ethel Smyth’s romantic period masterpiece, the Mass in D of 1891. In Smyth’s own orchestration the performance requires at least 50 players, something which makes performing the work a very expensive business. We are delighted to have commissioned expert arranger George Morton to make a reduced orchestration which will work with a minimum of 15 players (four winds, four brass, two percussion, five strings), and which will be published by Wise Music Classical. We are delighted to be joined by the Scordatura Collective and the Tailleferre Ensemble for this performance, two groups who are leading exponents of music by women composers.

Before we reach the final concert of the season we will be travelling to St Paul’s Cathedral on 22 May 2023 and Southwark Cathedral on 3 June 2023 to sing Choral Evensong. The music we sing is all new to the choir, including the Preces and Responses by Humphrey Clucas, the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in F by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and for the anthem a sort and vibrant setting of Psalm 150 by the living Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson.

Having begun the season with music from the classical period, and then moved into the romantic period, we go back to the baroque for our final concert, with a performance of G. F. Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Isabella Leonarda’s Magnificat and Sonata Duodecima, and Antonio Vivaldi’s ever-popular Gloria. We will be accompanied for this performance on 24 June 2023 by a baroque period instrument ensemble and soloists.

Our 2022/23 Season Conductors

Our 2022/23 Conductors

This season is one in which we say farewell to our Musical Director of fifteen years, Lee Dunleavy (pictured top left). His final concert with the choir will be the performance of music by Martines and Mozart in October 2022. We then welcome four guest conductors to take us through the remainder of the year.

For our Christmas 2022 Fanfares and Carols concert we will be directed by Christopher Ouvry-Johns (pictured top centre), Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral. Chris is a former Choral Scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge, and studied choral music at the Robert Schumann College of Music in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he also held the position of Assistant Choirmaster at Osnabrück Cathedral. He has a doctorate in Linguistics from Durham University, and has conducted numerous choirs and orchestras, not least during his years as Deputy Chorus Master of the acclaimed Leeds Philharmonic Society.

In the Spring of 2023 we welcome Laura Bailie (pictured bottom left) to conduct our performance of Smyth’s Mass in D (as well as Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which will also feature on the programme in a special orchestration by Iain Farrington). Laura was born in Northern Ireland and has a Master’s Degree in choral conducting from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and her undergraduate degree was in Classical Voice at the Leeds Conservatoire. She has conducted a number of choruses, and is Musical Director of Divertimento Voices in Royal Leamington Spa and christ ouvDaventry Choral Society.

The duties in Summer 2023 are shared between Simon Toyne (pictured bottom right), who will conduct our performance of Baroque music by Handel, Leonarda, and Vivaldi, and Hilary Punnett (pictured top right), who will conduct us on our visits to St Paul’s and Southwark Cathedrals. Hilary is a former Assistant Organist of both Chelmsford and Lincoln Cathedrals, and worked with us on our CD Be Merry! when she was Travis Organ Fellow at All Saints’ Church in Northampton. Simon is Executive Director of Music of the David Ross Education Trust, and a Director of the Rodolfus Foundation.

Our 2022/23 Season Soloists

Our Performers

Over the season we will welcome no fewer than twelve soloists to sing alongside us, and our accompanying groups - including the Musical & Amicable Society, Rushden Town Band, the Scordatura Collective, and the Tailleferre Ensemble. The first quartet, for our performance of Martines and Mozart in October 2022, are pictured above. Three singers whose formative years were in and around Northampton - soprano Jessica Smith, mezzo Lufuno Ndou, and bass-baritone Alistair Donaghue - alongside stellar tenor Rory Carver.

Rory is a former member of Les Arts Florissants’ young artist programme and a finalist in the Oxford Lieder Young artist Platform, and was a Douglas and Hilda Simmonds scholar at the Royal College of Music. He has recently performed Purcell’s King Arthur in Barcelona, Lyon, Madrid, and Wellingborough, and Mozart’s Requiem with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. South African born Lufuno studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she had roles in both Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, but she began her career as a chorister at St Matthew’s Church in Northampton. She recently performed in Grange Park Opera’s production of Porgy and Bass and Chineke's performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony at the Proms.

Alistair and Jessica were both Head Choristers at All Saints’ Church in Northampton during the time when our own Musical Director was Director of Music, and both have sung with us in earlier concerts. Alistair went on to study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he was also a Lay Clerk at the cathedral; whilst there he also conducted the Ex Cathedra Boys Academy. Since 2019 he has held the position of Songman at York Minster. Jessica is a former choral scholar of Royal Holloway, University of London, and the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. She is a former member of Genesis Sixteen, The Sixteen’s young artists’ scheme, and holds a postgraduate degree with distinction in singing from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Details on our soloists for our Spring and Summer 2023 concerts will be posted on the individual concert pages.