Early history of Corsley Festival Choir
The Choir archives show that The Reformed Church Of St. Margaret’s Of Antioch Children’s Choir formed the nucleus of a new adult choir singing festival services from around 1965. The choir numbers increased over the years, and carol concerts were given in people’s homes and at the Women’s Institute. In 1981, at the behest of the rector Peter Stone and under the baton of the choir master Geoffrey Bayman, the choir now 20 strong sung Olivet to Calvary. This was the choir’s first attempt at a full-scale work.
The early years of the choir were only possible through the achievements of Audrey De-Jersey who initially founded the church choir and with her husband Esthan De-Jersey taught and enthused the choir members during the early years. Esthan died in the late 1970’s and Audrey remained a singing member until 1985 and died in 1990, a week after attending a splendid performance of The Messiah.
Geoffrey Bayman conducted the choir until 1983 when Sue Watts became the regular and dynamic choir master. Numbers quickly increased with some 40 singers and 2 concerts per year. By 1990 the strength of the choir had increased to more than 50. John Ashton-Jones took over from Sue Watts as choir master in 1988.
This summarises the early years of the choir. Since then the choir has performed major choral works in May and December each year, usually with a Christmas theme at the December concert.