THE Bradford on Avon Choral Society have been looking back over the group’s history since they paid tributes to their former music director Kelvin Thomas last week.

The society was formed in 1986 by founder Gaynor Biscoe, a piano teacher in Bradford on Avon at the time. Mr Thomas was asked to help form the choir and became the society’s first musical director.

At the AGM meeting in 1989, Mr Thomas said: “The choir is now three years old and has become an established part of Bradford on Avon Town.

“There was a feeling of enjoyment at concerts and a certain buoyancy at choir practice that showed a willingness to improve the quality the individual and a selflessness to integrate with the quality of the choir.”

Remaining members feel this sums up what a choir is all about, not many soloists but each member singing in harmony with the others.

Over the years the choir have sung in a number of venues in the town including St Laurence School, Holy Trinity, Christ Church, the United Reform Hall where they now practise each week and St Margaret’s Hall.

Since Mr Thomas left his position in the society in 1994, they have only had two permanent musical directors, Simon Ible from 1994 to 1996 and Rupert Bevan from 1996 to 2018.

Mr Bevan has two nieces, Mary and Sophie, who are now both international soprano soloists but sang solos with the choir at the beginning of their careers. They were both awarded MBEs in the Queen’s honours.

From the early days the choir has always supported local charities, back in 1988 it was the Salisbury Cathedral Spire Fund and Leukaemia Research. Today it reflects local charities that support statutory health and social services such as Back on Track and Wiltshire Mind.

The choir has remained open to all with no auditions and numbers have fluctuated over the years. The first choir practice it was standing room only at St Laurence School when 100 turned up but has now settled at around 60.Initially the choir sang unaccompanied or with the piano but by the mid 1990s a small orchestra would be employed for major choral works.