The Brixi Singers are...
Lea (appointed July 2019)
Choir Officers for 2022/23:
Chair: Eleanor Hill
Vicechair: Jeanette Winstanley
Treasurer: Diana Bradley
Concert Secretary: Ros Meehan
Media Liaison: David Griffiths
Who are we?
The Brixi Singers were formed in 1994
as a small chamber choir in Bolton, to perform a variety of works, with a maximum number of 22 singers. This small group first
sang in a much larger concert, and the piece they chose to sing was Veni Spiritui Sancto, by a 17th century Czech composer
called Brixi. As the group became established, they took inspiration from this, and named their group after this composer!
The Brixi Singers undertake 4-6 concerts a year, and have performed many sacred and secular pieces, either alone as a group,
or in collaboration with other groups. In this way, they have been able to give small intimate performances of pieces such
as Handel's Messiah, and larger works, such as Bach's B Minor Mass, or Karl Orff's Carmina Burana. The Brixi Singers
are also much in demand for charity concerts, where a lighter programme is provided, and for weddings. 2004 saw the Brixi
Singers on a tour of the Czech Republic, where they sang a sacred concert in the church of St Nicholas, in Prague's Old
Town Square, and a much lighter concert in the Colonnades of the spa town of Marianske Laszne. In 2006, the choir toured Belgium,
giving a concert in the cathedral of Brussels, and having the immense honour of singing for the daily service at dusk at the
Menin Gate in Ypres. 2011 saw the group on tour in Paris, which culminated in a concert in Notre Dame de Paris. Although
Bolton in Lancashire is the home town of the Brixi Singers, the choir has sung in places as far apart as Oxford's Merton
College Chapel, the Lake District, and on BBC Radio Manchester. In July 2014, the Brixi Singers undertook
a very successful tour of concerts in the Rhine Valley in Germany, centred on Rudesheim,
including a spontaneous rendition of the Lorelei Song (in German, of course), as we
sailed past the Lorelei rock, on a cruise up the Rhine! In 2017, we toured the West Country, singing
in Bath Abbey, Exeter Cathedral, and Buckfast Abbey. And October 2018 saw us in Mallorca, singing
Mass in Palma Cathedral, as well as concerts in Campos and the Dragon Caves!
The Choir performs several concerts every year. These vary from light programmes to some very substantial classical
works. The "Concert Diary" page gives more details of our recent concerts.
Choir can be hired to sing at weddings. Our "Wedding Choir" page gives more details.
Musical Director is Richard Lea, who took over from Rory Wainwright Johnston in September 2019. Richard is Organist
at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester
and Christ’s and Notre Dame College in Liverpool and was Organ Scholar at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral studying
with Noel Rawsthorne, Terence Duffy and Philip Duffy. He was then Organist at the Church of St. Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith,
Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancashire. He was appointed Organist at the Cathedral in 1999 working with Mervyn Cousins, Keith Orrell,
Terence Duffy, Timothy Noon and Christopher McElroy. He has directed various ensembles including Wigan Choral Society, the
Brixi Singers, and the Metropolitan Cathedral Cantata Choir. From 2016-2018 he was Organist at Buckfast Abbey, Devon, where
a superb new organ by Fratelli Ruffatti has been installed. He has made numerous broadcasts and recordings, including three
discs of the music of Lefébure Wély (featured in BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains), the complete
organ works of the Welsh composer William Mathias and the World Premiere recording of by Sir John Tavener’s Requiem
(on EMI with the RLPO and Choir conducted by Vasily Petrenko). Reviews include - ‘it is Richard Lea’s superb
playing that steals the show’ (Organists’ Review)’, ‘really first rate playing’, ‘masterful’
(Gramophone), ‘Here is music and playing that will lift your spirits (American Organist), ‘the performances are
brilliant…and genuinely moving’ (International Record Review), ‘exemplary performances – 5 stars’
(Orgelnieuws). He has also released a DVD, receiving great reviews – ‘Bravado performances’, ‘This
is one of the most outstanding instrumental releases on DVD this year’ (International Record Review), ‘Virtuosic
and riveting’, ‘Highly recommended’ (Organists’ Review).