Photo by David Darby

Event held by the Athenaeum Singers, weekend 2-3 February 2024
Bob Chilcott inspires in Warminster

The events of the Chilcott Fest left participants buzzing after such a special weekend.

Bob Chilcott, ex King’s Singer, composer and conductor led three events, starting on Friday afternoon with a composition workshop with music students from Warminster School leading on to the Thomas Arnold talk in the evening.  Here Bob shared anecdotes from his extensive and varied musical career and the audience were amazed at the breadth of his experience.  From origins as a chorister and choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and twelve years singing with The King’s Singers, Bob moved into a career in composition, conducting and leading workshops.  He has worked across a wide genre of musical styles, including pop music with performers including The Beach Boys.

The Athenaeum Singers hosted a Come and Sing Day with the composer on the Saturday.  Participants gathered in Warminster from a wide radius- Southampton and the New Forest to the south,  Malmesbury to the north, Cardiff to the west and London and Colchester to the east..  They were treated to a day working on Bob’s St John Passion, a piece of music which worked its way into the hearts of many throughout the day.  Bob emphasised that the work is telling a story, conveying all the feelings and emotions of the events of the Passion.  The aim of the day was enjoyment rather than performance but the concluding run through brought four talented professional singers to play the solo roles which elevated the experience for all participants. Dr Douglas Stevens was faultless throughout in his accompaniment and beautiful musicianship. The hospitality too was wonderful both from Warminster School and the cake-baking members of the choir.


Photos by David Darby

The Athenaeum Singers will continue to work on Chilcott’s St John Passion leading up to their concert in the Minster, Warminster on 23rd March.  The performance will take place at the beginning of Holy Week, a time when the last week of Jesus’ life is remembered. The soloists who participated in the workshop will play the main characters and the concert will be accompanied by an ensemble from The British Sinfonietta and Simon Dinsdale on organ. The performance will be conducted by the singer’s Director of Music, Thomas Mottershead, who was the driving inspiration behind the Chilcott Fest. Further details and tickets are available from the Athenaeum Singer’s website.

Comments from participants of the workshop have been lavish in their praise. “What a unique occasion to be singing & conducted by the composer, a wonderful communicator & raconteur!”  

“It was very special to have worked with Bob Chilcott - what a great character he is!” “Bob was a real star!” “We are workshop groupies and I can tell you yours was the best ever.”