In 1902 Maidstone had a Ladies Glee Club, whose conductor was Frank Wilson Parish, the organist at All Saints’
Church. In October that year some musical gentlemen sought to join them and the Maidstone Choral Union was born. Their inaugural concert came the following year, with a performance of Mendelssohn’s St Paul. Under Frank Parish’s baton the Choral Union flourished.
Each year they learned and performed one major choral work The Messiah, Elijah, The Dream of Gerontius. As their confidence and musicianship grew, they took part in both local and national musical festivals, winning many of these. The choir continued to sing throughout both world wars: honorary membership was offered to singers temporarily stationed in the Maidstone area.
Ill health forced Frank Parish’s resignation in 1942, and the much loved Albert Croucher, himself a tenor in the choir, became the new conductor. Ambitious extensions to the choir’s repertoire followed, including Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem, and well known soloists such as Isobel Baillie appeared with the Choral Union.