When Angela Kay began Music for Everyone (under the name Nottingham Choral Trust) in 1983, her aim was to offer music making opportunities to people of all ages and abilities. The only criterion for participation was, and still is, enthusiasm.
Not for Angela the easier option of simple music. Her ambition was to enable singers of all kinds to enjoy together the breadth of the choral repertoire – those who could not read music alongside those who could; and those who had never sung in a choir before alongside those who went to choir practices every week.
The chorus’s first performance was of Verdi’s Requiem, no less. Angela decided that a permanent chamber choir might add to the confidence of the Choral Trust Chorus and enable even more challenging works to be sung.
In 1985 she formed an auditioned group, the East of England Singers, originally intended to perform for part of each season with the East of England Orchestra – hence the name. The orchestra changed its name to Symphonia Viva, and EOES, as we were affectionately called, eventually decided on a name that better reflected our nature and location – the Nottingham Chamber Singers.
We have a busy concert schedule – both our own chamber concerts and performances with the Festival Chorus. We all say NCS is the friendliest of choirs and that Angela’s humour and great talent inspire and impress us year after year. We sing and laugh in almost equal measure and we are hugely grateful to Angela for her enthusiasm and expertise – both enhance our lives immeasurably.
She provides us with repertoire from plainsong to the 21st century, dynamic concert programming, creative presentation and performance, and an endless stream of inventive similes and images, all to encourage us to do justice to the beauty and impact of the works we sing and to communicate this to our concert audiences.
In 2020 we were thrilled to welcome Rachel Parkes as assistant Artistic Director of Music for Everyone and assistant conductor of NCS. Rachel brings a complementary wealth of choral experience to us, including her years as a member of renowned vocal group Voces8. She is a great interpreter of the text of choral works and is adding to our knowledge of technique, listening and blending well. Angela and Rachel form a superb team, and we consider ourselves fortunate to benefit from their combined expertise and vivacity.