More about the Choir


Cubria Rural Choirs comprises:Wigton Choral Society, directed by Ian Wright.Keswick Choral Society directed by Ian HareUllswater Choir, Penrith, directed by Jackie Wright together with singers from all around Cumbria

Rehearsal Pianist: Amanda Wright

Chorus Master: Ian Wright

If you would like to sing some of the world’s choral masterpieces and perform them with the professionals then why not join us? Cumbria Rural Choirs welcome all singers – especially young singers, and tenors and basses of all ages Please phone one of the Cumbria Rural Choirs representatives below if you would like to join us. Keswick Geoff Bowles 01768 773138 Penrith Vic Watson 01768 863018 Wigton Margaret Ferriby 01697 343351



The early years

– an anecdotal memoir by Pat Williams, 2004 Concert Secretary


The first concert of the Cumbria Rural Choirs was given in 1951 at the Pavillion in Keswick as part of the North Lakeland Festival of Britain celebrations and a performance that included Act II of Orpheus by Gluck. The orchestra then, and on many future occasions, was the Lemare Orchestra, the first conductor Cryril Gell.


That first Concert was the fulfilment of the driving ambition of the first Concert Secretary Hilde Orme to bring great choral music to the rural communities in Cumberland. Mrs Hilde Orme was herself a musician, a vicars’ wife and a great stalwart of the Women’s Institute (WI) movement. In her visits to the various WI’s in Cumberland (as it the was) she had realised how little music there was available but also realised that there was much interest. She enlisted the assistance of Lionel Nutley who became the first Chorus Master and Lord Inglewood who was to be the first President.


That first programme was chosen by Mrs Orme and Lionel Nutley who would then go round to all the small local choirs teaching and coaching I first met Mrs Orme in 1960 on my first evening in Loweswater WI. She sat opposite me, turned me inside out and knew my life history in 5 minute flat – we both had associations with Petersfield and I think she had taught music at Bedales. She was a fantastic musician and choral trainer – totally inspirational. She persuaded her friends, such as Iris Lemare to come to Cumberland to accompany an unknown little choral society with her orchestra (The Lemare Orchestra). Within a very short time big names were travelling to Cumberland - Herbert Bargett, Alan Wicks, Anthony Hopkins, David Wilcocks, Charles Groves and note how many of the early concerts featured the Lemare Orchestra.


When Mrs Orme handed over to Dorothea Ramsay (so she told me) she said, "Now Dorothea, you have to take over – just remember we are the last of Gussie’s Girl’s". Both had been taught at St Paul’s school by composer Gustav Holst.