When your organisation is known by its initials, KAOS, you would probably expect the worst - yes, a load of chaos.

But nothing could be further from the truth - KAOS is the shortened name for Kidlington Amateur Operatic Society.

Formed in 1977, its members are noted for staging performances which attract large and enthusiastic audiences.

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As it says in its publicity material, KAOS “provides a fun, friendly, inspiring environment in which people, regardless of age, gender or experience, can learn and perform a wide range of vocal music.”

The two pictures here date from 2017 when the group celebrated its 40th anniversary by staging Offenbach’s La belle Helene at Gosford Hill School, Kidlington.

In the top picture we see Jon Jewit as Killer, David Hughes as Zeus, Robin Wakefield as Clyde and David Betts as Guy.

The lower picture shows Alison Jerred as Henny, Simon Street as Cal and Liz Liddiard as Leana.

The cast delighted not only audiences on successive nights but also Oxford Mail news editor Pete Hughes, who reviewed one of the performances for the newspaper.

He wrote: “They’re racy, they’re saucy and they’re celebrating 40 years of singing opera.

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“The veteran virtuosos of Kidlington Amateur Operatic Society have been staging their 40th anniversary production - and it’s a zinger, opening on the first night to rave reviews.

“The sizzling show tells the story of a man who is promised another man’s wife as a gift.

“This wife also just happens to be the most beautiful person in the world - La belle Helene. The only problem is that Helen’s husband, not unnaturally, has no enthusiasm for the plan.”

KAOS members also attracted huge praise when they gave their latest performance entitled Music of the Heart, featuring Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast and songs from other composers, mainly women, at St Mary’s Church, Kidlington, in April.

Oxford Mail: KAOS in 2017

In two forthcoming shows, audiences will be invited to ‘Come and Sing 100 years of Broadway’ on Saturday, June 15 and ‘Come and Sing Pirates of Penzance’ on Saturday, October 12.

Both will take place at St John’s Church hall in Garden City, Kidlington, from 9.45am to 5.30pm.

The annual Christmas concert will be held at St Mary’s Church, Kidlington, on Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19.

The present musical director is Andrew Churchill-Stone, a chartered accountant, who has had a distinguished career in music.

He is a pianist, organist and singer and a founder member of the Oxfordshire Youth Chamber Choir. He is also a long-standing member of St Peter’s Players at Wolvercote.

He joined KAOS in 1995 and has been conductor since 2021. No doubt it will soon be time to start planning for the group’s next big date, the 50th anniversary in 2027.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.