Stour Singers was formed as a community choir in 1975 as part of Shipston High School’s adult education programme. There were originally only 15 members, (of whom 1 still remains) but it was a balanced mixed choir able to perform part-songs and four-part arrangements. The following year it had doubled in size and acquired its present name. It has continued to grow and mature under the dedicated and skilled direction of its founder, Richard Emms.
It first emerged as an infant choral society in 1980 when, with a membership of about 45, it performed Vivaldi’s Gloria, with orchestra. Haydn’s Creation followed in 1981, paving the way for performances of major works by composers ranging from Bach to Brahms, from Lalande to Poulenc and Purcell to Britten. In the 40 years of its life so far, it has sung many all-time favourites such as Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, Britten’s St. Nicolas, and Brahms’ Requiem, together with lesser-known gems such as Cherubini’s Requiem, Hummel’s Mass in B flat major, and Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus. It is now a well-established choral society of about 80 members.
Over the years, it has attracted a high calibre of professional soloists and orchestras, and is delighted when professional singers request a return to perform with Stour Singers.