New Directions

We are very fortunate to have secured John Frith to be our new music director. After 12 years, Tony Washington, our founder, has retired as music director of the choir in order to pursue his many other musical interests.  With great dedication Tony has, over the years, built up a chamber choir of good standard and we are very sad to see him go but he leaves with all best wishes for the future and grateful thanks.

John FrithJohn Frith, a professional musician and teacher, is composer of The Wanderer, a beautiful setting of eight John Masefield poems for chorus and orchestra which was one of the works we sang, together with Ledbury Community Choir, at a very enjoyable concert held at Shire Hall, Hereford in May this year.  John shared rehearsal duties with Tony for this concert and the members of The Penyard Singers very much welcome his return to Ross and are looking forward to an exciting ‘change of direction’.

We are actively seeking new members to join all voice parts and will be holding an open rehearsal evening entitled ‘Sing Something Simple’ on Wednesday 12 September at Christ Church, Edde Cross Street, Ross from 7.30pm.  Rehearsals are held every week at this venue with a short social break at 8.30pm for tea and biscuits and no audition is currently required to join the choir.  For more information please ring Wendy on 01989 564442.

The Wanderer / The Canterbury Pilgrims

On May 19 2012 we combined with Ledbury Community Choir in the Shire Hall, Hereford, for a performance of

John Frith’s ‘The Wanderer’
George Dyson’s ‘The Canterbury Pilgrims’

John Frith

John Frith

‘The Wanderer’, a 40-minute work for chorus and orchestra, was composed by John Frith, who lives in Ledbury, as a commission for the Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2008 when its first and only complete performance to date was given by Ledbury Community Choir. It is a setting of eight poems by John Masefield, who was also a Ledbury resident. The poems are entitled: Cargoes, Tewkesbury Road, Beauty, On Eastnor Knoll, The Seekers, Trade Winds, Sea fever and The Wanderer’s Song.


George Dyson

George Dyson

George Dyson’s ‘The Canterbury Pilgrims’, settings for soloists, chorus and orchestra of portraits chosen from the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, was very popular with choral societies for a decade or so after its composition in 1930 but has since fallen out of the repertoire. The music is ‘uncomplicated, self-confident, vivacious and tuneful’ and the work deserves a revival. Moreover, it forms a perfect partner for ‘The Wanderer’, both works being about travelling and requiring similar orchestral and choral forces. The two works in their entirety are too long for the same concert and so, by permission of Oxford University Press, some of the portraits set for solo singer were read by Bernadette Kearney, a former BBC West Midlands television presenter and newsreader. The movements we sang were Prologue, The Knight, The Clerk of Oxenford, The Haberdasher and his Fraternity: The Merchant, The Shipman, The Poor Parson of a Town and L’Envoie.

Inside the Shire Hall

Inside the Shire Hall, Hereford

Soloists in the Dyson work were James Rhoads, a lay clerk at Worcester Cathedral, and John Frith.