Taking The Lead


The South Chiltern Choral Society (SCS), which is based at Maiden Erleigh Chiltern Edge School, Sonning Common, has a new Musical Director, Helen Bilkey.

Helen has taken over from Paul Burke, who has led the choir for the last nine years. Born into a Cornish family with a strong singing tradition, Helen has spent her life involved in music, both in schools and in the wider community. She pursued her passion for choral direction through the completion of an MA in Choral Education, working with the BBC Singers, amongst others. She has set up and directed many community choirs and choruses, with a particular focus on bringing together all age ranges and musical experiences, something which has been shown to have emotional and physical benefits. 

Helen has directed a wide range of choral performances, including the Mozart Requiem, Vivaldi Gloria, Jenkins Armed Man, and the Rutter Magnificat. As Director of Music at The Abbey, she oversees an extensive programme of concerts and performances, as well as over 30 vocal and instrumental ensembles. She conducts the Abbey Symphony Orchestra, Senior Choir, Concert Band, Upper Three Choir, and Staff Singers, and has just returned from a music tour of Paris, where the 60-strong choir and orchestra gave performances in the majestic surroundings of Saint Sulpice and La Madeleine.

The Society’s new term starts 11 September. If you love singing in harmony and are passionate about music, SCS would be pleased to see you! All voices welcome: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. We rehearse on Monday evenings at Maiden Erleigh Chiltern Edge School, Sonning Common.

by Jane Pares

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