UCS was founded 1881 – we are the 3rd oldest Choral Society in the UK with a continuous record of making music – a feat matched by very few other societies. We have a fascinating history, including a number of famous names associated with the Society.
UCS is dedicated to singing together to a high musical standard. We pride ourselves on working together to improve our singing techniques, widen our musical knowledge and repertoire and to giving enjoyment to others through our concert performances.
UCS has worked with Ed as Musical DIrector since September 2018.
Ed studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire in Vocal and Operatic Studies for a Masters, Graduating in 2013. He has performed with a number of opera companies and choral societies with a varied repetoire which includes oratorio and full roles as well as professional choral singing.
Recently he has performed several times with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, including a BBC Radio 3 prom, performing the tenor solo in Lili Boulanger's Du fond du l'abîme, and concert performances of Wagner’s Parcifal and Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier with small stand out solos, as well as supporting the Chorus for a number of recent concerts. Other operatic roles include Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana with the Midland Opera Company, performing on several occasions with the Birmingham Opera Company as Chorus mentor in Battistelli's Wake, Tippet’s The Ice Break and as mentor and soloist in Mussorgsky’s Kovanschina, as well as performing as a member of Ex Cathedra for Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht, the latter of which was also performed as part of the Proms. He has also worked with the British youth opera in Britten’s Paul Bunyan and with the RSC for the world premier of Johnathan Girling’s Anya, for which he sang the role of Narrator as well as tenor in the semi-chorus.
His recent Oratorio work includes performances of Bach’s Mass in B minor, Verdi’s Requiem and the Evangelist for the St John Passion.
As well as singing, he conducts a local Birmingham choir, the Half Circle Singers and the New Streetly Youth Orchestra, and is currently Musical Director for COMIC Amateur Dramatic Society, based in Clent. He also studied and currently teaches the double bass, having played with the Conservatoire’s Symphony orchestra as an undergraduate and with the CBSO Youth orchestra for five years. His composition of a fanfare for the BCU (UCE) graduation ceremonies, Antiphonality was used for six years and he has received commissions for choral works from the Crescent Theatre and conductor Paul Spicer for the Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
Katie Riddle has been the accomponist for UCS since 2010.
Katie was born in Leek, Staffordshire. At the age of twelve she won the Staffordshire Moorlands Young Musician of the Year competition. After studying piano and violin at Birmingham Conservatoire Junior School Katie continued her piano studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with Carole Presland. She later attained a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Studies from the RNCM studying with Martin Roscoe.
Katie has given solo and duo recitals extensively throughout the Northwest. She also performs regularly as a chamber musician for the registered charity ‘Music In Hospitals’. Katie was the regular accompanist for Burnley Municipal Choir until 2010 and is now the rehearsal pianist for Uttoxeter Choral Society. She also frequently plays with the Ceramic City Choir.
Katie is an accompanist for examinations, festivals and concerts and runs her own private teaching practice. She has recently been appointed as an accompanist at Denstone College and teaches the piano at the RNCM Junior School, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Kings School Macclesfield and Yarlet School.
The committee manages the affairs of the Society and comprises the following people: