The name Portsmouth Baroque Choir was adopted on 9th February 1981.
The choir had previously been known as Drayton Choral Society which was originally formed from members of the Drayton Methodist Church. At that time, rehearsals moved from Drayton Methodist Church to Buckland Community Centre and the choir now attracts members from all over southern Hampshire and West Sussex.
Portsmouth Baroque Choir performs a wide repertoire, from the Renaissance period to works of contemporary composers, including several written especially for the choir.
Particular highlights from the past include Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Magnificat and St John Passion, and Rachmaninov’s Vespers. As a small choir we look to perform works with reduced instrumental forces, and in recent years we have performed a number of Handel Chandos Anthems, Bach Cantatas, Purcell Verse and Symphony anthems and early Mozart and Haydn Masses, with a significant number of choir members sharing solo duties. Other composers featuring in recent concerts include Monteverdi, Parry, Kodály, Saint-Saëns, Britten and Jonathan Dove.
Concerts are held regularly, in churches and cathedrals in Portsmouth and the surrounding district. The choir has also participated in the BBC’s ‘Sunday Half-Hour’, and performed live on local radio.
After being runner-up in 2005 and 2014, the choir was thrilled in 2019 to receive the Portsmouth News Guide Award for the Best Classical Act, for our performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor in July. After an inevitable hiatus during the Covid pandemic, in October 2021 the choir was delighted to be performing again, giving a concert in St Mark’s, North End, Portsmouth in support of the church’s 50th anniversary.