A million good ideas have probably been conceived over a cup of tea. This was certainly the case in 1936, when three ladies, at a house on Mansfield Road decided to form a ladies choir in the town of Alfreton. Of this original trio Cissy Wager, herself a local renowned contralto singer, became its conductor. She held this position until 1970, an incredible achievement in its own right!

Following her retirement Rachel Kennedy, Veronica Wragg and Frank Smith continued the strong choral traditions of the choir and in 1989, Liz Moulder arrived and took the helm until May 2019.

The choir's success is reflected in a variety of ways. This includes the many Music Festival Challenge Cups it has won and its excellent reputation in the East of England for musicianship continues to this day.

In the last twenty years it has also raised considerable amounts of money for charities including DAB, NSPCC, British Heart Foundation, Breast Cancer Research and the Jenny O’Neil Diabetic Clinic at the Royal Derby Infirmary, as well as many other small, local charities. Tens of thousands of pounds has been raised through the work of the choir since its inauguration. Some of our most successful concerts to date have been: the Six Choirs concert at the Alfreton Leisure Centre which raised a large sum for the NSPCC; a concert at Derby Cathedral for DAB which raised over £1500; and an event at Chatsworth Painted Hall which raised £3000 for Breast Cancer. It is hoped that our charity concert on Friday 16 April 2010 at the Chatsworth Painted Hall will result in another considerable donations to the Jenny O'Neil Diabetic Clinic at the DRI.

The choir has also been actively engaged in the past two decades, to widening its performance venues and styles of concert. The Boston Stump, Shrewsbury Abbey, Derby Cathedral and Chatsworth House are just a few of the more prestigious venues for concerts.


Links with choirs further afield, has also meant that they have traveled travel to Bristol, Shrewsbury, West Sussex and Colchester as they share their enjoyment of singing with other like-minded choirs.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the choir chair and other Committee members have also been active members of the National Association of Choirs having joined the organisation to further support and share their love of singing. This has led to their participation and often, hosting, of large scale concerts which encourage choirs throughout the East Midlands to join together in music making. The concert in 2012 was particularly successful, as having initiated the idea, and with the support of the E.C.M.V.C. and Rolls Royce Ladies, the choir helped to raise £2046 for the Sunshine Deck Appeal for a play area at the Royal Derby Infirmary. This concert was the first of its type for the local N.A.C. but definitley not be its last.

It was decided to move the choir into the 21st Century with our new name Sonara Singers which reflects

  • growing membership from local Derbyshire districts

  • move from Alfreton to new premises in South Normanton

  • age range of members from 16 upwards

  • continual development of new choral traditions and 21st century compositions

Celebrating its 75th birthday with an appearance on Central News in 2012. Sonara Singers continue to welcome women who enjoy singing to participate in the varied musical activities and opportunities it offers it singers as we move throughout the 21st century.