Before the choir was formed, we were fortunate to have Doris Samuels providing music at services and then, on a more regular basis by Cynthia Limburg, singing solo voice. Venues for services have included The Labour Hall and Balfour Road in Ilford until we moved to Oaks Lane, Newbury Park.
The Choir first appeared at the Erev Succot service in 1961, a four-part SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) group of 12 synagogue members led by Jack Paul. The choir has grown in number and now has 22 members. The merger with the Settlement Synagogue led to the name change SWERS to SWESRS and brought in more choristers.
Our reputation within the Reform movement is well known. The choir has been fortunate enough to have worked with many Rabbis, some of whom were members of the choir before entering the Rabbinate. Rabbi Henry Goldstein has had the longest association with the choir-almost 40 years now.
LOCATION & PRACTICE
The Choirmaster, currently Ian Jacobs, pictured left, leads rehearsals and services, assisted by a mixture of competent professional accompanists. The Treasurer looks after the choir's financial interests and the co-ordinator looks after the music, administration and many other tasks. It is very much a family activity.
We have a mixed choir tradition (SATB-soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and take our music from a number of sources including Reform, Orthodox, Chassidic & Renaissance, as well as modern, Israeli, and original works by SWESRS people. The choir has recently held a concert to celebrate its 55th Anniversary.
Over this time, the choir has been conducted by the following Choirmasters, all of whom have played a huge part in its development:- Jack Paul, Hans Hirschberg, John Auton, Bernard Pearlstone, Jack Rosenberg, Miles Fallman and Ian Jacobs.
Rehearsals are on Tuesday nights and the choir is always looking for new choristers. You don't need to be able to read music or hebrew!