WELCOME TO SUMMERTOWN CHORAL SOCIETY

A well-established, mixed-voice choir based in Summertown, Oxford

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Join us to sing the St John Passion

The St John Passion, a glorious choral work by Johann Sebastian Bach, was composed just over 300 years ago and first performed in St Nicholas Church, Leipzig, at the Vespers service on Good Friday in 1724. This was during Bach’s first year as director of music in Leipzig, where he remained for the next 27 years.

One of the greatest and most powerful musical works ever written, it was described by Robert Schumann as ‘more daring, forceful and dramatic’ than Bach’s St Matthew Passion, written three years later. Two magnificent extended choruses at the beginning and end frame the four elements of the work: speech rhythm narration, the ferocious and taut ‘crowd’ choruses, operatic-style arias, and Lutheran chorale melodies exquisitely harmonised by Bach.

Under the baton of our conductor, Duncan Saunderson, we shall be singing the excellent and very accessible English version of the text, in the New Novello edition. The orchestral accompaniment for the concert will be, as for several of the choir’s previous performances, by Instruments of Time and Truth, who know and love the music intimately.  It will be a great experience for audience and singers alike.

Rehearsals begin on Thursday 12 September 2024. Come and join us! 


Summertown Choral Society’s weekly rehearsals take place on Thursday evenings, 8-9.30pm, at St Michael’s Church, Lonsdale Road, Summertown, Oxford. We welcome all voice parts and abilities and there is no audition. Newcomers are welcome to try us for an evening in the early weeks of term.

Our next term starts on Thursday 12th September 2024. Join us to sing Bach’s St John Passion.

More about Summertown Choral Society

For more details about the choir, see in particular our Join Us and The Choir pages, but also have a look around the rest of the website, which is packed with information about the choir’s activities.

For details of past performances, including a number of commissions, see our Concert History page.

If you would like to receive updates by email about future Summertown Choral Society concerts and events, please join our mailing list and/or connect with us on Facebook.

Choir image © Mo Chandler