The Choir of the UK Parliament is an inclusive organisation, where politicians of all parties and staff work harmoniously together. It is well-loved and has performed to large and enthusiastic audiences in iconic venues such as Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, the Royal Festival Hall, the Banqueting House, Coventry Cathedral and York Minster. It has been an ambassador for the UK and the UK Parliament in Berlin (Bundestag), the Czech Republic (St Vitus Cathedral), Italy (Tuscan Festival) and France (Notre Dame de Paris).
The Parliament Choir is an autonomous body under the patronage of the Speaker of the Houjse of Commons and the Lord Speaker and is open to all who work at Parliament - Members of both Houses, their staff, and parliamentary officials. It was set up because of the difficulties for parliamentarians of belonging to a choir, with their need to be present at Westminster during the evenings. The choir holds weekly rehearsals in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft within the Palace of Westminster during sitting periods, and generally performs three or four concerts a year.
The Choir’s repertoire is wide-ranging and ambitious, including an Opera Gala, Verdi’s ‘Requiem’, Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’, Elgar’s ‘Apostles’ and 'The Dream of Gerontius' and Ryba’s ‘Czech Christmas Mass’ – in Czech! It has also performed several works composed for the choir by Nicholas O’Neill, its chorus master. The Choir has been fortunate to sing with some exceptional guest soloists, including Sir Thomas Allen (the choir’s patron) and Dame Felicity Lott, and has collaborated on larger works with other choirs, particularly the St. Michael’s Singers (now Coventry Cathedral Chorus) from Coventry, and St Albans Bach Choir.