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We are always happy to welcome new recruits; just get in touch with us by emailing or through the contacts page.

A brief history of the Manwood Singers

The Singers were set up 21 years ago in September 1992 by Andrew Larner, the Head of Music at Sir Roger Manwood’s School. The small choir was formed partly to support music at the school and to promote the enjoyment of singing enjoy learning music. Since then our numbers have increased to 50. We still support school events each year. We are still based in Sandwich. We rehearse at the School. Many of our concerts take place in St Mary’s Church on Strand Street.

Manwood Singers is a charity (registered number 1088799). It has five officers – the Chairman, the Secretary, the Treasurer, Membership Secretary and Librarian as well as its hard working committee members. The committee is always busy organising concerts and social events.

We have had 4 talented musical directors, including Andrew Larner (1992–1996), Steve Portman, (1996) Derek Hyde (1996–2003) and now our very own Martyn Jordan. We were accompanied for many years at rehearsals by Gillian Greenacre. She also sometimes played duets with Derek Hyde at concerts – the Golliwogs’ cake walk was a favourite piece. Since her untimely death Robert Tapsell has taken us on and we are very lucky to have him still working with us.

The choir has always enjoyed setting itself challenges by singing pieces which are not particularly well known or easy to perform. The music is set out on our concert history page. We sing a wide range of repertoire – from masses to songs from the shows, carols to jazz. Our singers have always had varying levels of skill – we practice hard but do not expect everyone to read music when they join. We have never auditioned a singer.

We have two major concerts each year and another event sometime in the Spring. The Spring events have included a Victorian soirée, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta in costume and in 2013 a singing day with Adrian Lucas to celebrate our 20th birthday.

Socially there is always plenty to do – we have had visits from an American choir – the Cape Cod Chorale, in 1998 as well as two twinning weekends with the Mabelvoy choir from Moutiers in 2005 and 2008. We have had visits to Finchcocks in Sussex, opera visits, singing days in London, including one recently, with John Rutter organised by the Royal College of Organists. We have had summer barbeques, walks and suppers. We have a choir dinner every year. The latest one was at the Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich, a splendid evening, which we reached by driving through a mile of floods.

We raised money in 2006 to buy our staging, which is available for hire by other groups in and around Sandwich. The staging is soon to be stored in St Mary’s Church. We are very grateful to St Mary’s Church committee and the Churches Conservation Trust in being allowed to do this. We hope that the staging can then be used by more people, and make St Mary’s even more popular as an Arts Centre.

We always go for a drink after rehearsal. For years we went to the King’s Arms but as it became more successful as a restaurant and more crowded, we moved to the Crispin in Sandwich, where we can now be found sampling the pasties and putting the world to rights each Thursday.