Minerva Chorus was founded in the autumn of 2015 by a group of six women who had sung together previously in a large community choir and wanted to further develop their vocal technique and ability. Within a few months the chorus had grown to a membership of fourteen, and with the support of two excellent and very experienced musical directors had begun to establish the Minerva ‘sound’ and repertoire. By the start of 2017 we had grown in size, with nineteen women coming together from Chesterfield, Sheffield and the Derbyshire Dales to rehearse every Monday evening.
We are committed to remaining a small group with fixed membership, so that the Chorus can continually develop and improve its vocal and performance skills. Applications for membership are always welcome, and further information about the process of applying can be found here. Because we limit our numbers we may have a waiting list for specific voice parts at various times.
Nigel Williams - Director of Music
Born in Cornwall, Nigel moved to Derbyshire to marry his teenage sweetheart Margaret (now a Chorus member). In his youth Nigel was immersed in the lyrical phrasing and haunting harmonies of Chapel hymns. His early vocal and choral experiences were shaped through many a performance with various Male Voice Choirs as is the Cornish tradition. Nigel and Margaret were blessed with three sons who joined with Nigel to form the internationally known barbershop quartet - HomeSpun (BABS 2016 Champion Quartet). Nigel has sung with, directed, coached and arranged music for numerous Choruses and smaller vocal ensembles.
With such pedigree, it might be easy for any amateur singing group to feel a little overwhelmed by Nigel’s talents and experiences but Minerva’s much-loved DM is always encouraging and inspiring. Singing and learning under his musical direction is hard work but incredibly rewarding.
Janeen Parker - Chorus Director
Janeen started her music interest and studies early in life as a solo, duet and trio pianist at festivals. Her love of the piano has engendered an immense attention to musical detail but she also loves playing by ear which is where her passion for extra expression comes from. Singing in school and university choirs was always a quiet passion for Janeen but it wasn’t until she had the chance to ‘un-study’ with Nigel in a local Chesterfield women’s chorus that she found her love and talent for conducting and directing. As a very intuitive A Cappella Director, Janeen always brings a joyful humour to the group who really take note of what she wants for and from us. Janeen will take Minerva forward with great music and singing choices and a fundamental belief in us as singers; willing to make the journey together.
Meet some of our chorus members
Mags - Soprano 1
My mother taught me and my sisters to sing in close harmony as children. Until I joined a community choir a few years ago, I had not sung with a choir since I was at school. I have rediscovered my love of singing and really enjoy singing A Cappella with Minerva. Learning the words and music can be challenging, but we all support each other and our musical directors know how to bring out the best in us. I am getting more and more comfortable with performing out. Singing with my "Minnie sisters" takes me right back to the feeling I got from singing as I child: I feel like I'm home.
Vanessa - Soprano 1/Soprano 2
I am a director of a fire alarm company. I fell into singing several years ago quite by accident. I’ve always been musical however joining a chorus had never previously been on my radar. I’m immensely proud to be part of Minerva and all she represents. It’s challenging yet incredibly uplifting. Performances are always a highlight and to have the privilege to stand in front of an audience shoulder to shoulder with such a special group of friends…because that’s what we’ve become… is something I will always cherish.
Viv - Alto 1
I discovered A Cappella singing in my 50s having never sung before. I love that Minerva is a small, friendly chorus and it does not matter that I don't read music. I look after my granddaughter two or three days a week and look forward to the time she is old enough to come to a concert and proudly say " that's my Nana!"
Anne - Soprano 2/Alto 1
I work as a charity administrator. I used to sing in choirs when at school but didn't take up singing again until 4 years ago when I joined a community choir. When I joined Minerva I had some experience of singing A Cappella harmony and was looking for a new challenge. I really enjoy the varied repertoire of Minerva, and have had the opportunity to arrange a piece of music for the chorus. I always look forward to Monday night rehearsals and come away feeling uplifted even after a stressful day at work. I love being able to perform our music in front of an audience and the great feedback we get.
Ann – Soprano 1
I was fortunate and very excited to join Minerva right at the beginning of the project. I've always enjoyed singing since school choir days. I especially love the challenge of sharing A Cappella arrangements, and rehearsing together with friends on Monday evening is a highlight of the week for me. As music librarian, I'm pleased to be helping the group to source songs for the repertoire which demonstrate the carefully blended harmony which our MD, Nigel and Chorus Director, Janeen work hard to achieve with us.
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