Huddersfield Voices Choir

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History

Huddersfield Methodist became Huddersfield Voices


Huddersfield Methodist Choir came into being in 1946, when the BBC invited the local Methodist church choirs to combine for a broadcast of “Sunday half-hour” on the forces program, a further broadcast followed on the home service. So successful was this new venture that it was decided to make permanent what had been intended as no more than an “ad hoc” choir. In December, therefore, 400 voices assembled in the Huddersfield Town Hall to perform Handels Messiah – the first annual performance in what has proved to be more or less unbroken sequence to this day.

Alfred S Frost, organist and choirmaster of the Queen Street Mission, was the conductor (a position he retained for 30 years) and Ernest Cooper, organist at Lindley Zion Methodist Church (and Huddersfield Choral Society’s long serving accompanist) was the organist. The proceeds from the performance were devoted to the Methodist appeal for churches damaged during the Second World War. (Ticket prices in those days and for some years after, ranged from 1/- (5p) to 3/- (15p).....!)

In March 1952, the choir sang Mendlelssohn’s Elijah, in what was the first of an occasional series of Spring Concerts. In 1975, the Spring concerts became an annual event, featuring a wide range of music, secular as well as sacred and guest soloists, choirs and orchestras. In 1964, the first annual Sunday carol service was held in the Town Hall; in 1969 it was replaced be a Saturday evening Carol Concert.

On Alfred S Frost’s retirement in 1976, he was succeeded as conductor by Ralph Garside, a former pupil of Frost, who had been the choirs accompanist, for many years.

In 1984 Alan Brierley took over the baton, with Angela Griffiths as deputy, Ian Greenhalgh and then Malcolm Hinchliffe were the accompanists.

The present choir, now singing under the name of Huddersfield Voices, have many long standing members, alongside the new – Malcolm Hinchliffe is still the accompanist, Angela Griffiths still the deputy conductor – the current Musical Director is Richard Quarmby, we still sing sacred and a good range of secular music.