Benenden is very proud of its choirs, with many varied opportunities for girls to cover a broad range of repertoire, regardless of their experience. Although the groups listed below will be of particular interest to keen singers (and many girls are in two or three groups), we encourage all those who study instruments to sing as the skills developed have far-reaching benefits for all musical disciplines.
The Chamber Choirs are open to all, whether a confident performer or not. The opportunity to make music with friends in a relaxed yet rewarding environment offers welcome variation from the busy schedule.
Chapel Choir (Director: Mr E Whiting)
The School’s only auditioned choir comprises approximately 30 girls across Years 9 to 13. The Choir rehearses twice each week, on top of services and other occasional commitments, and members of the Chapel Choir also attend Chamber Choir. Repertoire is predominantly sacred but with some variation.
The Choir has enjoyed widespread acclaim for its commercial recording of David Bednall’s Stabat Mater, a major new work commissioned by the School in 2014. The girls enjoy many opportunities to perform outside of School, for instance singing Evensong in the major London Cathedrals and embarking on regular foreign tours.
Chamber Choir (Director: Mr E Whiting)
Chamber Choir is at the heart of school events, whether it be leading the Carol Services each December, performing in morning Prayers or concluding the festivities on Speech Day. All girls in Years 9 to 13 are invited to be a part of the group, and those who have singing or instrumental lessons are strongly encouraged to get involved. Meeting once a week for 45 minutes, the Choir’s repertoire is hugely varied, from sacred to secular to pop.
Lower School Chamber Choir (Director: Mr E Whiting)
Also non-auditioned, the Lower School Chamber Choir is open to girls in Years 7 and 8. The Choir enjoys a prominent role on major occasions, such as in Carol Services and within several high profile concerts. All girls who have singing lessons are expected to participate, and those who have instrumental lessons are strongly encouraged to do so.
Folk Groups (Director: Miss C Considine)
There are 2 Folk Groups, Junior and Senior - non-auditioned ensembles who each rehearse once a week. Based around the aural principles of folk music, the groups learn to harmonize, improvise and put their own personal touch into each song. Often the girls will choose a song they like, strip it down and rebuild it with their own interpretation. They also cover music from many different cultures around the world, exploring the folk music of other peoples.