Paragon Singers originated in 1976 with a group of 8 friends meeting in a flat opposite The Paragon in Bath. Over the intervening years it has evolved into a chamber choir of 25 voices and performs 3–4 concerts a year. Although amateur, all the singers are experienced musicians and seek to perform to a professional standard.
The choir specialises in Renaissance, Baroque and contemporary music. Under Keith Bennett’s direction it gained a reputation as a leading chamber choir in these fields in the south-west.
Paragon Singers has made tours to Kenya, Ireland, France, Germany and Holland. In 2012 the choir joined with the Thomas-Selle Vokalensemble of Berlin to perform Alessandrio Striggio’s Mass for 40/60 parts in Bath and in Berlin. The choirs again joined forces, in December 2014 in Bath and in January 2015 in Berlin, to sing the Christmas Mass by Michael Praetorius. In September 2014, Paragon Singers gave two concerts in Aix-en-Provence as guests of Opus XIII, a choir which itself performed in Bath and Lacock in 2015. In May 2016 Paragon sang Mass in St Mark’s Basilica, Venice with Thomas-Selle Vokalensemble.
Our big news is that we have appointed a new conductor!
After thirty-three years as director Keith Bennett was always going to be a hard act to follow, but after interviewing a clutch of awesome candidates we have chosen Sarah Latto to start with us in January 2017. She has a music degree from Cambridge where she studied under Stephen Layton and David Skinner.
In 2015/16 Sarah was selected as a Genesis Sixteen conducting scholar on the scheme run by The Sixteen. She writes: ‘Renaissance polyphony is truly music for singers; written by composers who understand the human voice and for whom the voice was often the primary means of artistic communication.’
She has a particular interest in voice and singing technique and very much hopes to invite other choral directors to take singing workshops with us. We are very excited about starting work with her in 2017.