About Derby Choral Union

Over 150 years of choral music making

Derby Choral Union is Derby’s longest-running voluntary choir and has performed concerts every year since its formation in 1866. With over 100 members, we hold three concerts each year, performing choral works from the classical to the contemporary to the highest standards.

Now in our 158th year, the choir is recognised as one of the foremost choirs in the East Midlands and continues to attract new members and audience with our innovative programmes of music, guided by our charismatic Music Director, Paul Provost. 

In addition to our regular season of three concerts, over the past 15 years we have enjoyed six successful overseas tours, the most recent being a concert exchange with the Marienkantorei choir of Osnabrück, Derby’s twin town in October 2018.

          President - Will Todd

Will Todd became Derby Choral Union's President in January 2017, affirming his long-standing connection with the choir. Early in Will's professional career in 1999, Derby Choral Union commissioned him to compose a new work in celebration of the new millennium, which resulted in the performance of a unique new work, Song of Creation. In 2011 the choir performed his highly acclaimed Mass in Blue and has more recently invited him to speak at our 150th Anniversary Dinner, at which he enthusiastically told us of his career, the state of choral music and culminated in leading guests to perform an impromptu jazz-themed rendition of Happy Birthday. In December 2016 the choir performed his Jazz Magnificat with the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and we continue to include his works as part of our programmes on a regular basis.

          Patron - Dame Emma Kirkby

Dame Emma Kirkby is the internationally renowned soprano and her pre-eminence in the world of early music was demonstrated to perfection in our first Patron's Concert in November 1996, having become Patron in May 1993. In June 2011 Dame Emma was presented with the highly prestigious Queen's Medal for Music.

               Musical Director - Paul Provost
​​​​​​​Paul Provost joined Derby Choral Union as Music Director in September 2019. Paul is Rector Chori of Southwell Minster, having previously held posts at Guildford Cathedral, Winchester College, St John’s College, Cambridge, and Manchester Cathedral. Most of his career has been devoted to liturgical music making, as part of which he combines his loves of conducting, choral training, singing, and accompanying. He has been fortunate to work with giants of the Cathedral world – notably David Hill, Malcolm Archer, and Katherine Dienes-Williams – having studied the organ with Christopher Stokes and David Sanger. 


          Deputy Conductor - Kate Baker MBE

Kate joined the choir in the 1980s and acts as Deputy to the Musical Director at both rehearsals and concerts, in addition to directing extra-curricular musical events such as our 2014 Christmas fundraiser at Intu Derby and the forthcoming concert at Sutton-on-the-Hill in May 2016. 

Kate plays piano and organ and was formerly Head of the Performing Arts Faculty at Heanor Gate Science College. In November 2004 Kate was awarded the MBE for her services to music.

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