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about the choir
The Royal Free Singers is an un-auditioned amateur choir with a membership of around 150. It has served the Windsor area since 1973 under our conductor, Ben Gunner.
This is a community choir where people come together every Wednesday evening at Trevelyan School Hall to rehearse and then perform wonderful concerts - often in Windsor Parish Church or Eton College School Hall. We are a sociable group of people, welcoming new members of whatever standard - the more experienced and musically confident supporting those who have further to grow in their singing.
As well as termly concerts, there are tours to look forward to - every two years a trip abroad for a week or so, weekend tours and day trips, too. There is always singing involved, and much more besides.
We aim to enrich the community, developing all our knowledge and appreciation of the art and science of music, in its many aspects, by the presentation of public concerts.
what we do Some of the works we have undertaken in the past few years:
Jonathan Wilcocks: A Great and Glorious Victory
Bach: Mass in B Minor
Giles Swayne: Missa Tiburtina
Schubert: Miriam’s Song of Triumph
Will Todd: Mass in Blue
A selection of American music - with guest conductor, Brad Holmes
David Fanshawe: African Sanctus
who we are
Ben Gunner, our conductor
Benedict Gunner founded the choir in 1973. His warm personality and passion for beautiful choral music infects the whole choir. We all enjoy his wit as well as his encouragement.
As well as being the Conductor of the Royal Free Singers, Ben is the Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of London and also undertakes freelance conducting engagements in Europe. He has sung with most of London's Chamber Choirs and in particular with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He studied conducting with Bernard Keefe at Trinity College of Music and with Laszlo Heltay.
He is the Director of Musica Europa , a concert tour agency. John Chantrey, our accompanist for rehearsal and sometimes concerts.
‘Man of a Thousand Fingers’
It is hard to describe John’s brilliance. He seems to have more fingers than any other pianist we know! His musical knowledge is extraordinary, and his hints and tips are delivered with a gentle good humour that makes us all smile. If the altos are struggling, for example, we will become aware that our notes are being played just that little bit louder than all the others. The ‘Thank you, John’ applause at the end of every rehearsal is heartfelt!
The choir runs on the energy of willing volunteers. Our committee are elected at the Annual General Meeting each year. They meet every six to eight weeks to discuss the programme, keep an eye on finance, organise social activities and ensure that everything runs smoothly. The Chair, Treasurer and Secretary all
have a limited term of office. Many other members of the choir also help out by looking after new members, ordering and distributing music, organising refreshments, collecting money, running the 100 Club and the Friends group.
Jonathan Willcocks, Our patron
We are delighted to have Jonathan Willlcocks as our patron. His published music includes major choral works, works for children's choir, many shorter pieces (including anthems and secular choral music), and instrumental works. There are now many recordings of Jonathan's music and his music is frequently performed and broadcast in many parts of the world. Johnathan Willcocks' website