This photo shows our Musical Director, Crispin Lewis cutting the cake at our 150th anniversary dinner in May 2022 with a selection of material from our 150 year archive in the background.
Luton Choral Society gave our first performance of Haydn's The Creation in December 1871. Since then, under only nine musical dicrectors, we have performed in many venues within the town and elsewhere. The Society has performed under a number of eminent guest conductors, including Sir Henry Wood and Sir Adrian Boult, particularly during the Second World War, when the BBC transferred its musical activities to Bedford.
The principal conductor of the Society for twenty years from 1940 to 1960 was Arthur E Davies, who also conducted the famous Luton Girls' Choir. Since that time each conductor has stamped his own mark on the Society and established links with other groups and soloists. Dr Kenneth Abbott (1960 - 1979) intr0duced such soloists as Felicity Palmer, Robert Tear, and Lesley Garrett, and enabled the Society to sing with the Hemel Hempstead Orchestra. During the eighties Colin Smith (1980 - 1989) established a close relationship with Luton Symphony Orchestra, and enabled the members to sing at charity concerts in the Royal Albert Hall.
Julian Mann was the next to take over the baton and remained Musical Director for seventeen years until July 2006. During that time a wide repertoire of music was performed from the well known choral works of Handel, Mendelssohn and Bach to the lesser known works of Vinter, Finzi, and Rutter.
Crispin Lewis joined Luton Choral Society as Musical Director in 2006. Concert highlights have included a performance of the African Sanctus, a Community project held in the Carnival Arts Centre in 2012.
Since then the choir has had the opportunity to perform joint concerts with Crispin's other choirs, including Elgar's Dream of Gerontius in London, Bach's St Matthew Passion and more recently Haydn's The Creation.
Luton Choral Society was honoured to be invited to perform A lIfe Lived with Grace at the lighting of the beacon ceremony outside the Town Hall for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
There is a great deal of history in our 150 years, and a comprehensive review is included in our 80 page document here which opens in a new window.