St Paul's Knightsbridge Festival Choir is a long established, friendly and sociable choir of about 80 singers. We perform a wide variety of major works, normally with an orchestra. The venue for our performances is usually St Paul's Church in Wilton Place, Knightsbridge.
The choir is formally registered as a charity aimed at advancing, improving, developing and maintaining public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music in all its aspects by the presentation of public concerts.
Above: St Paul's Church Knightsbridge, the main venue for SPKFC concerts. www.stpaulsknightsbridge.org (Photograph by Stephen Willerton)
HOW TO JOIN
SINGING MEMBERS Newcomers will receive a very warm welcome. If you wish to know more about joining the choir including details of membership and subscription please call Veronica Edwards on 020 8940 8734 Alternatively complete the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PATRONS As not all members wish to, or necessarily can, be singers, non-singers are termed Patrons on payment of the appropriate subscription decided by the committee. Membership of the choir is open to any person interested in furthering the objects of the choir. The support of our patrons is greatly appreciated and is recognised in our concert programmes. For further information please call Veronica Edwards on 020 8940 8734 or complete the contact form.
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St Paul's Knightsbridge Festival Choir is always seeking new singers. All newcomers will receive a warm welcome. Come, you don't need an invitation or an introduction. Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings from 18.45pm to 20.45pm in the Parish Hall of St. Stephen’s, 48 Emperor's Gate, London SW7 4HJ (see map below)
TRANSPORT The nearest Underground station is Gloucester Road, served by District, Circle and Piccadilly Line. Bus 74 stops nearby on Cromwell Road.
CONTACT If you would like to join or make an enquiry please call Veronica Edwards on 020 8940 8734. Alternatively complete the contact form or email email@example.com
SPKFC rehearse at St Stephen's Church Hall, London SW7 4HJ
The St Paul's Knightsbridge Festival Choir was founded in the 1930s by Richard (Dick) Latham and rapidly became an integral part of the musical life of St.Paul's Church in Wilton Place. The choir's first President was Sir Walford Davies, then organist of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and the conductor was Richard Latham, St Paul's organist and father of today's conductor.
In 1939 performances of the Brahms Requiem, Bach's St John Passion and Mozart's Requiem Mass were given. Such a large choir of boys' voices singing with an orchestra was something unique at that time. In 1945, after the war, Richard (Dick) Latham reconstituted the choir as a choral society of mixed voices. Thus it has continued, performing to orchestral accompaniment the great works of the choral repertoire, from early music to modern pieces.
Today under the direction of Richard Latham the choir performs three concerts a year. It continues to give immense pleasure to countless music lovers who come to St Paul's from overseas and from other parts of London, as well as St Paul's parishioners.
SPKFC in the 1970s
Richard Latham with his wife Ysobel
A FAMILY VIEW - RICHARD LATHAM The St Paul's Festival Choir was founded by my father in the mid-1930s specifically to perform Bach's St John Passion during Lent in the Parish Church of St Paul, Wilton Place Knightsbridge. The choir flourished, and by 1938 comprised one hundred boys and thirty men. After the war, my father relaunched the choir as a choral society of mixed voices, many of the sopranos and altos being students at the Royal College of Music. My mother was also closely connected with the choir, accompanying all the rehearsals and organising the smooth running of the choir in every way possible until she retired through ill health. When I took over the conductorship of the choir in 1980 I was indeed fortunate to have her support and wonderful keyboard ability at rehearsals. She took great pride in knowing every member of the choir by name and made sure my father and I did the same.
Many members of my family have either sung in the choir or played in our concerts. My children, sister, brother in law and various cousins have all joined the choral ranks at one time or another, and my youngest daughter is a present member. Ysobel, my wife, has played in the violin section for over twenty years and my father in law (for over 40 years principal viola in the BBC Symphony Orchestra) also played in many of our concerts. Nicholas Danks, the organist, is Ysobel's nephew.
Choir members meet on Thursday evenings to rehearse for three concerts a season; many have been with the choir for a number of years and travel long distances to participate. I am always struck by the loyalty of our singers and supporters, and their enthusiasm and sheer enjoyment of the music, making it all so rewarding for a conductor. We always have room for more singers of every voice, and are delighted to welcome new members into our ranks
NICHOLAS DANKS Nicholas Danks was born in Harrow, Middlesex in 1974 into a family of professional musicians. He began playing the piano at the age of four and his interest in church music began at his prep school, Quainton Hall, Harrow, where he sang in the chapel choir. At the age of nine he joined the choir of the Parish Church of St Mary, Harrow-on-the-Hill. He began learning the organ at the age of thirteen under the tuition of Frederic Goodwin, the organist at St Mary's and also director of music at Nicolas's secondary school, the John Lyon School Harrow. Whilst still at school, Nicholas became assistant organist at St Mary's and gained his A.RCO. Diploma. He sang with and accompanied the school choirs and toured with them to France, Germany and the Czech Republic. On leaving school, Nicholas went as organ scholar to read music at Corpus Christie College, Cambridge, where he played a full part in the musical life of the college and university as an organist, cellist and choral director. At Cambridge he studied the organ with David Sanger, graduating in the summer of 1996. For five years he was assistant organist, and since June 2001 he has been Musical Director at St Martin in the Fields.'
RICHARD LATHAM Richard Latham FRCO., ARCM, began his musical training as a chorister at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Educated at Radley College and the Royal College of Music, he went on to become Organ Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford. He then became Assistant Organist at Peterborough Cathedral and later Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral, where he was also Director of Music at the King's School.
For twenty one years until 1997 he was Director of Music at Bishop's Stortford College. His other musical activities include conducting the Madrigal Society of London of which he is Director of Music and examining for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music.
Richard Latham has been the conductor of St Paul's (Knightsbridge) Festival Choir since taking over from his father in 1980.