It’s a fact!

Singing is Good for You!

Press Release: 04 March 2017

There are many scientific journals and articles that will tell you singing is good for you, but Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus have proof. Bill Smyllie, who joined the Chorus when he was 21 years old, is now entering his 10th decade and celebrating his longevity by – how else – singing! Now a father, a grandfather 6 times over and a Doctor of Metallurgy, Bill has generously offered to celebrate this remarkable musical milestone by sponsoring the Chorus’s next concert, Handel’s Messiah, to be performed at the Victoria Hall, Sheffield on 25 March 2017.

Born in Scotland in 1925, Bill moved to London with his Mum at just 9 months old to join his Dad who was already working there. His love of singing grew from being in the choir of Bancrofts boarding school in Essex from 1936-43, and he came to Sheffield to work in September 1946. It was at Abbeydale Park Sports Club where he played cricket and ‘rugger’ that he met Granville Carr. He suggested Bill ‘joined the Phil’, which he did just one year later. He sang weekly, joined in the Chorus’s international tours and even succeeded Granville as Chairman of the Chorus from 1980-90. Bill’s passion for the Messiah comes from a close association with the work for over 7 decades. Unbelievable as it seems now, between the 1940s and 1970s Sheffield 2 Philharmonic Chorus sang the Messiah up to 3 times each season – with audiences in the thousands on many occasions.

With this Messiah being so near to Easter, conductor Darius Battiwalla will take the opportunity to include movements not often heard when the work is performed in its more usual slot near Christmas. The 18th Century Sinfonia will join the Chorus on period instruments. The strings will be gut and produce a rich sound, particularly effective in concert halls made predominantly of wood and stone – so the Victoria Hall is the perfect concert hall of choice. So, do come and celebrate with Bill, the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and the 18th Century Sinfonia on Saturday 25 March for a spring evening of glorious music that should be a delight for Messiah devotes and newbies alike. Tickets are priced at £12 for adults and are available from

Download: Press Release 3 March 2017