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Wokingham Choral Society

 
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Southern Pro Musica

The Southern Pro Musica evolved from the Hampshire Pro Musica that was formed in 1972 to provide a professional orchestra for the Portsmouth Choral Union.

The availability of increasing numbers of fine free-lance musicians choosing to base their careers in the south enabled the orchestra to enlarge its area of operations to support major choral societies further afield and to undertake purely orchestral engagements. The orchestra was renamed Southern Pro Musica and its first concert was an opera gala in Portsmouth Guildhall in August 1991.

The orchestra performs regularly with the Chichester singers and the Portsmouth Choral Union and has also worked with the Southampton Choral Society, the Leith Hill Festival and the Hook, Haslemere and Hindhead Music Society. This year has seen the addition of new engagements with the Epworth Choir at Guildford Cathedral and the Wokingham Choral Society at Reading University.

In 1992 the orchestra was invited by the Southern Orchestral Concerts Society to become the resident chamber orchestra for its annual concert series based at Petersfield Festival Hall. It is now in its fifteenth season with the society and in these concerts has performed with many distinguished national and international soloists.

The orchestra made its first commercial recording in 2001 when Priory Records produced three of Jonathan Willcocks choral works with the English Cathedral Singers. Earlier this year Priory Records released further recordings of Jonathan Willcocks' choral music including A Great & Glorious Victory written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The orchestra also undertakes an annual series of schools concerts under its Director of Music, Jonathan Willcocks. The recent series in February 2006 included concerts in Chichester, Worthing Portsmouth, Southampton, and Petersfield. Further information may be obtained from Elizabeth Gotto on 01730.827317

Major events this year include Belshazzar's Feast with Sir Willard White in Portsmouth Guildhall and Verdi's Requiem at the closing concert of this years Chichester Festivities. Other future events will be viewable on Southern Pro Musica's web-site (www.southernpromusica.org) which will be fully functional later this year.

The orchestra is led today by its principal leader, Roger Garland.