About the Choir
When John Lobb went to Canford, Dorset, in the summer of 1955 to attend a choral course he sowed the seeds of what would become the Jersey Festival Choir.
There he met distinguished choral conductor Leslie Woodgate and asked him if he would come to Jersey to conduct a performance of Handel's Messiah – if a large enough choir could be gathered.
By the autumn John had the agreement of the Jersey Gleemen, Jersey Ladies Choir, Vauxhall Ladies Choir and the Jersey Evening Institute Choir to rehearse Messiah, in addition to maintaining their normal programmes.
Stanley Sackett, conductor of the Gleemen, took charge of the rehearsals, with John Lobb as accompanist.
The performance of Messiah at a packed Wesley Grove Church on 29 May 1956 was described by the Evening Post as 'the most outstanding musical occasion in memory'.
So began the Jersey Festival of Music and a new independent choir, the success of which over the ensuing years was ensured by chairman Arthur Harrison, former editor of the Evening Post.
The tradition of a distinguished guest conductor has continued to the present day.
After Leslie Woodgate came Dr (later Sir) Thomas Armstrong, principal of the Royal Academy of Music, and then his successors, Sir Anthony Lewis and Dr David Lumsden.
Stanley Sackett resigned as chorus master in 1960 and his place was taken by the accompanist and deputy conductor, John Lobb.
When John established the Jersey Festival Choir, his sister Amy took charge of the junior section – which would eventually become Holmchase – as well as acting as one of the accompanists for rehearsals.
Throughout the years Amy, John and their brother, Arthur Lobb, supported each other with their differing styles of choral music, and when John died at the end of 1980, the Festival Choir's silver jubilee year, it was Amy who took over as conductor and chorus master.
Fifteen years later she handed over the baton to another member of the extended family – Sue de Gruchy.
This Lobb family link has continued in recent years with Elizabeth Farnon taking over in 2008 and William Millow in 2017…
For the source of this text and more about the history of music in Jersey, see the Jersey Evening Post article Musical journey through the past here
Jersey Festival Choir Constitution
The name of the Society shall be Jersey Festival Choir, hereinafter referred to as the Choir.
The objects of the choir shall be to improve and develop the art of choral music by the
presentation of public performances; and for the general purposes of such charitable bodies
or for such other purposes as shall be exclusively charitable as the Committee may from
time to time decide.
Membership of the choir shall be open to any person interested in furthering the objects of
the choir and who has paid the annual subscription at the appropriate rates as shall be
determined by the Committee, all subscriptions being paid at the beginning of each Choir
Every member shall have one vote at all general meetings
The Committee has the power to terminate the membership of an individual, provided that
the decision of the committee (with the exception of (i) the individual concerned if a
member of the Committee and (ii) any member of the Committee making or connected with
the complaint against the individual) is unanimous both as to the termination and there being
good reason for it. The individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the
Committee, accompanied by a friend if desired, before a final decision is made.
4. Officers and Committee
The management of the Choir shall be in the hands of a Committee consisting of the
President, who will act as chairman of all meetings
Other members of whom there will be at least two elected
The officers and other Committee members shall be elected by and from members of the
Choir at the Annual General Meeting; they shall hold office until the next Annual General
Meeting and be eligible for re-
The Choirmaster will be ex-
all matters before the Committee.
The Committee may co-
All arrangements for concerts and other events and the control of finance shall be in the
hands of the Committee.
In furtherance of the objects but not otherwise, the Committee may exercise the following
i) power to raise funds and to invite contributions, provided that in raising funds the
Committee shall not undertake any permanent trading activities and shall conform
to any relevant requirements of the law;
ii) power to co-
authorities operating in furtherance of the objects or of similar charitable
purposes and to exchange information and advice with them;
iii) power to commit to the hire of premises for performances and social events, the
hire of soloists and musicians to accompany the Choir and to enter into any other
commitments related to performances or social functions of the Choir;
iv) power to support any charitable trusts, associations or institutions whose objects
relate to or are similar to those of the Choir, or are charities existing to provide
benefits to the Island's community;
v) power to appoint such advisory committees as the Committee may think fit,
vi) power to incur or commit Choir funds, being of either a capital or revenue nature,
provided such expenditure is in furtherance of the objectives as set out above and
does not exceed the sum of £5000 in any one instance. A sum greater than £5000
will be submitted for approval to choir members in General Meeting.
vii) power to do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement
of the objects;
7. Meetings and the Proceedings of the Committee
i) The Committee shall hold at least two meetings each year. A special meeting
may be called at any time by the Chairman, or by any two members of the
Committee, upon not less than one week's notice being given to other members of the
Committee of the matters to be discussed.
ii) The President shall act as Chairman of the Committee. If the Chairman is absent from
the meeting, the members of the Committee present shall choose one of their number to
be Chairman before any other business is transacted.
iii) There shall be a quorum when at least three members of the Committee are present at the
iv) Every matter shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members of the
Committee present and voting on the question, but in the case of equality of votes, the
Chairman of the meeting shall have a second or 'casting ' vote.
v) The Committee shall keep minutes of the proceedings at its meetings and of any subcommittee
and make them available at any time.
vi) The Committee may appoint one or more sub-
members of the Committee, for the purpose of making any enquiry or supervising or
performing any function or duty, which, in the opinion of the Committee, would be more
conveniently undertaken by a sub-
shall be fully and promptly reported to the Committee.
i) The financial year shall end on the 31st July each year.
ii) A bank account shall be opened in the name of the Choir and cheques shall be signed by
any two officers of the Choir.
iii)The Choir may receive donations, grants and in the appropriate circumstances financial
iv) The income and property of the choir shall be applied solely towards promoting the
objects of the Choir as set forth above and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred
either directly or indirectly to any member or members of the Choir except in payment of
legitimate expenses on behalf of the Choir.
v) No monies or property of the Choir may be donated to other charitable societies
unless agreed by a majority of the Committee and approved by the Choir in general
meeting of which at least fourteen days notice has been given.
9. Annual General Meeting
i) Within three months of the end of each financial year, there shall be held an Annual
General Meeting of which at least 21days notice in writing shall be given to all members.
ii) The Committee shall present to each AGM the report and accounts of the Choir for the
iii) Nominations for election to the Committee must be made by members of the Choir to
the Secretary at least 14 days before the AGM. Should nominations exceed vacancies.
an election shall be held.
iv) Other matters to be considered at the AGM will be at the discretion of the Committee or
may be requested by a member or members.
10. Special ( Extraordinary ) General Meeting
A Special General Meeting, or Extraordinary Meeting, of which at least 21 days notice in
writing must be given to members, may be called for by the Committee or on written request
to the Secretary signed by at least six members of the Choir. The notice must state the
business to be discussed.
11. Procedure at General Meetings
The Secretary or other person specially appointed by the Committee shall keep a full record
of proceedings at every General Meeting of the choir.
There shall be a quorum when at least 10% of the members of the Choir at the time are
present at any General meeting.
The accounts shall be audited to the extent required by legislation or, if there is no
requirement, scrutinised by a person who is independent of the Committee and then
submitted to the members at the Annual General Meeting.
13. Alterations to the Constitution
The Constitution may be altered by a two-
at any General Meeting, provided that twenty one days' notice of the proposed alteration has
been sent to all members and provided nothing therein contained shall authorise any
amendment which shall have the effect of the Choir ceasing to be a charity.
In the event of the Choir being wound up, any assets remaining on dissolution after the
payment of proper debts and liabilities shall be transferred to a charitable institution or
institutions having similar objects to those of the Choir.
The constitution of the choir can be downloaded from here. The document is Portable Document format (pdf) and the Adobe Acrobat reader program is needed to view it, if you do not have this then you can download a free copy from here
The Choir Constitution can be found here
The story as to how the choir came about is as follow…