LUCIS is a new choir founded in 2014 consisting of the members of Bath’s Organum choir and Corsham Choral Society, two established groups with long and successful histories of music-making behind them. The resounding success of some recent joint ventures convinced their members of the greater range and scope of musical performance that they and their audiences can enjoy by merging to form a single, larger choir.
Corsham Choral Society traces its origins back to the, then, Corsham Choir which began giving public concerts in 1858 and continued to flourish, with a change of name along the way, until 1932. It was the vision and energy of local musician John Nourse that saw the revival of Corsham Choral in 1989, leading to another 25 years of choral singing in Corsham under three different musical directors including Colin Howard and finally Francis Faux. Organum grew out of a small group of singers in the village of Colerne to become, in 1996, a Bath-based choir under the leadership of Colin Hunt. Initially drawing much of its membership from the east side of Bath, the choir steadily grew in size and continued for many years to fulfil its original objective of bringing choral music to the villages in the environs of the city.
The common factor uniting the two choirs was the musicianship and charismatic leadership of musical director Francis Faux who, together with accompanist Will Ashworth, inspired both choirs to new levels of musical ambition in the scale and quality of performance they could achieve. Francis took over as Musical Director of Organum in 2009 and of Corsham Choral at the end of 2011. The choirs first combined in 2013 to give a stirring performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Wiltshire Music Centre. This proved to be a springboard for still greater things: in May 2014 the two choirs gave a highly acclaimed concert in a packed Bath Abbey as the flagship event of Bath’s commemoration of the start of the First World War. The concert, held in conjunction with the Royal British Legion, included the European premiere of Christopher Tin’s Kia Hora Te Marino and concluded with a stunning performance of Karl Jenkins’ mass for peace, The Armed Man. The choirs later repeated this work as the centrepiece of the ‘Redcliffe Remembers’ event at Bristol’s St Mary Redcliffe Church on 4th August, contributing to the national ‘Lights Out’ commemoration of that historic day. The final collaboration of the two separate choirs was A Christmas Celebration, a concert of seasonal music at St Luke’s Church on 20th December. Alongside the undoubted success of these joint concerts the musical friendships between the members of the two choirs were consolidated during a shared concert tour in Tuscany in the summer of 2013 – an experience that was repeated with a similar tour to Prague in 2015.
These two choirs, each with its own distinct character and background, have now merged to take their musical life forward into fresh challenges and fresh opportunities under the new name of LUCIS. Its members know that it is above all a love of shared music-making and the pursuit of ever higher standards that has united them in taking this bold step into the future.