Belvedere Singers


Belvedere Singers

A friendly choir in the beautiful seaside town of Swanage

The Choir

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Belvedere Singers are a Swanage based choir which was formed in 1989 as an offshoot of the Swanage Choral & Operatic Society; the choir was named after the Swanage house where the first meetings of the choir and rehearsals took place. In January 2015 the choir became a registered charity no 1160197, the objects of the charity being to advance, improve, develop and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the art and science of music in all its aspects by any means the trustees see fit, including the presentation of concerts and recitals.

We are a mixed group of amateur singers who meet weekly to rehearse and then perform concerts in the Swanage area. We are a non-auditioning choir and members vary widely in ability from competent musicians and performers, to those who have joined the choir because they simply enjoy singing. As well as learning from our Music Director, we support each other to improve our understanding of music and singing, and we have a lot of fun in the process.

Choir members currently pay £130 per annum membership fee, payable yearly or in two instalments of £65 each. Funds are also raised through a number of other activities, including easyfundraising online, recycling ink cartridges, table top sales and donations.

We meet on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm with a short break. Rehearsals are at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 160 Victoria Avenue, Swanage BH19 1AZ. There is parking on site. Rehearsals start in September and continue until mid June. There are also short breaks of two weeks each at Christmas and Easter. New members are always most welcome.

Our two main concerts are in December and May and are held at St Mary’s Church in Swanage. A retiring collection is made in support of a local charity. We are well known for performing a wide and varied range of music including operatic choruses, religious items, folk songs and popular songs from stage and screen.



People

Clive Watkiss

Clive Watkiss

Music Director

Clive began his musical training as a chorister at Waltham Abbey in Essex. He went on to study piano, cello and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and, subsequently, took advanced conducting studies with Harry Newstone (Sacramento Symphony Orchestra) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has worked as musical director with a number of different organisations including Progress Theatre Reading, the Berkshire Shakespeare Players, Southampton Solent University, Park Opera Bracknell and various other orchestral and choral ensembles. Clive is also a composer; his music has been performed in a number of cathedrals in the UK and at St Georges Chapel, Windsor, the choir of which recorded his setting of ‘Dormi Jesu’ on their album Christmas Joy Volume Four. Most recently, in August 2017, his setting of ‘Ubi Caritas,’ commissioned by Judy Martin - musical director of the vocal group Voces Sacrae, was given its first performance by that ensemble in St Jean-de-Cole in the Dordogne. Clive presently teaches music at St Swithun’s School in Winchester.

Isabelle Butler

Isabelle Butler

Accompanist

Isabelle piano trained at the Birmingham School of Music and City of Birmingham Teacher Training College. Having won the Concerto Trials she played at Birmingham Town Hall, Aston University and in Vienna on an exchange visit with students from the Conservatoire, as well as broadcasting on the radio. She taught music in Leicester and Birmingham schools and subsequently became a peripatetic string teacher working with schools and orchestras. Since moving to Swanage she has been Musical Director of productions at what is now the Swanage Musical Theatre Society, her most recent show being Guys and Dolls in 2011. Isabelle has been the accompanist for the Belvedere Singers since 2000 and is also the regular accompanist for Canzonetta.