Hoes5Our Background

In 1975, Stuart Gill, Music Adviser for Solihull Education Authority, became worried by the lack of musical culture in the recently developed northern part of Solihull Borough. He therefore decided to form a choral society and enlisted the help of Harold Enstone who was Head teacher of Marston Green Junior School and himself a professionally accomplished musician.In September of that year they jointly started The Chelmsley Wood Choral Society. The choir began as a further education evening class, rehearsing at Whitesmore School in Chelmsley Wood. Some 40 people joined and in December 1975 performed Handel’s “Messiah” in St Leonard’s church, Marston Green. The following spring, the choral society presented “Elijah” by Felix Mendelssohn and regularly gave three or four concerts each year.

At the end of the 1975/6 academic year, the conductors and members of the choir agreed to operate as an independent group and separated from the further education centre. In the third year of the choirs existence, Stephen Lansberry, Head of Music at St Peter’s School, Solihull, took over as Musical Director and after a few years the rehearsals moved to St Andrew’s Church Centre, Chelmsley Wood.

1981 saw the first choral exchange with the Stadtkantorei Choir in Barsinghausen, Germany. These bi-annual exchanges continued until recently but With the German choirs reorganizations, the visits no longer take place although contact is maintained between the two choirs.

Following Stephen Lansberry’s resignation in 1983, the Choral Society moved to its present rehearsal venue at The Baptist Free Church, Land Lane, Marston Green and was directed by Philip Litchfield until 1989 when the present Musical Director, Martin Bates took over.

From then on the choir has developed further into a very versatile group and performances range from early music, through to pieces written by Martin Bates which bring together the best of the choirs abilities and his writing talent. The Choir also promotes the development of the The Heart of England Orchestra,to develop the talents of young musicians from the local area by offering orchestral experience that is difficult to find in many places.