Choir History

The Sitwell Singers originated in 1966 as a group of friends who gathered to sing on Sunday evenings in each other’s homes. One of these was Stainsby Hall, previously owned by the Sitwell family, and this is the origin of the name.

Since those early days the choir has developed into a performing chamber choir with a broad repertoire. There have been nine resident conductors and a number of guests. The choir has performed in cathedrals, churches, stately homes and village halls throughout the East Midlands. Currently there are 30 members.

In a normal season the choir will present two large–scale concerts, one in mid-Autumn and one on the approach to Easter. There will also be a Christmas and a Summer concert, usually comprising a compilation of shorter items and seasonal readings. Each year also includes a “Come and Sing” event , and the choir is frequently invited to provide musical support for cultural events around the county.

The choir rehearses on Monday evenings at St John’s, Bridge street, Derby. Contact us for more details on how to book, how to find us, how to talk to us…

“the Sitwells’ immaculate blend”

The repertoire is wide ranging from the Renaissance to the present day, and is performed either a cappella, with organ, or on occasion with orchestra. In addition to a large number of smaller pieces the Singers’ programmes have included Brahms’ Requiem, The Sacrifice by Antonin Tucapsky and (with the Derwent Singers) Monteverdi’s Vespers.

“deeply thoughtful… beautifully sensitive”

The choir celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2006 with events including a concert entitled Venice by Candlelight in Derby Cathedral with the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and a successful short tour in Germany. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 with a specially commissioned work –Two Friends by Bob Chilcott (listen here). The choir also joined forces with Derby Chamber Music to give only the second UK performance of John Tavener’s Requiem Fragments.

“engagingly quirky… vibrantly projected”

Under previous conductors the choir has been known to let its hair down to include light-hearted songs, comic and even music-hall numbers in its Summer compilation programme.