Belper Singers looking for new members

Ewan Mathers,
picture by Ewan Mathers,

If you are a singer looking for a choir to join then Belper Singers would love to hear from you.

The small, friendly group is an experienced chamber choir with about 30 voices and they are especially looking for tenors and altos to join them.

The current members have just started their autumn term of rehearsals after the summer break and are preparing for an important concert to be staged at the town’s Strutts Centre in November.

Musical director and conductor Mitchell Holland joined them in 2012 and in the last couple of years he has been helping them to build both their confidence and repertoire.

The musician, who has been singing since he was 13 and has an MA in Music Performance, travels from Lichfield each week to head up rehearsals and says that as soon as he met the choir he knew he wanted to be part of it.

“They are a very friendly group and perform to a very high standard and it really is a pleasure to be here. We are working on some tricky pieces and I am very pleased with how they are developing,” he said.

“We always welcome new singers to join us and they can come along to rehearsals to get a feel for what we do before taking an audition – and depending on their experience they may not have to do that.”

The newest member of the group is Ruth Willey, from Duffield, an experienced singer who was the first adult woman to join the Manchester Cathedral Voluntary Choir while she was at university.

She has been singing in church choirs since she was seven and joined the Belper group in June.
“I was involved with other groups but I was missing the challenge of the bigger works so I came along to see what this choir was doing. I was impressed and delighted to have been accepted,” she said.

Ruth has a long way to go though before she matches the service record of choir stalwart Dorothy Buxton.

The 73-year-old soprano has been a member of the choir for 42 years and says the weekly sessions are a kind of therapy for her now.

“I saw an advert in the local paper saying the choir was looking for a soprano and even though I couldn’t read music I thought I would give it a go. Thankfully they took me on and I have been here ever since,” she said proudly.

The next Belper Singers concert with a string ensemble and guest artist Beate Toyka (piano) is at the Strutts Centre on November 28.

They will be performing Durrant: Magnificat; Pizzetti: Messa di Requiem; Monteverdi: Beatus Vir and Schubert Psalm 23.

The choir will also be at the Tiger Inn in Turnditch for an informal evening of Christmas carols on December 16 from 8pm.

If you want to find out more about how to join the choir go to