Cranbrook Choral Society

Upcoming concerts

23 November 2019                –              Autumn Concert in St Dunstan’s at 7.30pm

                                                                  Faure: Requiem; plus Vaughan Williams: 5 Mystical Songs

Click the link below to buy tickets.


21 Dec 2019: – Christmas Concert  – St Dunstan’s

25 April  2020                         –              Spring Concert in St Dunstan’s

                                                                 Dvorak: Stabat Mater


Our calendar currently includes:

Tuesday 3rd September:               First rehearsal

Tuesday 17th September:             AGM at the start of the rehearsal

Friday 20th September:                  A social “Sing for your supper” evening

Saturday 23rd November:             Faure Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs:  Concert

Saturday 21st December:              Christmas Concert in St Dunstan’s

Saturday 25th April 2020:                Dvorak’s Stabat Mater: Concert

Saturday 26th June 2020:               Summer Concert

Other events are being discussed and may be added later.

Our most recent concerts:

15 June 2019             –            Summer Concert – Goudhurst Church

13 April 2019                     –              Spring Concert in St Dunstan’s at 7.30pm

                                                                 Hummel: Mass in Bb;  plus Mozart: Te Deum in C; Ave Verum

Mozart, Haydn and Hummel, three giants of the classical music era.

Arguably the most gifted musician in the history of classical music; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756 and showed his prodigious ability from a very early age. He began composing from the age of five and performing on keyboard and violin for royalty, he wrote Te Deum in 1769 immediately before he embarked on his first trip to Italy with his father. During his lifetime Mozart composed over six hundred works in every major genre including symphonies, operas, concertos and chamber music. He wrote a great deal of religious music including large scale masses.  Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written Ave Verum Corpus was written just before he died in 1791 as a gift to a friend. This short and apparently simple motet has been described a ‘leaving the listener just as moved as might an entire five-day long cycle of Wagner’s ‘The Ring’ and certainly less tired’.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was a close friend of Mozart and when his employment as Kapellmeister to the Royal House of Esterhazy in Austria ended Haydn accepted an invitation to visit England where he quickly achieved great wealth and success. Audiences flocked to his concerts and musically his visits to England generated some of his best known works including his great choral work ‘The Creation’ and later ‘The Seasons’.  However, the beginnings of Haydn’s motet Insanae et vanae curae began in 1775 with the composition of his first oratorio ‘Il ritorno di Tobia’ (The return of Tobias). It was a great success but it could not compete with his two masterpieces, ‘The Creation’ and ‘The Seasons’ and is possibly why Haydn extracted this fine choral piece from it and revised it as a stand-alone work.

Like Mozart Johann Hummel was a child prodigy, born in 1778 he made his first concert appearance aged nine at one of Mozart’s concerts. For two years he stayed with Mozart’s family receiving tuition from Mozart free of charge.  Later, together with Beethoven, he became a student of Haydn.  Hummel followed in the footsteps of Haydn as the director of the Esterhazy Court Orchestra and his beautiful Mass in B flat major was commissioned by the Royal House of Esterhazy.


November 2018



This essentially anti-war piece was commissioned by the Royal Armouries for the millennium and is very dramatic with the representation of marching feet and the shrill tones of a military band interspersed with many reflective passages.  If you have never heard this work before, you are sure to find it extremely moving and exciting.

As always we had some wonderful top quality professional soloists and orchestra to accompany us with the Jenkins and also to perform some other supporting pieces including the exquisite Serenade for Strings  by Elgar.

It was a stunning evening with an audience of over 400 people. The roof almost lifted off the church !

Thank you to everyone involved and a particular thank you to the singers and choral director of Paddock Wood Choral Society for joining us for such a magnificent evening.



The orchestra opened the evening with Elgar’s “Serenade for Strings” and this was followed by Tippett’s “Five Spirituals” sung unaccompanied..  After a very short interval, the Jenkins’ “Armed Man” was performed.  Our soloists were Rebekah Smith, Soprano, George Bartle, Tenor, and Will Pate, Bass.  The first half was conducted by Jeffery Gray, Music Director for Cranbrook and the second half by Kevin Ashman, Music Director for Paddock Wood.  This concert also welcomed Dr Hafiz Upmani, Imam of Maidstone Mosque who sang the traditional Call to Prayer which is the second movement of the “Armed Man”.

We filled the church with over 400 people and it was a truely memorable and wonderful evening.


Summer Concert June 23 , 2018



For our Spring Concert Cranbrook’s fine 100 voice choir were joined by soloists:


British-Canadian soprano Gillian Keith  is a past winner of both the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award and the ROSL Singing Prize, and a distinguished graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. She made her Royal Opera‚ Covent Garden debut as Zerbinetta in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. Her most celebrated roles include Poppea in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea, The Woodbird in Wagner’s Siegfried, Pretty Polly in Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy, Philine in Thomas’ Mignon, and Ginevra in Handel’s Ariodante, in international opera houses and festivals including English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Netherlands Opera, Geneva Opera and Boston Early Music Festival. 

Her concert repertoire is wide and varied, and has taken her to some of the most prestigious stages around the world, including the BBC Proms, Boston Symphony Hall, Sydney Opera House, Bregenz Festival, Edinburgh Festival and London’s Wigmore Hall, in works ranging from Bach Cantatas, to Mozart’s C Minor Mass, to Oliver Knussen’s Symphony No. 2.

Recordings include the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, orchestral songs by Dallapiccola with BBC Philharmonic, Handel’s Gloriaand Bach Cantatas with John Eliot Gardiner, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s C Minor Mass with Harry Christophers, as well as recitals of Strauss and Schubert Lieder. Her extensive research into the early songs of Debussy has produced two successful recordings on the Deux-Elles label, Debussy: Early Songs, and Debussy – Songs For His Muse.

Current projects include Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Sage, Gateshead, Tom Randle’s Los Nacimientos at Dartington Summer Festival, and the ongoing production of a complete recording of Bach’s solo soprano cantatas with Armonico Consort.

PAUL SMY, tenor.

PAUL SMY began his musical career at King’s College Cambridge with Philip Ledger and Stephen Cleobury touring Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. While at King’s, Paul was a soloist in recordings of Faure’s Messe Basse,Handel’s Coronation Anthems and Tudor Church Music with Michael Chance, Mark Padmore, Charles Daniels and Gerald Finley.

Paul continued his vocal studies with John Runge and after gaining a French and Business Degree at Keele University, Paul moved to Paris in 1992 to work for Renault and co-founded the Mikrokosmos Youth Choir as Assistant Conductor and Accompanist while simultaneously launching his solo career with performances of Bach’s Magnificat, B Minor Mass and Britten’s St Nicolas at the ‘Choralies’ music festival in Vaison-La-Romaine. Following receipt of an Masters in Business Management from EMLyon in 1996, Paul became Assistant Director of the Paris Choral Society based at the American Cathedral.

Since returning to the UK in 1998, Paul works as a business consultant in the Automotive industry and also continues to give regular solo performances both in the UK and abroad. His most recent performances include a live recorded performance of Mozart’s Requiem for Stephen Cleobury, a recording of Britten’sSt. Nicolas for Xavier Stouff, Handel’s Coronation Anthems for Neil Jenkins, Dyson’s Quo Vadis for Paul Spicer, Beethoven’s Choral Symphony for Brian Kay, Handel’s  Dixit Dominus for Mark Deller, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for Leslie Olive, Finzi’s Dies Natalis for Roy Wales, Schumann’s Faust for Stephen Cleobury and Bach’s St. John Passion for his uncle Roy Massey.

Paul’s 2018/19 season includes performing the evangelist in Bach’s St. MatthewSt. John Passions, Handel’s Brockes Passion, Bach’s B Minor Mass andChristmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah and Saul, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’sElijah, Haydn’s Creation and Seasons, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Chilcott’sRequiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Saint Saens’ Requiem and Mozart’sRequiem, C Minor and Coronation Masses.



Piran Legg is a 29-year old Baritone originally from Kent and a graduate of Kent University, where he studied history. He is a Masters graduate of the Guildhall Opera Course and has completed his studies on the Artists Diploma (2016). He has performed extensively in Opera and concert around the UK and abroad, taking on roles such as Schaunard in La Boheme at Cadogan Hall, Giorgio Germont in Clonter Opera’s production of La Traviata 2015 and the title role of Owen Wingrave in a Guildhall Opera School Production. Piran also enjoys more contemporary projects and has taken part in cutting edge new work in festivals around London and the U.K. He has recorded a C.D. of new songs written on a theme of “Songs of the Big Smoke” with Song in the City and has played the roles of Crow and Eric Satie in workshOPERA’s acclaimed productions of Boys of Paradise and Seven Velvet Suits respectively. He also premiered the role of King Erysichthon in Edward Rushton’s chamber opera Cicadas with the LSO. As well as performing on the Operatic Stage, Piran has a busy schedule of concert performances. In 2015 he was the baritone soloist in a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Amiens Cathedral as well as singing the role of Danieli in a concert performance of Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot with Chelsea Opera Group. In May 2016 he was thrilled to return as Baritone soloist in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with Symphony Orchestra and chorus in Canterbury Cathedral. 2017 saw Piran undertaking a wide variety of projects, including Bach’s St. Mathew Passion and Elgar’s masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius, working with Bergen National Opera on Il Turco in Italia and taking the role of Samuel in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, with Winslow Hall Opera. Future projects include a role debut as Ferrando in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, a debut as Colas and Buff in a Mozart double bill with Pop Up Opera and a return to Bergen National Opera in the Flying Dutchman

Cranbrook Choral Society’s Director of Music Jeffrey Gray will conduct the Cranbrook Sinfonia, a substantial orchestra of mainly professional musicians including former players from major orchestras.


Dec 2017:Christmas Concert. Wonderful brass and feast of Christmas music, congregational carols and readings.

Brahms German Requiem:  18 November 2017: Cranbrook St Dunstan’s

Gorgeous soloists and a magnificent orchestra accompanied this truely majestic piece. An energetic and high octane sing, but we kept up the stamina and produced a polished and accomplished performance.

Summer ConcertJune 2017

An evening of  light music accompanied by the choirs of Colliers Green Primary School and  Marlborough House School, with wonderful solo performances including  BBC Chorister of the Year 2016 Edward Hyde.

 Spring Concert – 29 April 2017 – Rutter: Gloria – Cranbrook St Dunstan’s 

This was a highly successful evening with a fabulous brass and organ orchestra. We sang our hearts out – it was great!

Haydn: The Seasons  19 November 2016 : Cranbrook St Dunstans 


The photos below were taken at the afternoon rehearsal prior to our November concert. We spend the Saturday afternoon before a concert running through with orchestra and soloists. It’s an exciting and buzzy time before we all get ‘glammed up’ for the evening event.






Please click on the link to view all past CDCS concerts.