A CREATIVE ENSEMBLE
The Story of The New Horizon Singers
Since our formation in 2001, The New Horizon Singers have been privileged to have been influenced by the musical tastes of Music Directors, choir members and accompanists alike. We pride ourselves on our very wide repertoire and are always striving to meet new musical challenges whilst not forgetting older favourites.
The choir’s origins lie in a female staff choir from the Taunton Marks and Spencer store. In 1975 the Marks Singers was formed to sing in residential homes around the area. In later years they joined with members from an Adult Education singing group, whose musical director led this new combined choir for several years.
In 2001 the choir moved into a new phase, marking their change of direction with a new name (chosen by one of their original singers who, along with another of the first ‘Marks sparks’, is still with us). So began the The New Horizon Singers. They did indeed broaden their horizons and their repertoire under new directors and accompanists. Three years ago their long-standing Musical Director Pat Phillips retired, having led the choir in raising substantial amounts for local charitable causes - mainly for their chosen charity SURE, through regular performances including two major concerts each year.
In September 2015, Elaine Thomas took over the baton, and shortly afterwards Nick Thomas became our accompanist, as well as occasionally arranging new pieces for us to add to our growing repertoire. The choir is now more than thirty-strong, and happy to be performing in a widening variety of venues.
In November 2018 we took part in our biggest venture to date, when we performed at the Royal Albert Hall Festival of Brass and Voice, raising funds for Cancer Research UK alongside some 1500 other singers and three brass bands.
Our two chosen charities are Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment (S.U.R.E) and the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. Since 2002 we have raised £35,950 for S.U.R.E and since 2011 £11,500 for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance.
Grand total so far - £47,450
Elaine has been involved in music all her life, both as a performer and teacher. She has taught in schools in Taunton and Wellington, first as a classroom teacher and latterly as an instrumental teacher - voice, piano, guitar and recorder.
For five years she was Musical Director at St George's Wilton and currently has a private piano practice in Taunton.
Elaine took up the baton as our Musical Director in 2015 and the choir continues to flourish under her leadership.
Nick is a talented musician and multi instrumentalist who plays piano, flute and accordion. He retired as Head of Music at Kingsmead School, Wiveliscombe 6 years ago and now teaches a variety of instruments and singing in a number of schools around Taunton.
He gets involved in all sorts of musical activities : he has performed with Orchestra West and more recently as soloist with the Bridport Chamber Orchestra and MD for a successful production of Aladdin at the Tacchi Morris Theatre.
Nick is currently the MD of Taunton Deane Male Voice Choir.