The NBC was formed during September 1954 by a small group of 42 singers, led and inspired by Sir David Lumsden who was at the time, organist at St. Mary’s Church, High Pavement, Nottingham. The first work to be sung in rehearsal was J.S.Bach’s Sleepers Wake. The infant choir was initially too small in number to contemplate a concert on its own, and its first performance was a joint one with the University Cantata Choir conducted by the newly appointed Professor of Music, Ivor Keys in February 1955. By the time our first Director of Music, Sir David Lumsden resigned in order to take up a post at New College, Oxford, the choir was firmly established in the musical life of the city, strong enough in numbers and musicianship to tackle the largest works in the Bach repertoire.
The choir’s connection to the University Music Department continued under successive music Professors until 1990 when the current Director of Music, Paul Hale was appointed. At this time the choir became completely independent from the University, appointing its own officers and committee. It has continued to grow under Paul Hale’s superb direction, and has a reputation for its high quality of music making.
The music of J.S.Bach is central to our repertoire and some of his music is performed during each season. Successive conductors have widened the range of music performed, and we have encompassed works from the Renaissance composers, through Baroque, Classical and Romantic.
Our previous Director of Music, Paul Hale was a specialist in the works of Elgar and his contemporaries. The choir has also developed an interest in contemporary music and has performed several new works by local and international composers. Its performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem during the composer’s centenary year was a highlight of the season.