“EVEN though it is a local choir, it should be a world class performance,” says David Temple, musical director and conductor of the Hertfordshire Chorus.

He is speaking about their upcoming performance at St Albans Cathedral, which will delve into the works of Vaughan Williams: Sea Symphony and Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms.

Leonard Bernstein, who is most known for writing West Side Story, also composed his Chichester Psalms for Chichester Cathedral in 1965 when he was taking a sabbatical.

Sea Symphony is based on poetry by 19th century American poet Walt Whitman, who wrote Leaves Of Grass and O Captain! My Captain! David is a fan of his words as he believes they are profound and often talk about visual things such as the power of the sea.The 62-year-old, who lives in Muswell Hill, says Sea Symphony, which is an hour long, describes the ocean in all its beauty, whether it is wild with crashing waves or peaceful and tranquil.

The choir are returning to St Albans Abbey after previously singing Bach’s St John Passion in English, to capture the depth and magnitude in the cathedral’s echoing hall.

David says: “The very beginning of the Bernstein piece has got this dance to it, which is a bit like a Jewish wedding feel with a very catchy rhythm.

“I just love the way the voices just hand over from once voice to another and then suddenly you have percussionists playing the tambourine and a xylophone. It is just a really vibrant piece of music and is probably my favourite.

“The symphony has a massive orchestra including wood wind, strings, percussion, brass, two harps and also uses the magnificent church organ at St Albans Cathedral, which is one of the finest organs in the world. When they press the pedal from that organ, the whole building shakes with a low rumble, it is really vivid music.

“When you travel round the world performing, you realise that St Albans Cathedral is one of the greatest buildings in the world. It is about 1000 years old, although most of it is probably a little bit more recent at about 600 years old.

“You walk in there and feel like you’re in the presence of something fantastic, with the atmosphere and so much history. It has a wonderful echo and I always feel privileged to be in there conducting concerts.”

David admits that nobody seems to have a definitive answer about when the choir first began. He guesses it has probably been going for about 45 years but he has only been the conductor since 2000.

He began singing originally but prefers directing and preparing choruses for their performances and is also the conductor for the Crouch End Festival Chorus, which he started 32 years ago.

He says: “I do prefer the thrill of conducting but will also join in when I can. In fact, quite a few of the chorus were singing on Saturday night at the O2, in Geenwich with Italian classical crossover tenor Andrea Bocelli. Instead of sitting in the audience and listening to the choir, I decided to join in with them.

“My background is really unusual, as most conductors learn an instrument when they are a child and go to some sort of music college but I didn’t do any of that. All I was interested in as a child was football, cricket and pop music.

“I discovered classical music when I was 18 years old and then started singing and taught myself how to read music and wanted to become a conductor.

“This career means I’m always busy, as I’m working on something different every day. I’ve got two big concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, in South Kensington, coming up.

“One is a tribute to Terry Wogan, who passed away in January and I think Take That will be performing in that concert as well. The other one is with the BBC Symphony orchestra next month and will feature works by French Romantic composer Berlioz.”

Hertfordshire Chorus, St Albans Abbey, Holywell Hill, St Albans, AL1 1BY, Saturday, October 15, 7.30pm. Details: hertfordshirechorus.org.uk