Wellingborough Orpheus Choir

Our mixed voice choir performs three or four concerts a year, singing mainly major choral works, but also songs from the shows, operetta and other light music.  We currently have around 50 members.

New members are always welcome.

A brief history of the choir

The Wellingborough Orpheus Choir was founded in 1953 by Frank Stalvies, with the aims of providing entertainment for the people of Wellingborough and of helping to raise funds for local charitable organisations.

Arthur Jakeman became Musical Director in 1955 and continued in that role for nearly 25 years until June 1979, when he was succeeded by Alan Chesters, who retired in April 2002.

During the 1980s we began to venture further afield, joining with other Northamptonshire choirs and the Northamptonshire Youth Orchestra for performances at the Royal Albert Hall, under the direction of Malcolm Tyler.  These included Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.

We were delighted to welcome Jonathan Sheldon as our Musical Director in 2002, when the Choir went from strength to strength, improving in both the standard of singing and in confidence. During Jonathan’s time with us we started to use professional soloists for our major concerts, with ‘scratch’ orchestras made up of local professional and amateur musicians, led by Robert Lamb and billed as the ‘Orpheus Players’.

Jonathan was succeeded by David Bray in 2010. The founder of the County Youth Choir, David focused on the sounds of words, and the choir continued to improve under his leadership. David had to leave us in 2013 due to work commitments, but he helped to find us our next MD, Andrew Moodie, who had recently retired from his post as Director of Music at Pitsford School, Northampton. Andrew was a former conductor of the County Boys’ Choir and is still Director of Music at Kingsthorpe Parish Church, Northampton. He brought to the choir some very useful contacts, as two of his children, Hannah and Nicolas, are professional soloists. Andrew also had to leave us due to work commitments at the end of 2016, but we were fortunate to secure the services of Mark McBride, another former teacher of music in schools. Mark’s wife, Michelle, herself a music teacher and choral conductor, was a welcome addition to the soprano section and we enjoyed their leadership for three years until they moved to Norfolk.

In 2021 we welcomed Nicolas Moodie, Andrew’s son, as our new MD.

The Choir in 1986 with Alan Chesters, the then Musical Director, at the piano.
Performance of the Messiah in Niort in 1985 with the Chorale 
des Amis de l’Ecole Normale de Niort and the Bach Choir of Coburg