History

The Oriana Singers 

The Oriana Singers were founded, by John Francis, in 1966 as a group of 14 singers drawn from the Tunbridge Wells area. The choir met for its first rehearsal on Sunday 9 October 1966 at 8 pm. and gave its first performance in public at St Michael and All Angels, Withyham on 23 October 1966, with a programme ranging from Weelkes and Gibbons to the 20th Century.

The choir made their first Cathedral visit on 7 March 1970, singing Evensong at Guildford Cathedral. Their first full weekend of services was on 2 and 3 January 1971 at Salisbury Cathedral and, inspired by their visit, the choir set out to sing at every one of the 26 Medieval Cathedrals in England. This was achieved in April 1982 with a visit to Carlisle Cathedral. The Oriana Singers went on to sing at all the 16 post-medieval foundations; crowning this achievement by singing the services for the week of 5-11 August 1996 at Truro Cathedral.


In the early days, the choir membership was 4 Sopranos, 4 altos, 3 Tenors and 3 Basses. The membership has slowly increased over the years to allow the performance of a wider repertoire and currently stands at up to 24 members.
John Francis is still our Patron but stepped down as Musical Director in 1990.  Caroline Johnson took over from John and was succeeded by Sally Moss Tallon in 1996. The Oriana Singers were then directed by Peter Collins who handed the baton back to Caroline Johnson at the beginning of 2010.


Besides the visits to Church of England Cathedrals the Oriana Singers have appeared on radio and television and sung in many other historic churches including: Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, St George's Chapel - Windsor, St Martin in the Fields, Notre Dame - Paris, Chartres Cathedral and Bruges Cathedral. We have continuing links, through performance, attendance or individual choir membership, with many Churches of different denominations in the Tunbridge Wells area. 

 

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Our Musical Director, organist and choir members
Oriana Singers first Cathedral visit to Guildford Cathedral - March 1970
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