A Short History of Phoenix Singers 2001 – 2022
Phoenix Singers rose from the ashes of Chorus 2000, a large choir set up in 1996 in the lead up to the millennium. Once 2000 had been reached, the conductor stepped down, but a small core of dedicated singers decided it would be a great idea to keep the choir together and start again under a new name. Their first concert as Phoenix Singers was at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham in December 2001.
More than twenty years later, Phoenix Singers is still going strong and is celebrating those 20+ years of great singing and the many friendships forged. We are delighted that 20 of our original membership are still singing with the choir. Seven of these have been at one time either Chairman or a member of the committee and one, the Treasurer, has been on the committee for the whole period!
Phoenix’s first conductor, Leon James, was only able to stay with us for a short time and was followed in 2002 by Phil Evans, then in 2005 by Matt Beckingham and most recently, in 2014, by our present Musical Director and Conductor, James Llewelyn Jones. After a variety of short-term appointments, our present accompanist, Sara Wilander, was appointed in 2005.
Over the time, the choir has appeared in a variety of venues, including Town Hall and Symphony Hall in Birmingham, but also further afield, in places such as Malvern Priory, Beverley Minster, Houghton-le-Spring and Eastbourne, on weekends away.
Memorable concerts include three pieces by Sir Karl Jenkins’: ‘The Armed Man’ and ‘The Peacemakers’ in Town Hall and the English Premiere of ‘Dewi Sant’, with guests, in Symphony Hall. Mozart’s Requiem in Malvern Priory was also a wonderful occasion.
Between 2003 – 2019, the choir visited a European country on tour every other year. We have sung in Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Malta and Germany. Our concerts abroad have been very well received, as well as very enjoyable for those able to take part.
Most of our concerts have raised money to support both local and national charities, including St Mary’s Hospice, MNDA and Alzheimer’s. To date, we have donated over £39,000.
Our 20th Anniversary celebrations started off with a Gala Dinner at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in September 2021. This was followed by a fantastic Christmas Concert in Town Hall, in collaboration with Midlands Hospitals’ Choir and Canoldir Male Choir. It was wonderful to be able to sing together again after more than a year spent rehearsing on Zoom during the pandemic.
Our Jubilee Concert in celebration of the Queen’s long reign was held in May and our Summer Concert will take place in July. We will then look forward with confidence and anticipation to the next 20 years of music making.