The Mayfield Festival Choir was founded in 1970 by Kenneth Pont, Music Director of St. Leonards-Mayfield School, (now Mayfield School), to provide its pupils with an opportunity to sing the major choral repertoire. The choir attracted praise for its unique soprano line comprised of the school's Schola Cantorum singers; staging two performances annually including the biennial Mayfield Festival of Music and the Arts under the baton of Sir David Willcocks.
This arrangement ended in 2004 with the choir becoming a Society, managing all aspects of concert preparation and performance. The choir has rapidly become known for its intelligent and engaging performances of a wide range of choral repertoire, both within and independent from the Mayfield Festival.
We are delighted to have Sir Thomas Allen as our distinguished President. An established star of the great opera houses of the world, Sir Thomas celebrated his 40th anniversary with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 2012 where he has sung over fifty roles. He maintains a busy international schedule which will bring him back to Sussex in June 2017 when he takes the role of Music Master in Richard Strauss's opera Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne.
Jeremy Summerly took the helm as Music Director in 2012 and through his leadership the choir is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the foremost amateur choirs in the area. As well as being one of the country's leading musicologists and founder of the Oxford Camerata, Jeremy is also the Director of Music at St Peter's College Oxford and Artistic Director of the Mayfield Festival. He can also be heard regularly on the BBC with broadcasts for Radio 3's CD Review and Front Row on Radio 4.
A very accomplished musician in his own right, Andrew Benians has been our accompanist since 2004. Occasionally standing in for Jeremy to take full rehearsals, but more often just providing adroit accompaniment to help the choir to improve its performance. Andrew is Director of Music for St Dunstan's Church and also established the Mayfield Consort which has gained a loyal following and is particularly noted for its polished, communicative performances of a wide repertoire..
Mayfield Festival Choir performs in the beautiful setting of St. Dunstan's Parish Church, Mayfield, East Sussex. We normally give two concerts each year, in early May and mid November with a programme of major choral and orchestral works.We are fortunate to perform with first-rate orchestras and instrumental ensembles as well as some of the UK's most talented young vocal soloists
In recent years the Choir has performed a wide range of repertoire including: Handel's Messiah, Brahm's Requiem, Bethoven's 9th Symphony, Haydn's Nelson Mass, Schubert's Stabat Mater, Mozart's Great Mass in C and Fauré's Requiem. We have also performed a number of other shorter works including contemporary composers such as Jonathan Dove, James MacMillan, John Tavener, Arvo Pärt and Tarik O'Regan as well as joining forces with the Royal Tunbridge Wells Choral Society to perform Verdi's Requiem in the Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.