Choir History


The Swift Singers celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2009 with a busy, momentous year.

A BIT OF BACKGROUND!   We have been entertaining audiences in the United Kingdom and Europe for 20 years, since 1989 and we have grown in reputation as well as members.  At our inception, it was decided to call the choir S.W.I.F.T. (an acronym for South Woodham In Feminine Tune) but that was dropped because we had enough to cope with learning all new words and music let alone explaining to everybody why we had dots in between the letters!  So the Swift Singers Ladies Choir was formed –  with 22 members at our first concert a year later (consisting of all Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers) in 1990. Dave Brooker was our Musical Director.

(Click an image to enlarge)

The Inaugural Concert is upon us - No Pressure

Choir c1992

 Since those humble beginnings the Swifts have gone from strength to strength.

2008: The Swifts enjoyed a certain amount of success in the Television Programme “Last Choir Standing” – when we reached the last 60 choirs from hundreds of applications and actually went to London to sing in front of a panel of music experts including Russell Watson, with Nick Knowles and Myleene Klass as presenters.  Our new CD “Reflections” was also released and includes such favourites as “Memory”, “Send in the Clowns”, “Fields of Gold”, “You Raise Me Up”, “Ave Maria” and many more.

2009:   Our Anniversary Year began with our regular afternoon concert in February for our Over 60’s residents in South Woodham Ferrers and surrounding areas where we provide tea and cakes and tickets are at ‘give away’ prices.  This concert is always popular and we struggle to accommodate.

Our next concert was in Maldon, Essex and we were joined by the Honley Ladies Choir from Yorkshire and The Cavender Singers from  Clacton, Essex.  The Swifts had visited the Yorkshire ladies in 2008 where we were warmly welcomed and we wanted to reciprocate with our own unique form of Essex hospitality.  Rumour has it that everyone had a good time – not forgetting the audience!

The climax of our year was a little bit self indulgent.  The ladies and a few of our own special VIP guests were treated to a magnificent lunch in The New Hall School, Chelmsford.  Dressing up in our finery was the order of the day and we had various speeches.  It was lovely to see some familiar faces and listen to guests recalling their own particular memories.  We also unveiled our new uniforms for the evening concert  – where guests arrived at 6pm to be greeted with wine and canapés in the grounds and a harpist playing.  The Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford enjoyed a wonderful concert with a mixture from our repertoire past and present ranging from Stage and Film and Renaissance to Elgar with a few surprises on the way!  This was followed by more wine and chatting!

Since September we have been learning a complete new repertoire and as we have now grown to over 70 choristers, it has helped the new ladies to have several rehearsal nights of pure note bashing!

2010:  This year saw us with a full programme, including our Senior Citizens concert in February,  an away trip to Croydon to sing with the Croydon Male Voice Choir and a wonderful Strawberry Cream Tea concert in Maldon at the height of the summer.  We entertained the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir in July at Christchurch in Chelmsford where we staged a joint concert to a packed audience.  The highlight of the year must go to the trophy we won at the Isle of Man Festival of Choirs – what a great weekend in September!   Obviously we were very disappointed to cancel our Christmas concert at the Holy Trinity Church but the heavy snow prevented us from doing so.

2011:  See our Events Calendar for the latest info.   The year is fully underway and we have had three concerts already this year with a Golden Wedding surprise party as well.  Our Committee changed slightly this year and we said goodbye to Barbara Whybrow but welcomed back Gill Owen and Marina Partridge.    Margaret Small is now our Chairman, with Chris Hutson (Treasurer) and Carol Selwood (Secretary) ably assisting her as Officers.  Two great concerts this year were held – one in May in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Chelmsford in support of Essex Air Ambulance and one in November in support of Amnesty International with all proceeds to both charities.   2011 also saw the launch of our Christmas CD priced at £8   lots of lovely wintry songs for you to listen to on the sofa on those long winter evenings!

2012: We had a very full programme of concerts in 2012 including our regualr performances for older residents of South Woodham Ferrers and a concert in Maldon with Caroline Ademeit-Gadd.

We were disappointed that our trip to the Choir of the year competition was cancelled due to the snow but look forward to more challenges to come in 2013.

Clive Smith - (Musical Director)

Clive Smith (Musical Director)


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Derrick Thompson - (Accompanist)

Derrick Thompson (Accompanist)


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