The Lea Singers in the 1960s


It all started in 1960 on the 08:20 commuter train from Harpenden to St Pancras, when a chance meeting between music enthusiasts sparked the idea of forming a small four-part choir based in Harpenden. On 21 September 1960 seven singers – two each of sopranos, altos and basses and just one tenor (twas ever thus!) – met at the house of Clive Bright, conductor of the Harpenden Salvation Army Band. The Lea Singers were born, named after the river at the heart of the local community.

Here are some key statistics from our 50 year history.

  • Nearly 200 singers of whom 15 stayed for over 20 years
  • 11 conductors Clive Bright, Victor Bowden, Clive Simmonds, Paul Ellison, Peter Collis, Simon Berry, Geoffrey Davidson, Craig McLeish, James Sherlock, Madeleine Lovell (twice!) and Benjamin Goodson
  • 350 concerts in 105 different venues
  • 1,500 different pieces of music, the Top 5 most frequently performed being by William Byrd, Boris Ord, John Bennet, Orlando Gibbons and Charles Villiers Stanford
  • 12 cathedral tours including Canterbury, Stirling, Wells, Winchester and of course St Albans
  • Tours to 6 different countries – including France, Germany, Scotland and Sweden
  • 6 recordings, the latest of which commemorates our Jubilea 2010/11 season

Download Lea Singers history

Notre-Dame: Rising in Song

Saturday 16 November

Masses by Vierne and Castagnet, motets by Duruflé and Bruckner

St. John’s Church, Harpenden

Concert details

“The new group of music enthusiasts made an impressive debut with an entertainment styled Choral Cameos.”

Local newspaper report.
February 1961.