The Bishop's Stortford Musical Association (BSMA) was founded in 1940 and in 1984 it was renamed the Bishop's Stortford Choral Society. It is a registered charity and is proud of its role in bringing both new and established composers before a local audience.
BSMA’s first concert, which was of Christmas music, was held in St. Michael's Church in 1940 under the baton of Mr L. Dupere. Christmas concerts remain a most popular part of our repertoire, the most recent in 2015 with Richard Brain conducting JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio to a full house at the Methodist Church.
We are currently a group of nearly 100 singers led by Musical Director Richard Brain and supported by Liz Hill, our accompanist. We rehearse on a Thursday evening at 7.45 pm at Water Lane United Reformed Church between September and July.
We usually perform with professional soloists and accompanists and use various venues both locally such as All Saints’ Hockerill, the Water Lane United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church and Rhodes Arts Complex and further afield including Chelmsford Cathedral, Thaxted Church and even the in The Royal Albert Hall, where we sang Berlioz’ Requiem as part of the Joint Hertfordshire Choirs in 2007.
We enjoy an exciting range of music. Recent concerts have included Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Coronation Anthems, Michael Tippett’s Spirituals, Rutter’s Sprig of Thyme, Vaughan Williams’ Folk Songs plus Britten’s St Nicolas, Elgar’s Music Makers, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Mass in B minor and Mendelssohns's Elijah. In the past we have been privileged to give premiere performances of works by Menotti and Gordon Jacob and more recently to stage lesser known works, e.g. Canterbury Pilgrims by Dyson and Gorecki’s Totus Tuus.
While we do not require members to audition, Richard Brain, our Musical Director, encourages us to explore our full potential as a choir, focusing on improving our technique as individuals and as a high-quality ensemble. He is passionate about singers realising their talent and enjoying their music-making.