About Us

Truro Choral Society started life as the Truro Singers in 1962, originally to perform the Dream of Gerontius (for its Cornish premiere), accompanied by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the then County Music Adviser, Henry Mills. This was followed by a major work every three years, with the Truro Singers gradually evolving into their present form and changing their name to Truro Choral Society in 1978.

An excerpt from Isobel Hedges’ book The Story of Truro Choral Society 1962-2002:

“At 7.30pm promptly, Henry Mills, waiting in the crypt with the soloists (no Chapter House or adjoining building then), was told that every seat was filled and the Dean was about to welcome the assembly… ‘And then occurred something which will, for the County Music Adviser, always be associated with Gerontius – from the Cathedral overhead came the sound of 2,000 people, the organ accompanying them, singing Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven, and singing it in just that way, with just that voice, which had made him sure that these Cornish choirs could sing The Dream.’

“Nowadays, health and safety regulations dictate that 900 people is the maximum capacity of the cathedral, but we hope that the assembled company of singers and audience will always make just as much noise.”

What the singers say…

“Truro Choral Society are incredibly friendly and very welcoming. We sing a whole range of classical music and have had some terrific times singing in Truro Cathedral, a beautiful place with amazing acoustics. Singing is something that crosses generations and the love of music can bring a whole bunch of very different people together. It’s like doing meditation or yoga, or being in beautiful natural environment – after you’ve sung you feel good and at peace with yourself.”
Lora, soprano

“I’ve always sung in choirs – at school and university – and immediately I felt that this was a choir I wanted to be part of. Despite it being a non-auditioned choir the standard is very high and we get to sing all kinds of very exciting works, from Handel to Elgar. Singing is a big part of my life – that moment when it comes together with a big orchestra and all the singers… there’s something really magical about that kind of performance and being able to be part of it. I couldn’t imagine my life without it, really. Also, at Truro Choral Society there are people of all ages – that’s something really refreshing. There’s a really different sound when you’ve got young and mature voices together; it really brings the music alive.”
Emma, soprano

“There have been so many memorable moments since I joined. One of them was when we sang at the Eden Project – I don’t think there are many people who can say they have sung Handel’s Messiah in an orange grove to the accompaniment of birdsong. It was a wonderful experience. We have a very good conductor in Martin Palmer and he gets us to go to a very high standard. He does it all with a good sense of humour, but he won’t allow us to get away with anything slipshod.”
Colin, tenor

What the reviewers say…

Orff Carmina Burana, Truro Cathedral, 16th June 2018
“Choirs were harmonious, musicians on point and soloists luminous. I thought having the translation in the programme was brilliant – who knew the words were so bawdy and eclectic? The swan stanza is one I’ll remember!”

Bach St Matthew Passion, Truro Cathedral, 11th March 2017
“From the first entry I was aware that we were in for an exciting and committed performance…Martin’s determination, musicianship and talent made the milestone in the choir’s history possible.”
Russell Pascoe

Handel Messiah, Truro Cathedral, 12th December 2015
“Martin Palmer’s direction of the large choir produced some fine effects – a sprightly ‘For unto us’, and a splendid sequence of five vividly contrasted choruses in Part Two, interspersed with Felicity Turner’s exquisite ‘He was despised’ and David Webb’s clear narrative passages. The chorus coped well with some brisk speeds and were rock-solid in their many fugal episodes.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

“That was spectacularly wonderful last night. Great soloists and a wonderful swell of sound in stereo from all the singers. What a marvellous way of getting into the Christmas spirit. Many congratulations to you all for organising the event – a cathedral chock-a-block is always good to see – and all good fortune to the Choral Society for 2016.”
Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall

Tippett A Child of Our Time and Rachmaninov Bogoroditse Devo, Truro Cathedral, 13th June 2015
“The choir opened with Bogoroditse Devo, the last movement of Rachmaninov’s famous Vespers, a setting of Ave Maria. This first item was conducted by Truro Cathedral’s organ scholar, James Orford, making his directorial debut. The chorus were supported by the string section, giving the sound an extra luminosity. Orford’s simple yet definite conducting allowed the music to speak for itself without any fussiness unbecoming of the piece, while the choir’s diction of the Russian text spoke well into the Cathedral acoustic… As the programme reminded us, A Child of Our Time ‘can never be comfortable’; a deeply personal statement by the composer conceived as a musical protest. The atmosphere was electric from the opening chords, with Palmer’s clear direction inspiring the choir to come in confidently on some exceptionally difficult leads. The young team of soloists added to the mood, their voices commanding in their own right, yet blending well when together. The five Negro Spirituals were particularly moving, Steal Away as a stand-out triumph, with a beautiful, sustained tone from the soprano soloist.”
Paul-Ethan Bright, West Briton

“My warmest congratulations to the TCS for the performance of the Rachmaninov Bogoroditse and also Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. I thought the performance of the Rachmaninov piece was really excellent and delivered with great sensitivity. The Tippett is of course both complex and, from a singer’s point of view, more demanding, but again my congratulations to everyone for their performance.”
Michael Galsworthy, President of Truro Choral Society

Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Truro Cathedral, 21st March 2015
“From the decidedly jaunty introduction on piano and organ (the Cathedral Father Willis impersonating the specified harmonium), the massed voices entered into the spirit of the work with precise dynamic contrasts and splendid intonation in the unaccompanied passages… Palmer’s direction made the most of Rossini’s idiosyncratic blend of genial exuberance and underlying devotional commitment, and the singing remained fresh, even in the excessively protracted Amens — 24 pages of them!”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Mozart Coronation Mass and Piano Concerto in D Minor, Paul Drayton Orpheus and Russell Pascoe Music!,
Truro Cathedral, 15th November 2014

“Drayton’s Orpheus made a rousing start to this concert with its atmospheric fanfares, and displayed the composer’s and performers’ dexterity in combining the two main themes…If the Mozart concerto hinted at Beethoven, there was more than a hint of opera in his Coronation Mass – a touch of Cosi in the solo passages of the Kyrie to contrast with the solemnity of the chorus made a fine start, followed by a powerful Gloria and evangelic Credo, jubilant Osanna and ravishing Benedictus – the young team of soloists, the soprano Saffron Jones, countertenor Paul-Ethan Bright, tenor Gianluca Paganelli and bass Charlie Murray, blending well…And for the finale – what more appropriate than Pascoe’s Music!? To repeat what I said at its premiere, the combination of simple lyrics and authentically rollicking performance is irresistible. Another splendid evening from Palmer and Truro Choral Society – and some particularly exciting ones to come next year.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Elgar The Kingdom, Truro Cathedral, 29th March 2014; joint concert with Three Spires Singers
“The combined chorus, in their varying roles as disciples, holy women, sceptics and repentant souls were superb – a tribute to their respective choir trainers. One particularly striking moment was the six-part unaccompanied female ‘mystic chorus’ – over 100 vices in perfect tune. Let’s hope the two choirs get the chance to sing together again – what a treat.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

“What a night. Brilliant soloists, brilliant orchestra and, above all, brilliant choirs. Terrific occasion.”
Petroc Trelawney, Radio 3

Handel Messiah, Truro Cathedral, 30th November 2013

“A really marvellous and uplifting concert. I had not heard the Messiah in full before and I am delighted to have done so first down here in Cornwall as performed by Truro Choral Society along with Truro and Richard Lander Schools. It was also a real privilege to be in the front row, to get the full effect of the musicians and singers in all their glory.”
Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall

“As always with a large choir, balance was key, and the conductor Martin Palmer again achieved this perfectly. This was his second Messiah with the Society and the happiness and rejoicing of Part One was palpable through clear and crisp singing, while the audience was left in no doubt of Christ’s sacrifice in Part Two from the convincing and articulate delivery of Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs and He Trusted in God.”
West Briton

Vivaldi Gloria, inaugural concert at the Sir Ben Ainslie Sports Centre, Truro School, 28th September 2013
“The concert opened with the ever-popular Vivaldi Gloria, sung by the combined forces of Truro Choral Society, choirs from Truro School and the County Youth Choir. Energetic and polished playing and crisp, disciplined singing were maintained throughout.”
Paul and Camilla Comeau

Karl Jenkins The Armed Man, Truro Cathedral, 18th May 2013
“Martin Palmer’s direction ensured disciplined singing and playing, but left room for the extremes of emotion in the writing. Karl Jenkins’ eclectic populist style may divide opinion, but the standard of music-making in this performance was simply outstanding – all credit to Truro Choral Society for taking it on and for their partnership with our local schools in such creative collaborations.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

“The result was a marvellous tapestry of music in which TCS performed with utmost sensitivity and great control. To you all I extend my warmest congratulations for such a memorable performance and for giving such pleasure to so many people.”
Michael Galsworthy, President of Truro Choral Society

50th Anniversary Concert, Truro Cathedral, 24th November 2012
“Russell Pascoe relished the opportunity to write for chorus and a large orchestra in his Truro Choral Society commission Music! The simple lyrics were given an authentically rollicking élan by the choir…thanks to Truro Choral Society for the past 50 years and best wishes for the next.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Verdi Requiem, Truro Cathedral, 26th May 2012
“From the first entry of the chorus against muted strings it was apparent that something special was underway, confirmed by a splendid team of soloists and Martin Palmer’s control of dynamics and phrasing, evincing thorough preparation and a real understanding of the work… The chorus were magnificent, equally convincing in the moments of subdued anxiety and dramatic fervour, especially the gloriously vulgar chromatic bass runs at the end… The choral finale was executed with tremendous élan, and the final moments of violent desperation fading away, the solo soprano almost whispering, were truly magic. The response of the capacity audience said it all – thunderous applause and cheers.”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Handel Messiah, Truro Cathedral, 10th December 2011
“My wife and I had the great pleasure of attending the Messiah, performed by Truro Choral Society with Truro Symphony Orchestra… the performance was absolutely stunning. The balance between the orchestra and choir was perfect and the whole performance was delivered with perfection. My congratulations and thanks for an excellent concert.”
Letter to the West Briton

“Handel’s Messiah filled the cathedral with sound when Truro Choral Society, augmented by fine young singers from Truro School, gave a sparkling and uplifting performance of the oratorio on Saturday.”
West Briton