ABOUT THE CHOIR
The Hampshire market town of Andover has a long history of choral singing. The original Andover Choral Society was formed in 1866 to perform Handel’s Messiah accompanied by piano and harmonium. Local newspaper archives show details of a concert in 1887 at which Haydn’s Creation was performed. In the late 1920’s Adrian Boult conducted 260 voices in the local Drill Hall and a music festival was set up in 1927, supported by both Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Malcolm Sargent.
The present Andover Choral Society was inaugurated in 1971 to promote choral singing for all. At least two concerts a year are presented in St Mary’s Church, Andover, at which members are joined by singers and instrumentalists of the highest calibre. Rehearsals are held on Wednesday evenings in Bridge Street Methodist Church, Andover, and the society is always happy to welcome new members.
Conductor Peter Ford works as a music director, coach, and educator throughout the UK and Europe. His early conducting studies were undertaken both privately with Colin Howard and at the Canford Summer School, overseen by the late George Hurst. Subsequent postgraduate studies with Russell Keable at the University of Surrey resulted in an MMus Conducting awarded with distinction.
In addition to his work with Andover Choral Society, Peter is the Artistic Director of The Black Cat Opera Company, with recent productions including Don Giovanni, Falstaff, Così fan Tutte, and La Bohème. Peter is principal guest conductor of Rocket Opera, and productions have included Rita, Don Giovanni and The Mikado at Berwick Festival Opera. Operatic productions in 2018 include The Beggar’s Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, and HMS Pinafore.
Peter made his international conducting debut at the opening night of the 2016 Birgitta Festival, Tallinn, conducting Così fan Tutte in a collaboration between the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, The Black Cat Opera Company, and acclaimed Estonian scenographer Lilja Blumenfeld.
Peter is a member of music staff for Melofonetica, an organisation established by tenor, musicologist and Italian coach Dr. Matteo Dalle Fratte to promote and preserve the correct use of Italian language in opera. He is a regular coach at Melofonetica events in the UK, and coaches and conducts on the Veneto Opera Summer School in Italy.
Pianist Julie Aherne studied at Royal Holloway, University of London, with James Kirby, and later with Matthew Stanley. In addition to her work with Andover Choral Society, Julie works as an accompanist for Melofonetica, the Association of British Choral Directors, Berwick Festival Opera, Rocket Opera, and at Royal Holloway, University of London. A keen advocate for community singing, she also directs Woking Ladies Choir, as well as working as a rehearsal pianist for other choral societies and choirs in the south.
A co-founder of The Black Cat Opera Company, Julie has worked as répétiteur and producer on productions of Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Carmen, Falstaff, and La Bohème, as well as appearing as accompanist for gala evenings and high-profile corporate engagements. In August 2016, the company was invited to take their production of Così fan tutte to the Birgitta Festival, Tallinn, with Julie playing harpsichord continuo alongside the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
Recent freelance work includes musical direction for Acis and Galatea with Opera Cameratina in association with The Mastersingers, orchestral piano for Opera Della Luna’s acclaimed touring show Tales of Offenbach, répétiteur and orchestral piano for Rocket Opera’s production of Donizetti's Rita, and a recital programme including Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives.
Chairman: Frances Lynn
Secretary: Sue Woodley
Treasurer: Lucille Horsnell
Publicity & Social Secretary: Teresa Rekowska
Soprano Rep: Liz Wallis
Alto Rep: Maureen Turner
Male Voice Rep: Bernard Sutton
Librarian: Ian Grocott
Registrar: Alexandra King
Sponsorship: Graham Platford