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About Southend Festival Chorus

Southend Festival Chorus is a vibrant community based choir with members from all age ranges and backgrounds. The choir’s repertoire has included the classics such as Mozart’s Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and contemporary works such as Tippett’s Child Of Our Time. The choir has succeeded in performing a cappella and accompanied works which are less well known or rarely performed. This has broadened the musical horizons of choir and audience members alike.

In October 2011, Southend Festival Chorus gave the world premiere of Richard Allain’s Vespers, which the choir commissioned. This exciting work reflects the coastal heritage of Southend on Sea and as well as the choir includes soloists, children’s choir and handbell ringers.

SFC at the Menin Gate, Ypres. 1998
SFC at the Menin Gate, Ypres. 1998

We also enjoy our annual Christmas concert where we are often joined by local children’s choirs.

Choir members regularly sing at weddings and fuunerals, and are available for hire. To hire Southend Festival Chorus for your event, please contact the secretary using the contact form.

In October 2009, the Chorus travelled to Normandy to perform in the magnificent Rouen Cathedral and Fecamp Abbey. A group of over 100 people including choir members, family and friends travelled to the North of France and The Chorus received a standing ovation for their performances of the Victoria Requiem and Schütz Musikalische Exequien. In May 2012, the choir toured northern England and performed in Ripon Cathedral.

Biography for Dr Joseph Fort – the new Musical Director of The Southend Festival Chorus

Dr Fort is the College Organist & Director of the Chapel Choir, and Lecturer in Music at King’s College London. He took up this position in September 2015, upon completing his PhD at Harvard University, and is equally active as a conductor and musicologist. Joseph is responsible for chapel music at King’s, conducting the choir in the weekly Eucharist and Evensong services during term. He has broadcast as a conductor and organist on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and on US radio. His conducting debut with Britten Sinfonia in 2017 was met with acclaim from The Times, and his recording of the Brahms Requiem (London Version) will be released by Delphian Records later in the year.  In demand as a chorus master, he has assisted John Eliot Gardiner and Roger Norrington, and enjoys a warm association with the Cambridge University Symphony Chorus, working with the choir in its 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

A dedicated teacher, Joseph lectures on a variety of topics at King’s, where he serves the Music Department as Head of Performance. He also regularly gives talks for music societies and festivals. At Harvard, he was awarded the Oscar Schafer teaching prize (a year-long fellowship), and served the university as Senior Tutor of Eliot House. Prior to Harvard, he studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was an organ scholar and academic scholar, and at the Royal Academy of Music, who in March 2017 elected him to their Associateship.

Joseph joined the Southend Festival Chorus as its new Musical Director on 10 January 2018.

Officers and Committee, Season 2019 - 2020
  • Chair/Treasurer: Vanda Roberts
  • Secretary: Alan Lamont
  • Membership Secretary: Georgina Davies
  • Publicity: Ruth Jarrett
  • Librarian: Rob Little
  • Committee Member: Jan Bunton
  • Committee member: Shirley Masterson

To Contact any of the people listed above, please use our contact form

Recommendation from member Chris Dugmore

Although already a long-term member of Southend Choral Society, I joined Southend Festival Chorus last term as I was so tempted to sing Mendelssohn's Elijah again. Their future programme is full of such classics as Mozart's Coronation Mass and Requiem, Bach Magnificat and Handel's Messiah, together with a new work by Christopher Wood and Will Todd's Mass in Blue- all too difficult to resist! Rehearsals are demanding but good-humoured and fun and I have found the choir members to be friendly and welcoming. There are plenty of fundraising initiatives which often double as social events. A lovely way to spend a Wednesday evening!