Welcome to Ely Choral Society



Ely Choral Society is a flourishing mixed voice community choir conducted by Andrew Parnell, one of the UK's foremost choral conductors.


Concerts are held in Ely Cathedral and other venues locally with professional soloists and orchestras, together with musicians from the Ely and Cambridge area.


The Ely Youth Choir for 13 to 18s was launched with great success in 2010 and is aimed at teenagers who want to experience the fun and excitement of choral singing to public audiences.



Next concert...




Our main concert for the 2016/17 is a performance of one of the greatest choral works of all time, Georg Friedrich Handel's Messiah. Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Handel's reputation in England, where he had lived since 1712, had been established through his compositions of Italian opera. He turned to English oratorio in the 1730s in response to changes in public taste; Messiah was his sixth work in this genre. Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form; there are no impersonations of characters and no direct speech. Instead, Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus as the Messiah called Christ. The text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only "scene" taken from the Gospels. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion and ends with the "Hallelujah" chorus. In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ's glorification in heaven.


The concert is on Saturday 8th April at 19:30 in Ely Cathedral. The concert will take place in the cathedral nave to maximise the benefits of performing in that magnificent building. The soloists will be Elisabeth Rauch (soprano), Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano), Oliver Martin-Smith (tenor) and William Gaunt (bass). The choir will be accompanied by the Ely Festival Orchestra, with Helen Medlock (leader). The organist will be Edmund Aldhouse and the conductor is Andrew Parnell.

Tickets are priced at £25, £20, £15, £8 and under 18s £5. Tickets are available from the Cathedral Box Office, by calling 01353 660349, by visiting http://tickets.elycathedral.org or by e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









Future Concerts



2016/17 Season



19:30, Saturday 8th April 2017

Ely Cathedral

Handel Messiah

Elizabeth Rauch soprano

Helen Charlston mezzo-soprano

Oliver Martin-Smith tenor

William Gaunt bass

Ely Youth Choir

Ely Festival Orchestra

Helen Medlock leader

Edmund Aldhouse organist


19:30, Saturday 15th July 2017

Ely Cathedral

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in D minor

Vaughan Williams In The Fen Country

Parnell New Fen commission, TBC

Ely Sinfonia

Steve Bingham conductor







Registered Charity No. 802308