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Grantham Choral Society gives people an ‘opportunity to come together and do something they enjoy’

In our fifth Behind the Scenes feature, we talk to Gill Charles and David Humphries from the Grantham Choral Society.

On February 2, 1963, various choirs performed in St Wulfram’s Church, and Phillip Lank, the society’s first conductor, was asked to form a choir.

This choir sang Handel's Messiah and many of those who sang “didn’t want to stop”, said Gill Charles, chairperson of the committee.

The Grantham Choral Society performing.
The Grantham Choral Society performing.

The group then became the Grantham Musical Society, and the year after it began to perform an annual carol concert.

In 1971, the group’s name then changed to Grantham Choral Society, which it is known as now. The group is now shifting towards being known as GCS.

Since then, the group has performed many concerts throughout Grantham and this year it celebrates its Diamond Jubilee.

The first Grantham Choral Society concert in 1963.
The first Grantham Choral Society concert in 1963.
The 60th anniversary logo for the Grantham Choral Society.
The 60th anniversary logo for the Grantham Choral Society.

Today in the society, there are still five members who sang in the first concert.

David Humphreys, musical director, said: “It shows we're still doing something right 60 years later.”

The group is “very friendly” and they have a “fun time”.

Gill, who has been with the society since 1985, added: “I care passionately about the Grantham Choral Society and I make no bones about it.”

Members of the Grantham Choral Society.
Members of the Grantham Choral Society.

David joined as musical director in 2019, one term before the Covid lockdown.

He said: “I did one concert with them and we did some carols. We had lots of plans and then everything sort of stopped.

“We went online on Zoom and sort of did get-togethers in the evenings.

“It was the best you could do from home.

Members of the Grantham Choral Society have a 'fun time'.
Members of the Grantham Choral Society have a 'fun time'.

“We had to have that sense of coming together, especially during the time when we didn’t know what was going to happen.”

As the world returned to normality, the group also returned.

Returning members were “pleased to be back” but there was still an “element of people who were frightened to go or had other things to do”, said Gill.

David said he was “nervous” to come back after Covid, but said it was a “lovely atmosphere of everyone coming back together again”.

Gill believes there is a “lot to offer in Grantham [in arts and culture] and always has been”.

However, she believes that South Kesteven District Council could have more involvement with community groups to promote their awareness.

She added: “If they [SKDC] don’t get involved with the arts group, we’re not likely to be known about as much.”

As part of SKDC’s cultural strategy, it proposed to “improve and enhance” its role, and focus on partnership and collaboration as a key area.

On the importance of music, David said it is quite an “instinctive thing”.

He added: “The nice thing about the choir or something like that, it doesn’t matter what your background is, it doesn’t matter what your age is and it doesn’t matter what stage of musical development you are.

“It’s [the society] a community group [and] it’s role is to be there for everyone in the area.

“It’s about giving people an opportunity to come together, to do something they enjoy and then maybe explore something as well.”

Looking to the future of GCS, it plans to diversify its music selection and promote the group further.

Gill added: “In the past, people have seen GCS as the deliverer of serious choral music like the sort you sing in church.

“We are at the moment trying to get away from that and spread out swings.”

For more information on the Grantham Choral Society, go to https://www.granthamchoralsociety.co.uk/.

Anyone interested in joining can email granthamchoralsociety@outlook.com

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