About us

Holmbury St Mary Choral Society is a group of friendly singers with a shared ethos: a good-humoured quest for musical excellence.

The choir was founded in 1925, drawing its members from the surrounding villages in the Surrey Hills and further afield, and continues to flourish today under the excellent musical direction of Cole Bendell.

Although its roots are in the village of Holmbury St Mary, the choir now rehearses every Thursday in Abinger Hammer. Back in the 1950s, though, rehearsals were held in the Hollybush Tavern in the heart of the village, and singers were sustained with tea and biscuits by the woman who ran the shop.

Our membership has also changed over the years, with our choir merging with Peaslake Choral Society in the mid 1960s. More singers joined us from Westcott when that choir closed in 1979.

The choir joined the Leith Hill Musical Festival - a local choral competition - in 1925 and this event remains a highlight of our calendar, alongside annual summer and Christmas concerts. Holmbury Choral are currently on a winning streak having been victorious in our division at the festival for 12 consecutive years.

Much of the credit for our success is due to our present and previous conductors ably assisted by our regular accompanist Suzy Ruffles.