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Centenary Season 2022-23

Dear All,

Centenary Season 2022-23

We are here at last! Lloyd’s Choir gave its first concert on 9 December 1922 and we are devoting the upcoming season to our Centenary celebrations. Debbie Sweet and the Centenary team have been working hard to pull together the exciting programme of events through the season, the highlight of which is our Gala Christmas Concert on the evening of Thursday 8 December 2022 at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall. This promises to be a wonderful occasion, when we hope many of our past and present supporters will be able to join us.

Before that, we will reprise the Dvořák Mass in D as the centre-piece of our Autumn lunchtime concert on Tuesday 4 October, which will also feature an arrangement of The Drunken Sailor by our founder-conductor, Geoffrey Toye. Our postponed premiere of Jacques’s Creation will be on Thursday 23 March 2023 at St Giles’ Cripplegate and we will close out the season with a concert on Thursday 6 July back in our home at St Katharine Cree. More details on all of these are on website.

The season in retrospect

It was an enormous relief to be able to get back to singing at the start of last season, albeit coping with Covid restrictions. But we made it. We were able to stage our usual Autumn and Christmas concerts. It was such a joy to be joined once again by the Cohen Ensemble for our spring concert, and we rounded off the season with our glorious summer concert and drinks in the garden on a sunny July evening. We also had a full programme of additional events, including a couple of memorials in Lloyd’s, and we were able to sing the Lion Sermon and the Lancastria Memorial after the pandemic-induced gap. We have greatly missed a number of members who for personal or work-related reasons have been unable to attend in person, and sincerely hope that many of you will be able to return when and if circumstances allow.

Sponsorship and friends

We face some heavy costs in the coming season. We are changing the basis for the Centenary year, looking to corporate sponsors to participate for the whole season, rather than just the spring concert as previously. Our initial approach has been to those organisations which have supported us in the past, however please do contact us if you'd like more information. We will also be introducing a Centenary Friends scheme, principally aimed at former members and others, with a small package of benefits in return for a subscription. Details to follow.


We are looking to rebuild our numbers, particularly with Jacques’ Creation in mind. It has been gratifying to have a steady flow of new members joining us recently, but we need more, especially in the lower parts. If you know of someone who is a good singer and competent reader of music, please do encourage them to come along and join us. It could be someone who used to sing at school or university who might feel a bit rusty, but mostly they will get back into it very quickly.

Other matters

We are delighted the new ministry at St Katharine Cree is settling down under Fr Angus Ritchie and Fr Josh Harris, and we look forward to supporting the church in its ministry and services.

This will be my last start-of-season letter to members as, after ten years, I shall be standing down as Chairman at the AGM in January. It has been a great privilege to be Chairman of the fabulous Lloyd’s Choir. I have enjoyed (almost) every minute of that time.

Acknowledgements and thanks

A relatively small group of people work tirelessly to keep the show on the road. I particular, I ask you to join me in thanking a few individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the running of the Choir over the last year:

  • Debbie Sweet – as well as being the Soprano Section Leader, Debbie has chaired our Centenary sub-committee and has put in a huge amount of work in the planning of the Gala Concert. Debbie, and her husband Dave, are invariably the last to leave at the end of our concerts, after clearing and tidying up.

  • Brian Bendle – our brilliant rehearsal accompanist, Brian has master-minded our sponsorship programme, takes rehearsals when Jacques cannot be there, and conducts numerous small gigs.

  • Robert Sumerling – whose experience as a concert manager for his other choir has been invaluable in organising the practical aspects of our concerts next season, including staging and lighting and a myriad of other matters.

  • Celia Cooper – our librarian, sources and controls copies. You can help by ensuring that copies are properly signed out and back in promptly.

  • David Houghton – our Treasurer, who also provides back-up as accompanist and directing rehearsals and additional events.

  • Victoria Soman – our website manager, who keeps the site updated, and never complains when she is asked to post this and change that.

  • Last, but by no means least, Jacques Cohen, our Musical Director since 1995. Jacques has been tireless in his support of Lloyd’s Choir through the recent difficult times, always supportive of me and the Committee, understanding that members’ work commitments mean we cannot all be there for all of every rehearsal, and driving us to give of our best.

Thanks also to those I have not mentioned, including the rest of your Committee and Section Leaders whose contributions make Lloyd’s Choir the great organisation it is.

Best regards


Lewis Phillips


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