About us
Our history

Canterbury Choral Society has forged a reputation for outstanding levels of performance, and is established as one of the most accomplished groups of its kind in the South East.

Admired for its quality of sound, ensemble, and intonation, it is a symphonic choir and a magnet for performers from many walks of life for which Canterbury can be justly proud. The formation of the CCS Youth Choir in 2007 has provided another platform of excellence for younger voices.

Led by distinguished Music Director Richard Cooke since 1984, and now in his 40th year, the Society performs four major concerts in Canterbury Cathedral every year, and hosts Family Carols at Christmas. CCS has also performed a major concert each year in the Canterbury Festival since its launch in 1984. It has appeared in cities in northern France, (Verdi’s Requiem in Boulogne and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Lille). It has given performances of Mahler’s 8th and Berlioz’ Grande Messe des Morts (with the RPO) in the Royal Albert Hall, and in 2005 made a live recording of Elgar’s The Apostles for commercial CD production, together with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

CCS has maintained an ambitious level of programming alongside the more regular choral repertoire.

Canterbury Choral Society is a progressive charity that seeks to engage the next generation and support the future of musical excellence, recognising its cultural and social significance. By providing accessible music training and performing great choral works, we transfer musical appreciation and expertise from older to younger generations through our members and the audiences that attend our concerts.

Whilst aiming for a standard of professionalism, Canterbury Choral Society remains in essence an amateur choir open to all who apply and pass an audition. Members may briefly reflect on their achievements after concerts, but a challenge awaits them the following Tuesday when they begin rehearsals for their next performance.

Whilst achieving professional standards, Canterbury Choral Society remains an amateur choir open to all who apply and pass an audition. We invite enquiries from anyone who might like to join us.


“My father, Victor Gibbs, had a long association with the Cathedral, becoming a Chorister, being married there and a Steward for many years. Along with my mother, he sang for nearly 40 years with the CCS. This love of singing music stayed with him all his life. When he stopped singing, he continued to support the CCS and attended concerts into his nineties. I too was accepted into the Cathedral Choir School and continued to sing in the choir of my next school. After a short break, I longed to get back to singing in the Cathedral and joined my parents in the CCS.

Learning to sing in a group is a discipline that can be put to good use in life. It teaches the value of cooperation, concentration, fulfillment, well-being, and conveying pleasure to others through the performance of choral music. There is the social side too, making new like-minded friends. We must ensure that the choral tradition continues and evolves. I know that my father felt the same way.”