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Musical Director


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Choir History

Midlands Chorale was founded in 1978 by Robert Williams, a distinguished baritone soloist, teacher and adjudicator, using 16 soloists he had trained.

Under his direction the choir quickly grew larger, enabling it to perform with distinction a wide repertoire of oratorios, cantatas, masses, motets and part songs, at venues across the country. They also provided the chamber choir for large-scale works such as Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, Bach’s B Minor Mass, and Brahms’ Requiem.

Many of these large work performances were given with the Ludlow Festival Choral Society or Altrincham Choral Society, two choirs which Robert Williams also directed, accompanied by full professional orchestras.

Under Robert’s direction, the choir recorded Sixty Glorious Years for the British Music Society, and Rachmaninov's Vespers.

April 1999 Robert conducted the choir singing Rachmaninov’s Vespers in front of a packed Shrewsbury Cathedral, thus fulfilling a long-cherished ambition of his to perform this choral masterpiece. Shortly after giving a repeat performance of the Vespers in Bewdley came Robert Williams’ untimely death in June 1999.


Margaret Oakley, formerly Head of Music at Wolverhampton University, took over as Musical Director, introducing several challenging works new to the choir.

From September 2003, under the direction of Richard Laing, the choir continued to show its versatility by giving acclaimed performances of such diverse pieces as John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit, Parry’s Songs of Farewell, Handel’s Coronation Anthems, Bach’s Jesu Meine Freude, and Schubert’s Deutsche Messe.

In November 2006, the choir joined with the Leicester Bach Choir in a most memorable performance of Brahms Requiem in the Church of St James the Greater, Leicester, accompanied by a full professional orchestra. In November 2008 the joint choirs and orchestra performed Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Elgar’s The Music Makers. The choirs' concerts attracted large audiences, and generated several thousand pounds for different charities.

Since 2005, Midlands Chorale has been registered as a Charity No. 1108506

April 2010 saw the last concert under the direction of Richard Laing.

The concert in June 2010 was under the direction of Ben Lamb.

For the Winter Term 2010, while a new Musical Director was being sought, the choir was directed by Pam Pickford (see Accompanist) and our guest accompanist was Nykko Michael Gregoire.

From January 2011, Oliver Walker took over as Director until December 2015.

The Spring Term 2016, was under the direction of Daniel Galbreath.

The Summer Term 2016 was directed by Phil Ypres-Smith.

Form September 2016 the Chorale was pleased to appoint both Daniel and Phil as its Musical Directors; the post to be shared on an alternating termly basis.

Spring Term 2020: Ben Hamilton has stepped in to assist while Daniel Galbreath takes a Sabatical back home in America. He will be re-joining the Chorale for the Autumn Concert.

Phil Y-Smith, after guiding the choir through many a challenging progremme of music, some of his own composition, has felt that the time has come for him to resign from his post with us.



Bob Williams


Commemorative 10th Anniversary Plate