40 years a chorister, and going strong

Type of post: Choir news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Rob Hooper
Status: Current
Date Posted: Fri, 12 May 2023

Carol Moore is Horsham Chamber Choir’s longest standing member.  She explains how she started, and why she still enjoys singing so much.
Carol originally hails from South London.  “At Garratt Green school in Wandsworth we had a very traditional music teacher who, when she retired, was replaced by a young Australian.  He inherited her regular hymn practices for school assemblies, but instead of just running through what we needed to learn bellowed in front of us 2,000 girls “Give us a G!”, then “Give us an A!” and so on to spell Garratt. He injected life into music for us, and we’d never heard anything like it. We loved it”, she explains. His enthusiasm and keenness to get a school choir started clearly lit the spark for Carol’s life-long love of choral music.

A bit of a musical desert followed when Carol went to college. She moved to Horsham after she got married to Graham, and a colleague of his who also lived in the town spotted an advert in the WSCT in 1982 about a choir looking for new voices, and suggested she and Carol should sign up.  It was then called the Horsham Bach Choir, but had been started in 1967 by the Rev Stuart King, vicar of St John’s church in Broadbridge Heath. Laurie Carcas (who also founded the West Sussex Philharmonic Choir) took it over the following year and Roger Gaunt had recently become its latest conductor.

Carol explains, “Roger led us for 4 or 5 years, and his successor Neil Bennett subsequently changed our name to Horsham Chamber Choir. But our longest standing conductor was Stephen Buckman, who led us for some 12 years up to about 2010. We’ve had many memorable moments, such as performances in places like Norwich, Bristol, Hereford and Worcester cathedrals. But my most memorable one – which actually happened twice, the second time about 20 years ago now – has to be when we went to Vienna to sing in the Advent Festival.  I place that right up there as one of the highlights of my life, not just with the choir.”

Carol explains that in her early days with HCC the repertoire was mainly traditional masses, but that began to develop into other styles of music as different conductors made their mark on the choir. “I don’t sight read particularly well, but I’m prepared to put in the work at and between rehearsals, and of course I’ve gained in confidence. When you sing such a wide range of music by the likes of Mozart, Rutter, Rossini, Vivaldi, Stamford, Britten and others you do learn a lot on the go,” she continues. “You don’t have to be a choral scholar to sing with us, but equally you can’t hide in such a small choir. If you can sing in tune and you have a bit of musicianship, that’s more than enough. The sense of achievement of pulling something off that is a bit tricky (the Finzi poems that we recently did certainly were) is really quite strong. I can vouch for that!” she adds.  
Carol stresses that she has always found HCC to be a particularly welcoming choir, with a definite warmth and chemistry among its members.  “Our new conductor Tim is taking us into new directions, and I think we are all really up for what he has in mind,” she concludes. “He is bursting with enthusiasm and fun, and I think I can speak for the choir in saying we are excited about what lies ahead”.

The Horsham Chamber Choir is performing a programme based on British folk music on Saturday 24th June at St John’s church hall in Horsham