About Us

Photo of Tabard Singers (Click image to enlarge)

The Tabard Singers is a chamber choir which rehearses in central London. We have a wide-ranging repertoire from the 10th to the 21st centuries, both secular and sacred, including almost any type of music that can be sung by unaccompanied choir. Our conductor is Dr Christopher Mercer, who has sung over the years as a solo tenor. We aim towards performing 3 or 4 concerts each year.

Rehearsals take place once a fortnight on Tuesday evenings from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. We don't rehearse during the summer holiday (late July to September) or over Christmas.

The Tabards are not career musicians and we all have our professional activities. Our members are not expected to attend every rehearsal, but we do all try to attend as many as possible in order to maintain musical balance, make our meetings more fulfilling, and avoid having to go over the same ground too many times. Although we like to keep our rehearsals quite informal, we take our performances very seriously. Nevertheless, the driving force behind the Tabard Singers remains the pleasure and the fun of singing together.

Our regular concerts usually allow us to cover rehearsal costs such as music and hire of premises. This means that we do not generally need to charge subscription fees. This may vary from time to time.

History

The Tabard Singers was founded in 1970 by a group of friends who had sung together at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Meeting again in London, they decided to form a choir. In the beginning, they would sing at each other’s homes just for fun, but this would soon develop into structured rehearsals and formal concerts.

Our current membership still contains a few of the original members from St Andrews, but the choir has been kept alive by a constant influx of new members over the years.

We have made two records and appeared on Radio 4 and on BBC Local Radio. At Christmas we are in great demand for carol concerts by Sotheby's and Fulham Palace. In 1982 we were the highest placed British choir in the “Rencontres Internationales de Chant Choral” at Tours in France and have sung in diverse venues from the Purcell Room to the top of Glastonbury Tor.

Finally, a word about our name. A tabard is a short coat or tunic worn in the Middle Ages. It may be sleeveless or short-sleeved, include shoulder-pieces, be belted or not, decorated – usually with a coat of arms – or not. We had arranged to give our first concert, comprising a repertoire of mostly Elizabethan madrigals and Tudor church music, but we still lacked a name and some sort of uniform. Looking for ideas, one of the members spotted an illustration of a tabard. As it turned out, none of us ever actually wore one, but at least we had our name.