Bedford Choral Society -  150th Anniversary  - BCS Today

Welcome to Bedford Choral Society !
Celebrating 150 Years of Singing for the Joy of It

We would like to welcome you to Bedford Choral Society in our 150th Anniversary year ...

We perform a wide range of mainly classical music although often perform lighter works in our Summer concerts. There are three or four concerts every year, usually at Bedford’s Corn Exchange, accompanied by professional solo singers and orchestra. We also hold a Christmas concert with Bedford Town Band every other year.

However, as well as the concrts in the Bedford Corn Exchange we organise workshops and training sessions , led by professional vocal coaches. These enhance the weekly rehearsals which are taken by a professional Director of Music, Ian Smith, and a professional Accompanist/Assistant Chorus Master, Tim Grant-Jones. These workshops also help prepare for the following concert. They are open to both members and non-members of the Choral Society.

Members make up a Chamber Choir to sing at weddings, funerals, Christmas functions and other events to raise Choir funds. We have also sung at Bedford’s exciting and ever-popular Proms in the Park for many years.

The 150th Anniversary Concert was on April 30th 2017, the same date as the first concert by the Society in 1867. This featured a work by Mendelssohn, as performed at that first concert, plus English works including a new commission. June’s concert was also of English music, and we finish a very full year with Elgar’s ‘The Kingdom’ in November and a concert of Christmas carols in December. The next year starts with an exciting concert of Russian music in March 2018.

If you enjoy singing formal classical music, now is your opportunity to sing with this choir, of nearly 150 singers, in our Anniversary year and beyond.

Why not come along to one of our rehearsals to see if you would like it? We meet at St Gregory’s Roman Catholic Middle School, Biddenham Turn, Biddenham every Monday night in term time from 7.30 to 9.30pm and newcomers are welcome to join us at any time. Please see the contacts or joining pages of this website for more information.

The joy of being part of a large, well established choir is that you learn so much from singers around you and gain confidence in your own singing. There is an audition, on a 1:1 basis for everyone, but is not intimidating, as we have all discovered.

Quotes from members of the choir:

  • ”I came back to BCS as I missed the challenges and thrills of singing classic ‘big’ choral works. The people are friendly too!” Cathy

  • “I joined the choir last year because I sang in a choir as a child and really wanted to get back to it. Singing with BCS has been really great - exciting music, professional direction and really high quality performances. I’m learning so much more than I ever imagined.” Bruce

  • “After retirement twenty years ago I was eager to rediscover the pleasures of singing, last enjoyed as a schoolboy. Thanks to Musical Director Ian Smith’s genial encouragement, I swiftly found my voice again, since when I have enjoyed the privilege and thrill of performing major works in the ranks of one of this country’s oldest choral societies.” Peter

  • “In around 1957 I went to a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Corn Exchange by Bedford Musical Society. I had sung it at Bristol cathedral so I then knew I wanted to join this Choir. I have sung in most of the concerts since then with a variety of different conductors, including the late Sir David Wilcocks, who was always inspiring. BCS, as it now is, has always played a large part in my life and I have enjoyed it all for 50 years.” Rosie

  • “As a newcomer I have found Ian both supportive and nurturing for those of us with less experience.” Izzy

The Choir held its first performance on 30th April 1867 and is one of the oldest choral societies in the country. You can read more about us in “Bedford’s Musical Society. A History of Bedford Choral Society” written by member Michael Benson. Bedford Library has copies.

Today, the Choir is a vibrant and enthusiastic group of people of all ages although we aim to attract more young people. Our rehearsals often include a ‘coffee and cake’ interval break.

Page date: July 2017

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