Barclays House Choir was founded in 1976. The original choir was named the Barclays House Sports and Social Club Musical Society, and had ten founder members who all worked for the bank. In 1977 James Grocott was appointed musical director of Barclays House Choir, and would remain for some 35 years. Under his direction the choir’s membership grew, rising as high as 70. Membership was gradually extended to others outside of the bank who wanted to sing in a friendly & relaxed atmosphere, and the choir became a combined workplace & community choir, serving the Poole and Bournemouth areas.
The choir continues to receive generous financial support from Barclays PLC, to whom we are immensely grateful. Barclays House Choir is now the only choral group associated with Barclays, and has sung at major corporate events.
The choir has performed many major choral works under James Grocott’s direction, including Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Brahms German Requiem, as well as more modern compositions such as John Rutter’s Magnificat and Requiem. The choir has performed with soloists Kate Royal, Gareth Malone and cellist Natalie Clein, all of whom are now in great international demand.
At the end of 2011 James Grocott retired as Musical Director, and was succeeded by James Eaton. His first concert with the choir marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by performing music from her coronation to great acclaim, in the presence of the Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, one of the Queen’s personal representatives. Due to personal reasons James had to step down from the position in August 2014. In early September 2014, Helen Brind assumed responsibility for the choir as musical director. She conducted her first very successful concert in December 2015.
Today, the choir rehearses at Poole Grammar School, Broadstone, which has much better acoustics than Barclays House. Concerts are given at St. Peter’s Church Parkstone which, by the kind permission of the Rector and PCC, has been the choir’s principal venue since 1989. The choir has its own orchestra, the St Peter’s Orchestra, which consists of semi-professionals brought together to accompany the choir at concerts. The choir’s rehearsal accompanist is Louise Dukes.