History of Epsom Choral Society

Epsom Choral Society was founded in 1922 by Sir Humphrey Milford, publisher to the University of Oxford, to give his son Robin, a composer, experience as conductor by taking part in the Leith Hill Musical Festival (LHMF).

In 1934 Milford, was succeeded as conductor by William Cole, (who was later to follow Ralph Vaughan Williams as Conductor of the Leith Hill Musical Festival), and was the Society's President until his death in 1997.

Richard Fentiman, the Society's conductor from the end of the war until 1976, instituted the popular Christmas Concerts in St. Martin's Church. With his son, also Richard, the Society began its regular Summer Concerts and under his successor, Peter Chase, appointed in 1980, the Society expanded its programme of concerts to three a year while retaining its link with the Festival. The Society's repertoire extended further under Peter's successors, Murray Stewart and Nicholas Kok.

Robin Kimber was appointed conductor in 1991, since when the choir has both grown and improved significantly, now having a membership of over 110. Under Robin, and greatly assisted by our accompanist Marion Lea, the Choir has has performed a wide ranging repertoire including most of the major oratorio works. We have added venues outside Epsom to our schedule such as Chichester Cathedral, Hampton Court and, in London, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James, Piccadilly. We now perform five or six times a year as well as taking part in the LHMF.

Robin resigned as Musical Director in July 2015, and after one term in the very capable hands of Benedict Lewis-Smith, the Society appointed Julian Collings as MD in November 2015.

In 1996 the choir ventured abroad for the first time, to Epsom's twin-town Chantilly, near Paris. Since then, a long summer weekend tour has become a regular and highly popular part of the programme.

We are a friendly welcoming choir and also enjoy an active and entertaining social life, culminating at the start of each New Year, or thereabouts, with a party usually themed on our most recent choral tour.

Epsom Choral Society is a Registered Charity, number 273757