The Choir

The Choir at WLS is one of the best in Britain. It consists of nine professional singers who, individually, have been at the synagogue between 1 and 25 years. They accompany the liturgy, singing at almost every service, either seated behind the Ark, or out in the congregational pews (increasingly popular with the congregation). As well as singing at the Sabbath services, the choir sings at Weddings, B'nei Mitzvah, and Memorials, both at the synagogue, and outside.

Whilst supporting and encouraging congregational singing, their repertoire is drawn from the great 19th and 20th century European tradition.  Almost unique amongst British synagogues, you will regularly hear the music of Sulzer, Lewandowski, Hart, Mombach, Naumberg, Bloch, Adler, Weiner, Janowski, Castel Nuovo-Tedesco, Helfman, etc., together with the finest of home-grown material by Salaman, Verrinder, Rideout, and Mark Raphael (who composed the famous V’shameru for our Sabbath morning service).

History: A mixed male and female choir, together with the organ, has played an important role in the liturgy since the Consecration Service, in January 1842.  By the 1850’s, the first choirmaster, Charles Salaman, and organist, Dr Verrinder, were setting about laying the foundation of a choral tradition, arranging the ancient melodies and composing much new music: a tradition that happily continues, unbroken, to this day, with the current Director of Music, Richard Hills.