Our History

In 2010 we celebrated 150 years …. 1860 – 2010

On the 17th and 18th of December 1859, a performance of Messiah was given in the Boys National School in Gainsborough. The following week The Lincolnshire Chronicle and Northampton, Rutland and Nottingham Advertiser reported:-

“So very successfully has the effort of native talent proved that we may look forward confidently to see a reappearance, especially as we understand the practising and instructing are to be regularly continued.”

Thus it appears that it was Messiah, arguably the most popular of all oratorios and certainly the most frequently performed by amateur choirs, that was instrumental in the formation of Gainsborough Choral Society.


Our 150th season celebrations started with a birthday meal at The Weston Rooms on 2nd November 2010, followed by our first concert of the season on 13th November – Handel’s Messiah naturally! This gala event was well attended and benefitted from financial support from Gainsborough Town Council.

Despite the atrocious weather in early December, we were relieved to be able to go ahead with our Carols for All concert on 11th December, a decision we had to make at the eleventh hour. We also gratefully acknowledge a grant from Lincolnshire Co-operative Society which, along with bequests from Grace Hesp and Donald McLintock, enabled us to purchase staging blocks to make a new and safer Conductor’s rostrum.

Our third and final concert on 26th March was definitely one of two halves – Haydn’s Nelson Mass being followed after the interval by Rutter’s entertaining Reluctant Dragon, the latter summing up the overwhelming sense of the season – one of FUN!

On June 18th, eleven members of the Society travelled to Abbey Road Studios to take part in a recording session of Karl Jenkins’ new work The Peacemakers.
Yes, we did “the crossing” and it was a privilege to take part in the recording under the baton of Karl Jenkins himself.

The CD was released in March 2012 and our choir is listed as having taken part. We sing on tracks 10 “Fiat pax in virtute tua” and 17 “Peace, triumphant Peace”. The CD soon hit the top of various classical album charts!

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Our final event for the 150th season was a coach trip to Buxton to see The Pirates of Penzance, part of the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival.
Glorious sunshine meant that we were able to wander through the Pavillion Gardens as well as taking every opportunity to visit the coffee shop and café!

The Maltese Tenor ~ Joseph Calleja

On Saturday 31st March 2012 Joseph Calleja, a rising star in the opera world, came to All Saints’ Church, Gainsborough to be filmed singing with Gainsborough Choral Society. Joseph has a new CD (Be My Love) due out on 3rd September 2012 and Decca Records were filming a video to accompany its release.

Joseph is related to one of our members, Irene and it was she who encouraged him as a young man to have vocal training. It was suggested that Joseph be filmed singing Panis Angelicus with the choir, and Irene of course!.

In just 30 minutes, we had arranged the work “on the hoof” and sung through it twice. Just a few more shots of the church interior and the film crew were finished.

We were delighted that Joseph was the featured soloist at the Last Night of the Proms in 2012.

Joseph Calleja singing with Gainsborough Choral Society


Gods of Olympus by Karl Jenkins
Premiere, Royal Albert Hall July 2012

Nineteen of our singing members joined with a similar number of singers from Market Rasen Choral Society to travel to London on 8th July to take part in The Really Big Chorus (TRBC) concert of The Armed Man plus a new work, Gods of Olympus commissioned by TRBC for this event. It was an extremely long but very enjoyable day, with Mr Jenkins in attendance for the concert.

Gainsborough and Market Rasen Choral Societies at the Royal Albert Hall

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