We are a small, friendly group, professionally led and based in Southampton. We give at least two local concerts a year, one in January, and one in May or June.
Our repertoire is wide, including folk songs, other part songs, longer classical works, classic popular songs and some recently composed works.
We are also a very international group. We welcome visitors from different musical traditions, who would like to join us for a period. We have a regular exchange with two French choirs in Normandy: Doublecroche et Contrepoint of St. André de L'Eure, and La Chorale de Nonancourt.
We were founded in 1986 by members of Southampton CND who enjoyed singing and began giving occasional concerts, led jointly by Rita March and Rita Leighton. The idea evolved to have fun and to raise money for various good causes. Our original name was Conchord Singers, devised by Rita March to include the letters CND. Eventually, the choir was permanently constituted under Donald Hughes, who established links with the international organisation, Sing for Pleasure. At this time we revised our name to Conchord Singers. Over the years, we expanded our repertoire to include more ambitous works, as our abilities grew.
We began working with our present conductor, Craig Lawton, in June 2010. As well as directing Conchord Singers, Craig currently holds positions with the Winchester Chamber Orchestra, the Charity Symphony Orchestra and as Director of Music at Christ Church Freemantle. In June 2014, he conducted the Ostfold Symphony Orchestra in Norway, alongside friend and colleague Jon Fylling. In August, he returned to London with the Charity Symphony Orchestra to take part in the Merton Abbey Mills Festival.
In addition to having a busy conducting schedule, Craig enjoys organising collaborative projects between ensembles and musicians who share his passion and ethos. A notable project that gained local and national media attention was the successful performance of all 104 symphonies of Haydn in 2009, the bicentenary year of his death, at the Turner Sims Concert Hall.
Craig intially studied with Dr John Traill, and then at the University of Southampton he studied conducting with Robin Browning, and organ with Sarah Baldock. He has continued to develop his technical skills with Jason Lai in London, and in Berlin with Prof. Colin Metters from the Royal Academy of Music.
Craig was the first and only person to conduct the City of Southampton Orchestra under its Assistant Conductor Scheme. Whilst still at university, he became assistant conductor to the University Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta. Outtside the UK, Craig has conducted in concert venues in France, Berlin and Bulgaria. His most interesting venue to date was deep inside a cave in Cornwall, conducting the Charity Symphony Orchestra!
Off the podium, Craig enjoys playing percussion with local orchestras. When not rehearsing or performing, you can often find him in the Waterloo enjoying a good pint of real ale with friends.