Roderick Williams to be President of Three Choirs Festival Society

The baritone Roderick Williams is to become President of the Three Choirs Festival Society in succession to the soprano Dame Felicity Lott, with immediate effect. Mr Williams has had a long association with the Three Choirs Festival as a soloist in recital and oratorio, in the past as a member of the vocal consort I Fagiolini, as guest speaker at the Three Choirs Festival Society lunch in Hereford in 2015 and also as a composer. He won the Choral category of the British Composer Awards 2016, announced on 6 December, for 'Ave Verum Corpus Reimagined', his reflection on William Byrd's Kyrie written for the debut CD of the chamber choir Ora, conducted by Suzi Digby. Next summer’s Three Choirs Festival in Worcester will see the premiere by vocal trio Voice and cellist Matthew Sharp of his Five Madrigals, including a setting of ‘The Cellist’ by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

Jeremy Wilding, Chairman of the Three Choirs Festival Society, said: ‘I am delighted that Roderick Williams has agreed to become the new President of the Three Choirs Festival. This news will be very well received by the members of the Society by whom Roddy has always been uniquely loved and admired.  The phrase “festival favourite” can easily be over-used by marketing departments, but in the case of Roderick Williams it could not be more appropriate.’

Responding to the invitation, Roderick Williams said:

‘It is a huge honour to be invited to follow in such wonderful and august footsteps as those of Dame Felicity and her predecessor Dame Janet Baker.  It gives me quite a frisson even to be considered in the same breath.  That will be quite something to live up to. I am honoured and flattered to have been considered and it would give me great pleasure to assume the role.’

The Three Choirs Festival Society exists to enable devotees of the festival to support it financially and demonstrate their belief in the Three Choirs ethos. It also has a social function, bringing together regular attenders for special events where friendships can be consolidated and enthusiasm for the festival nurtured. Members enjoy benefits such as priority booking at various levels and exclusive information about festival activities via the Society Spotlight newsletter.

The Society was founded in 1996 and now has nearly 1000 members. Revenue from their annual membership fees makes a genuine contribution to the cost of putting on the festival every year.

The membership year encompasses one festival, running from the end of one festival to the end of the next. Those who apply for membership by 1 February are eligible for full benefits including priority booking for that year’s festival.