Nigel Perona-Wright was appointed as the Musical Director of Stoneleigh Choral Society in June 2008.
His musical career began as a boy chorister at Westminster Abbey. While a pupil at Whitgift School in Croydon, he passed his first diploma for flute playing at the age of seventeen, and he formed and conducted his own chamber choir. He went on to study flute, recorder and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, and took conducting lessons with Barry Wordsworth.
Nigel has previously taken a choir and instrument ensemble to Hungary where he conducted Vivaldi's Gloria and Purcell's Come ye Sons of Art in a series of concerts for British Airways. Since then he has conducted many works including Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Handel's Messiah, Britten's Noyes Fludde and The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins.
Throughout his career, he has also been heavily involved in church music. For many years he sang bass in the chapel choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and is currently Choir Director for the parish of Ashtead. In July 2008, he was one of seven musicians forming the music team for the Lambeth conference of Anglican Bishops, providing both choral and instrumental music for the daily services.
He is the director of the vocal and multi-instrumental quartet, Dragonsfire, specialising in British Renaissance and traditional music. The group perform throughout the UK and abroad, and they perform regularly at period venues such as Hever Castle, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. They have also made several recordings and performed at private events for Sting and Tom Cruise. Recent engagements took the group to the Middle East, where they sang live on television in front of the Emir of Qatar, and they appeared as medieval musicians in the film 'Inkheart', starring Helen Mirren.
Colin Berry is our current accompanist. He is an organist at St Giles and St Georges in Ashtead.
The current team
Conductor: Nigel Perona-Wright
Chairperson: Jean Adams
Secretary: Molly Hadcocks / Ann Swepson
Treasurer: Rebecca Diboll
Publicity: Susan Clark
Librarian: Hilary Perona-Wright
Website: Simon Williams
Choir Representative: TBD
Membership: Kate Yanagimoto
Concert Manager: Roger Barnard
General Data Protection
The Committee has put together a document explaining how data is handled for members and friends of the choir. Please click on the document to the right for details.
On Friday, 19th December 1941 a group of six air-raid wardens from the Stoneleigh District of Ewell agreed to form a choral group, to be called 'Post 17 choral Group'. One of the wardens, James Walker Washington, was appointed as conductor, and the annual music subscription set at two shillings and sixpence. The first rehearsal took place on 8th January 1942 at Mr Washington's house in Stoneleigh with a choir of ten singers.
The choir gradually grew larger and found an alternative rehearsal venue at a local church hall. At the second AGM on 20th January 1944, it was unanimously agreed that the name should be changed to the 'Stoneleigh Choral Society'.
James Walker Washington continued to conduct the society until his death in 1950. He was succeeded by his son, J. Richard Washington, who was conductor for many years until his death in 1974. He was followed by Michael Power until 1977 and then local organist and choirmaster John Avery until 1987.
1987-1988: Several short term appointments
1988: Andrew Dunning
1989-98: Dominic McGonigal
1998-1999: Christopher Dawe
1999-2001: David Shields
2002: Richard Abrahams
2002-2004: Andrew Morley
2005: John Varney
2005-2008: Esther Jones
2008 - current: Nigel Perona-Wright