Passing the Baton. Malmesbury Singers to Perform Choral Favourites as Musical Director Iain Duffin Retires After 30 Years and Hands Over to Thomas Mottershead as the New Musical Director.

Malmesbury Singers will mark Iain Duffin’s retirement at their concert on the 24th of June, 2023. The choir will perform well-known choruses chosen by Iain from a selection of performances over the last three decades. The concert, ‘A Summer Celebration of Choral Favourites’, will include works by Handel, Haydn, Brahms, Dvorak, Fauré, Bach and Verdi.

The concert will be on Saturday, 24th June, in Malmesbury Abbey at 19:30.  Tickets are available on the choir website:  The choir will be directed one last time by retiring Musical Director Iain Duffin and will welcome Thomas Mottershead as the new Musical Director taking over the baton in September.

Iain says – “I’m thrilled that we’ve found someone as talented as Thomas to take the choir on the next stage of its journey. After over 30 years, it’s a complex decision to step down, but with the baton in Thomas’s hand, I’m confident that the choir can look forward to an exciting future. A fresh (and young!) approach is always good, and the choir were enthusiastic in their choice of Thomas from our rehearsal audition sessions.”

Thomas Mottershead already has exciting plans underway for the year ahead.

I am delighted and honoured to join Malmesbury Singers as their new Musical Director and am very grateful for all the support Iain and the Committee have provided so far. Iain has successfully managed and grown an amazing choir, and I greatly admire his – and the choir’s – accomplishments. During my audition, I felt a real sense of connection, drive, enjoyment and camaraderie within the choir. I am excited to see this develop even further in the coming years. I am very much looking forward to accepting the baton and starting with the choir in September and wish Iain all the very best in his well-deserved retirement.” Thomas Mottershead has a wealth of experience and refreshed energy to continue the choir’s success.

Jim Bartlett, who has recently taken over as Chair of the Committee, adds, “I am delighted that Thomas will be taking up the baton, and I am sure that he will continue to foster the same love of singing from the choir members as Iain has done so magnificently for 30 years. A change in Musical Director will always bring a different energy. I am confident that Thomas will bring positive energy in spades, and I look forward to exciting times ahead.”

Choral Favourites, selected by Iain for his final concert

The Malmesbury Singers’ concert, on the 24th of June 2023, ‘A Summer Celebration of Choral Favourites’, includes works by Handel, Haydn, Brahms, Dvorak, Fauré, Bach and Verdi. Iain Duffin comments, “I’ve picked a programme for my final concert which looks back over my three decades with the choir. We’ll be singing some of the best-loved choruses from our repertoire over many years. It is music that both the audience and choir will be familiar with and will provide us with a memorable evening.”

Thomas Mottershead, who will be attending the concert as a guest, comments, “I am looking forward to not only attending the concert ‘A Summer Celebration of Choral Favourites’ but to hear the choir perform in such an amazing space in Malmesbury Abbey. The repertoire is a fitting end to Iain’s successful reign as Musical Director and will certainly be a celebration.”

So, what’s next for Iain?

Iain says: “I won’t be abandoning the choral world by any means and will continue as a member of The Oriel Singers in Cheltenham, one of the region’s leading amateur chamber choirs. I’m sure other opportunities will come my way, and I look forward to continuing my lifelong association with music in general, especially singing.”.

Jim Bartlett explains how the forthcoming changes in the choir, soon to be directed by Thomas Mottershead, will be an opportunity to welcome new members.

“I very much hope this presents an opportunity for the choir to reach out to new members, and possibly new audiences, to increase our diversity within the choir. No choir can rest on its laurels; all choirs need new (and, by implication, younger) singers to be similarly enthused about the benefits of singing.” Says Jim Bartlett.

Jim continues with his own experiences and why singing is essential for well-being. “I have been singing since I was at school, but I have only been with the Malmesbury Singers since moving to Wiltshire a few years ago and have found it a very engaging, inclusive, and stimulating group. Singing has well-known and well-documented health benefits, but I can think of nothing more effective than singing in a choir such as ours to lift the spirits and take your mind away from daily cares.”

The final performance under Iain Duffin’s directorship will give choir members, new and old, choir supporters and the audience an opportunity to celebrate Iain’s three decades directing the choir. The Malmesbury Singers, supporters and community thank Iain Duffin wholeheartedly for his commitment and directorship over the years and wish him all the best with his future projects.