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09-Jun-2018: Chilcott A Little Jazz Mass and more!

Saturday 9 June 2018 3.00pm

Storyhouse, Chester CH1 2AR

Chilcott Jazz Mass


Tickets: £12 adults; £5 Full-time students and Under 18s

Bob Chilcott is one of the UK’s foremost choral composers. Those who attended his workshop in April will wish to come and hear several of his outstanding works, including his Little Jazz Mass and arrangements of spirituals. Chester Bach Singers is excited to perform for the first time in the Storyhouse Studio, a great new venue for Chester with full refreshment and other facilities – and comfy seats! Come and tap your toes to Bob’s lively music, mixed with other melodic and lighter fare from one of the North West’s most diverse and dynamic singing groups.

02-May-2018: Fauré Requiem

Wednesday 2 May 2018 8.00pm

St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Parkgate Road, Chester CH1 4AG

Fauré Requiem with choir and organ

Faure’s Requiem is one of the most popular of all choral works. Written by the composer in memory of his parents, it is a gentle, reflective piece that provides comfort for those left behind. Faure was a great melody writer, and several movements, including the famous Pie Jesu, as well as the Agnus Dei, are based around melodies which stay with the listener long after the performance. This short concert of just over an hour, followed by refreshments, will include other, shorter works to contrast and show the choir’s many talents.

10-Mar-2018: Handel Israel in Egypt

Saturday 10th March 2018 7.30pm

Chester Cathedral CH1 2DY

Handel Israel in Egypt

With The 18th Century Sinfonia

Encounter frogs, locusts, tidal waves and much more as Chester Bach Singers return to Chester Cathedral to perform Handel’s exciting and vivid piece Israel in Egypt. This work is always one of the choral singer’s favourites because the choir is the star of the show. The story is about the Israelites escaping from captivity in Egypt (it’s what happened after Joseph’s technicolour dreamcoat was long gone!), with a little help from plagues of insects and other catastrophes visited on the Egyptians to persuade them to let the Israelites go – and the choir is the Israelites. Eventually, the escaping Israelites escape across the Red Sea, pursued by the Egyptians, who are sucked under a vast tidal wave. All this is depicted in exciting, often fast music by one of the greatest opera composer – no long, complicated arias here! Chester Bach Singers will be joined by regular partners, the 18th Century Sinfonia under the baton of Martin Bussey. Join us on a helter-skelter journey (about the only thing Handel didn’t put in!).

Adults – £20 Main Nave; £14 Rear Nave and West Steps; £8 Aisle (some restricted view)
Full time students and Under 18s – £5

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16-Dec-2017: Carols by Candlelight (St Werburgh’s)

Saturday 16 December 2017 7.30pm

St Werburgh’s, Chester, CH1 1QJ

Tickets: £12 Adults and £5 Full Time Students/Under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

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Join Chester Bach Singers to celebrate the holiday season with a mix of carols and seasonal music. During the interval, enjoy a glass of seasonal cheer with a mince pie to fortify your caroling! There will be a retiring collection for Chester Aid to the Homeless, our nominated charity for the 2017/18 Season.

Tickets: £12 Adults and £5 Full Time Students/Under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

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10-Dec-2017: Carols By Candlelight (Tattenhall)

Sunday 10 December 2017 7.30 pm

St Alban’s Church, Tattenhall CH3 9QE

Tickets: £12 Adults and £5 Full Time Students/Under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

Buy Tickets Online

Join Chester Bach Singers to celebrate the holiday season with a mix of carols and seasonal music. During the interval, enjoy a glass of seasonal cheer with a mince pie to fortify your caroling! There will be a retiring collection for Chester Aid to the Homeless, our nominated charity for the 2017/18 Season.

Tickets: £12 Adults and £5 Full Time Students/Under 18s. Includes seasonal refreshments.

Buy Tickets Online

21 Oct 2017: Dvořák Stabat Mater

Saturday 21 October 2017 2.30 pm

Wesley Church Centre, Chester CH1 1DA

Dvořák Stabat Mater in piano version

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Soprano soloistEmily Burnett

Alto soloist: Lucy Vallis

Tenor soloistWill Smith

Bass soloistPeter Edge

Tickets: £10 adults; £5 Full-time students and Under 18s

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Dvorak is best known for his symphonies, particularly the New World Symphony, but he was celebrated as well in his day for his operas and choral works. Chester Bach Singers start their 2017-18 season with an unusual work by the celebrated composer, written in unusual circumstances. His Stabat Mater was composed in 1876. It is full of beautiful melodies, often with a folk influence, as Dvorak was keen to write music which reflected his native Bohemia (now the Czech and Slovak Republics). The poem is a slightly complex medieval text which considers the emotions of the Virgin Mary watching Christ’s Crucifixion. The emphasis is on her emotions as a mother and how these can have an impact on Christians. The unusual starting point for the setting was the death of one of Dvorak’s own children. As a relatively unknown composer at this stage, Dvorak knew he was unlikely to be able to stage a performance of the work with an orchestra. He therefore wrote the piece for four soloists, choir and piano accompaniment, played by our regular accompanist, Catherine Barnett. This makes the piece ideal for the forces of Chester Bach Singers. Although Dvorak later extended and orchestrated the work (sadly, after the deaths of two other children), the piece has direct impact in its earlier version. The mood is reflective, but Dvorak’s great gifts as a melody writer (as the New World Symphony shows) create continual interest, and he uses the choir in lots of varied ways, including groupings of voices (male or female) and as a backdrop to dramatic singing by operatic-style soloists. Chester Bach Singers is lucky to have four of the North West’s most promising young opera singers to perform these roles in Emily Burnett, Lucy Vallis, William Smith and Peter Edge.

Tickets: £10 adults; £5 Full-time students and Under 18s

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16th September 2017: Vocal Technique Workshop

Saturday 16th September 9.45am

The King’s School, Wrexham Road, Chester CH4 7QL

Our first event of the 2017-2018 season is a Vocal Technique Workshop on Saturday 16th September at The King’s School, Wrexham Road, Chester CH4 7QL

The format of the day will be as follows:

9.45 Arrival
10.00 – 10.30 Warm-up session with Joseph Judge
10.30 – 11.30 Group A Singing with the voice – Vocal techniques Joseph Judge
Group B Singing with the ears – Aural techniques Martin Bussey
11.30 – 11.45 Break
11.45 – 12.45 Group B Singing with the voice – Vocal techniques Joseph Judge
Group A Singing with the ears – Aural techniques Martin Bussey

A little more about the workshop:

Chester Bach singers launch their 2017-18 season with an opportunity to brush up and revitalise both voices and ears.

Joseph Judge is one of the most dynamic young choral conductors in the North, recently appointed director of the Leeds Guild of Singers following several years as Assistant Director of the St George’s Singers. Joe is a graduate of Manchester University and a Lay Clerk at Manchester Cathedral and was a National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellow.

Martin Bussey is not so young but still, hopefully, dynamic. Director of Chester Bach Singers for the past 30 years, Martin has long emphasised the link between inner hearing and success in choral singing. He was Director of Choirs at Chetham’s School of Music for 25 years. He is a Vocal Tutor at Manchester University, regularly directs the BBC Daily Service Singers and, as a composer, has been performed in countries as far apart as New Zealand and the Faroe Islands.

Primarily this is a workshop for CBS members but we have a limited number of places available at only £10 per person. To book your place, please contact Margaret Newman to check availability. Tel: 01829 770104 or Email:

10th June 2017: Chester Bach Singers By Arrangement

Saturday 10 June 2017 4pm

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester, CH2 3HZ

Chester Bach Singers by Arrangement

A light Summer’s afternoon concert of arrangements of favourite classical tunes and song arrangements…

Dvorak’s Largo from The New World (Hovis ad)
Barber’s Adagio (from the film, Platoon)
Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue Moon
‘S Wonderful
I got rhythm

…and many more

Followed by a glass of fizz with strawberries and cream, accompanied by the unique sound of the Deva Flute Group.

Tickets (inc. refreshments) £12 adults; £5 students and under 18s.

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A wide array of arrangements awaits the listener in the final concert of the Chester Bach Singers’ 40th anniversary season. Much of the repertoire that Chester Bach Singers performs stems from arrangements in some form or another. In this concert the widest range is explored, including Barber’s Adagio, which he turned into a setting of the Agnus Dei and a choral setting of Elgar’s much loved Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. We will also be singing Broadway numbers such as Somewhere over the Rainbow, Blue Moon and I got rhythm mixed in with The Carnival is Over, Georgy Girl, and a host of other composers and folk songs. Truly something for everyone in a summer concert full of famous tunes.

1st April 2017: The Immortal Wheat

Saturday 1 April 2017 7.30pm

St Werburgh’s, Grosvenor Park Road, Chester CH1 1QJ

Conductor: Martin Bussey

Tenor Soloist: William Smith

Baritone Soloist: Stuart Orme

with orchestra.

  • Finzi Seven Partsongs (Poems of Robert Bridges)
  • Finzi Dies Natalis
  • Bussey Severn Meadows
  • Holst Psalm 86 and Psalm 148

Tickets: £15 adults; £5 students and under 18s.

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In its April concert with orchestra, the focus of the Chester Bach Singers 40th Season turns pastoral, particularly to the 20th century composers, Gerald Finzi and Ivor Gurney. Finzi’s Seven Partsongs are acknowledged to be a central work in the repertoire for choirs such as Chester Bach Singers. They are all settings of poems by Robert Bridges, who was Poet Laureate from 1913 to 1930. Although perhaps lesser known these days, Bridges was a key figure in early 20th century poetry, working at the same time as the Georgian poet group which included figures such as Rupert Brooke and Walter de la Mare. Much of Bridges’ poetry set by Finzi has a pastoral feel, reflecting the English landscape. Such images were also key to Finzi’s other work represented tonight, the Tenor Cantata Dies Natalis, setting the 16th century poet Thomas Traherne. This, one of Finzi’s most celebrated works on disc, will be sung by the young tenor William Smith. Finzi’s lyrical style and intuitive setting of text is always attractive to the listener. The concert’s inclusion of Gurney is through his poems, rather than his music, although Martin Bussey’s Severn Meadows is a reflection of both attributes of this still misunderstood casualty of World War I. Gassed, Gurney survived the war, but his mental instability, already evident before the war, was worsened by his experiences. Severn Meadows reflects Gurney’s mental decline through his longing for his native Gloucestershire countryside. Another Gloucestershire native, Gustav Holst completes the programme with his Psalm settings for choir, strings and organ.

21st January 2017: Come and Sing Brahms Requiem

Saturday 21 January 2017

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Our annual choral workshop is an opportunity for all singers, to rehearse and perform Brahms’ Requiem (in English) with Chester Bach Singers.


12.30pm – 1.30pm Tea and coffee available. Singers to register, collect ordered music & be seated. Soup with bread will be served from 12.30 – 1.15 but must be pre-ordered and paid for in advance.
1.30pm – 4.15pm Rehearsal with Martin Bussey and piano duet (there will be a short “comfort” break during this session)
4.15pm – 5.00pm Break. Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall
5.00pm – 6.30pm Performance. Friends and family are welcome at no charge.


Brahms’ German Requiem is one of the great choral works of the nineteenth century. Brahms’ setting is unique. He combines the structural genius of a great symphony writer with his lesser-known but equally great powers as a melody writer. Brahms wrote songs throughout his life and was frequently involved in working with choirs, understanding the human voice with great insight. This is particularly apparent in the beautiful fifth movement for Soprano solo which he wrote after the first performance of the work, reflecting, like much of the work, the death of his mother. Brahms’ symphonic approach is much in evidence in the second movement, which takes on the form of a funeral march with voices of the top seemingly reciting the text ‘All flesh is as grass’. Its steady tread is then replaced by the dramatic announcement by the chorus that ‘the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.’ The fourth movement of the Requiem is probably the best known, its English translation ‘How lovely are thy dwellings fair’ indicating the lyrical beauty, which is its hallmark. At several points in the work Brahms’ German heritage is apparent in complex fugal writing, such as the sixth movement, where the influence of Bach and earlier composers is apparent. Brahms contrives to begin and end the work with similar music, emphasising the word ‘blessed’ in a serene and reflective atmosphere.

These unique qualities have long made Brahms’ setting a popular one with singers and audiences. Although many people have an image of Brahms as an old man with a beard, early portraits reveal a vigorous and determined figure, a virtuoso concert pianist with a determination to be a worthy successor of his idol, Beethoven. This vigour informs many sections of the Requiem. The Requiem is best known as a work for large chorus and orchestra. However, for the workshop, we shall be accompanied on the organ by Graham Eccles, who is wellknown to Chester Audiences. Our soprano soloist for the workshop will be Léonie Maxwell, who will be remembered for her fine singing at last year’s Come and Sing Haydn Nelson Mass and also for her sensitive interpretations of Kenneth Leighton’s Crucifixus Pro Nobis and her wonderful performances of songs by C. Hubert Parry, Roger Quilter and Michael Head in October’s concert The Poet’s Voice. She will be joined by James Berry, baritone, for whom this is the first time singing with Chester Bach Singers. We welcome him warmly.


This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ). This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester. It has excellent facilities and is about 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station. There is limited parking at the church but we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility. There is also parking in the streets around the church as well as a number of small car parks. Unfortunately, this year we shall be unable to use the car park at the United Reformed Church in Hoole, as it is the induction of their new minister on that day.


Workshop fee £15 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and home-made cake in the interval before the performance.

We will be serving home-made Soup with bread from 12.30-1.15 but this must be pre-ordered and paid for in advance (£3.00).

We shall be using the Novello edition of the score with text in English by Ivor Atkins. Hire copies can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 9th January 2017.