Our repertoire encompasses the standard choral classics by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms and Mendelssohn, but often veers off at a tangent to include more playful things such as Gilbert and Sullivan, or modern works such as George Martin’s Mission Chorales, Richard Blackford’s Mirror of Perfection, and Bob Chilcott’s Dances of Time.
We rehearse in the New Warwick Hall in Burford, in preparation for three concerts a year. The choir enjoys the skilful support of the Cotswold Chamber Orchestra and professional vocal soloists as well as the inspirational leadership of our new conductor, Will Dawes.
Safeguarding & Privacy Policies
Safeguarding Legal Context:
The law requires any organisation involving young people and/or vulnerable adults to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risk of harm to their welfare are minimised, and where there are concerns, to share them with other local agencies.
You can download a copy of our Burford Singers Safeguarding Policy
We welcome new members with the enthusiasm to tackle the often challenging repertoire we perform. Tenors and basses are particularly welcome. We are not currently taking on new sopranos or altos, but we hope to open voice assessments again for potential new singers of all groups later in 2024. Please check back later in the Spring for more news.
Each applicant undergoes a simple voice assessment with our Director of Music, and may then be offered Full Membership, or, if there are no immediate vacancies, Associate Membership. Associate Members may be invited to sing for one or two terms, sometimes at short notice.
As part of our outreach programme we fast-forward students and waive their subscription fee.
We rehearse on Thursday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 p.m.
The current annual subscription is £195.
If you are interested please e-mail our membership secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fill out our Contact Form for the attention of the Membership Secretary, giving the following details:
- Your full name, address (including postcode) and telephone number.
- Voice (i.e. soprano, alto, tenor or bass).
- Sight-reading ability (don’t worry if this is basic, as you will be encouraged to develop this skill during rehearsal).
- Any choirs you have sung in before.
Burford Singers History
The Burford Singers was formed around 1960, first of all as a group of three female voices singing folk songs at a garden party. In the 1960s there were around a dozen members, and rehearsals were held in members’ living rooms, with John Tayler as conductor.
As numbers grew, Warren Green took over as conductor in 1973, followed by Megan Smith from 1975 to 1978. Stephen Banfield (who was later appointed Stanley Hugh Badock Chair in Music at Bristol University) followed Megan, and a lively series of concerts and other events ensued. In 1980 Joyce Lang became conductor and introduced the choir (now with around twenty members) to Duruflé, Poulenc and Saint-Saens.
When Brian Etheridge took over as conductor in 1986, he recruited more members so that the choir could tackle major choral works, and the current pattern was established of three concerts each year. On his retirement in 2002, Brian Etheridge invited Brian Kay to become his successor and since then the choir continued to grow in numbers and popularity.
After 21 years in the role, Brian Kay announced that he would be stepping down as Conductor and Director of Music after the concert at the end of November 2023. After a detailed recruitment process the choir confirmed the appointment of Will Dawes as Brian Kay’s successor. Will took up the post at the beginning of January 2024 and we very much look forward to working with him on developing a new programme of music for 2024 and beyond.
From the 1980s onwards we performed many of the well-known choral works by major composers from Monteverdi to Morten Lauridsen. Significant events over recent years have been Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions and a celebration of the music of John Rutter (with the composer in the audience). Possibly our most significant and moving occasions were two performances of Britten’s War Requiem given in June 2018 jointly with the English Arts Chorale: over 140 chorus singers, Bristol Cathedral Choristers, two orchestras and three soloists combined forces to give performances in Winchester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey to great acclaim.
A full list of the choir’s performance history can be found on our Events page.