On 18th December 1946, singers throughout the region gathered to perform Handel's Messiah in the London Road Congregational Church. The preparation and performance was so enjoyable that, in January 1947, out of this nucleus of singers, the Lowestoft Choral Society was born. Excerpts from `Messiah' and `Elijah' formed the inaugural concert on 9th July 1947 and Handel's Messiah became, for a time, an annual event.
1949 saw the beginning of a long association with the Millard-Tolhurst Orchestra and throughout the years the Society has joined forces with the Lowestoft Orchestral Society, the Waveney Sinfonia and now the Lowestoft Concert Orchestra under the leadership of Stephen Blake. Professional soloists of the highest calibre have been engaged for performances of major choral works including Sir Peter Pears who was an honorary patron of the Society. Over the years the Society's repertoire and experience have widened, singing both secular and sacred works, exploring music from the 16th and 20th centuries, from baroque to modem. Workshops have been enjoyed and awards achieved at Norwich and Lowestoft Music Festivals as well as being awarded, in 1998, the Waveney District Council `Spirit of Lowestoft Shield' for making a major contribution to the life of the community.
Jennifer Baker grew up in Bradford and enjoyed a happy childhood in a family of enthusiastic amateur musicians and singers. She learned the piano from the age of seven and the violin and trumpet from 11, and benefited from inspiring class music lessons in primary school from a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and at Bradford Girls' Grammar School from Robert Sherlaw Johnson, an authority on the music of Messiaen and Boulez and himself an experimental composer and concert pianist. Abandoning early plans to read Classics at Cambridge and enter the Civil Service, Jennifer read Music at Nottingham University under Professors Ivor Keys and Denis Arnold and subsequently became a Lecturer in Music at Nottingham, specialising in Medieval and Renaissance Music and writing articles for The New Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians on 19th century Russian composers. She also conducted the University Choral Society and Orchestra and directed the Chapel Choir and Early Music Group as well as the Nottingham Music Club Orchestra and gave several recitals a year as a singer, focusing on the often-neglected repertoire of songs by Russian and French composers, and performing specially commissioned works by Czech and Serbian composers and by Nicola LeFanu and Nick Sackman. She was a founder member of an Edwardian Parlour Music Group, which was much in demand in the 1970's and 80's.
Later she worked for Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts and the English Sinfonia, planning and running community arts projects, after which experiences she co-founded the East Midlands-based Firebird Trust. On moving to Norfolk, she taught in her children's small village primary school (which gained a local reputation for its annual music productions) and set numerous children on their path to a career as professional musicians or as keen leisure singers. From 1995 to 2012, Jennifer taught performing subjects at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, where she directed musical works and plays, including Hamlet and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas- in productions with a highly topical slant. She has worked from time to time as an Adjudicator at music festivals and contributed to programmes for productions by Opera North, to academic journals and symposia and, as a reviewer, to popular music magazines. Her musical tastes are wide-ranging- from Byrd to Britten and Beethoven to the Beatles- and she was delighted to share with friends and colleagues some of her favourite songs in a "Farewell Concert" last summer. She has enjoyed "taking up the baton" once more to work with Lowestoft Choral Society as they prepare for their May concert, relishing the opportunity to explore anew two masterpieces of the choral repertoire: Faure's meditation on The Four Last Things,his Requiem and Schubert's epic struggle with faith, the Mass in A Flat.
The Lowestoft Choral Society is a registered charity and is affiliated to `Making Music', the National Federation of Music Societies. We are self-funded and have the additional support of individual Friends and Corporate Friends, drawn from the business sector of the area.
Lowestoft Choral Society is a Registered Charity (No. 1158162)
The Society is administered by a Committee appointed annually under the Rules and Policies of the Lowestoft Choral Society (adopted by the members on 29 April 2014). The Charity is administered by the same Committee members, who are registered with the Charity Commission as Trustees of the Lowestoft Choral Society acting under the Constitution (adopted by the members on 29 April 2014). New members of the Society may obtain an electronic copy of the Rules by request from the Secretary. Members of the public may obtain an electronic copy of the Lowestoft Choral Society Constitution by request (please email your name, house address, and email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org