Nicholas Thorpe has been conductor of Southwell Choral Society since 1998 when he took over from Peter Wood. His involvement with choral music began as a chorister in Southwell Minster, continuing as Lay Clerk before leaving school. He was a Choral Scholar in Winchester Cathedral before returning to Southwell as a Lay Clerk. Nicholas first directed choirs as a pupil at Southwell Minster Grammar School in House Music Competitions. As a student at King Alfred’s College, Winchester he directed the student chamber choir for two years. On his return to Nottinghamshire he became accompanist to the Freda White Choir, Mansfield and when Freda retired conducted them for ten years. In 1987 he became director of the Newstead Abbey Singers and has led them ever since. He has trained choirs and singing groups as part of his teaching work in a variety of Nottinghamshire schools and organisations and is a member of the Southwell Minster Choral Outreach team. Nick enjoys all kinds of music but particularly relishes the challenge of new or unusual pieces and promoting the work of local and emerging composers. The Association of British Choral Directors has been a key part of his life. He served a term as Deputy Chair and is chair of the Midland Region. At events and Conventions he has been able to learn from renowned choral directors from all over the world. Now retired from teaching he spends his time on the golf course, behind a lens, in the greenhouse, singing in the Loveden Quartet, walking in the country and towing a caravan.
Brian Robins joined Southwell Choral Society in 1995. At the first rehearsal, the conductor Peter Wood was also playing the piano. Brian offered to stand in as a temporary accompanist and Peter immediately gave him the job! Early in 2000 he became Assistant conductor as well and he conducts the choir in the annual “Carols for Everyone” charity concert given by Southwell Lions.
Now retired, Brian worked as a music teacher in schools in England and later as Deputy Head at the Joseph Whitaker School in Nottinghamshire. Southwell Choral Society owes Brian a huge debt of gratitude for his time and hard work given so generously.
The Ensemble of Southwell
The Ensemble of Southwell draws principally on the musical talent within the county and particularly around Southwell. Many of them are talented young musicians looking for experience in a professional arena before going on to further their music studies. They are now the resident orchestra with Southwell Choral Society and have ably performed demanding works with the Society, premiere performances and worked with famous soloists, most notably Willard White.