Category Archives: Past Concerts

13-Oct-2018 Bach Comes to Town

Saturday 13 October 2018 1.15pm – 3.00pm

Wesley Church Centre, St John St., Chester, CH1 1DA

Chester Bach Singers performs all six of J.S.Bach’s motets over two lunchtime concerts.

Including some of the composer’s most exciting and daring writing for choir, Bach’s motets are varied, vibrant and vivid in illustrating their German texts (translations provided!). Sometimes in four parts and sometimes in as many as eight, with voices divided into two answering choirs, Chester Bach Singers forms the perfect companion to Saturday shopping or lunching. The concerts present the motets alongside some of Bach’s most memorable organ works and choral music by composers influenced by him. In this concert, Bach’s Lobet den Herrn, Der Geist hilft and Jesu meine Freude are complemented by short choral pieces by Brahms and Reger.

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

Online ticket sales for this event are closed.

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

Saturday 9 June 2018 3.00pm

Garret Theatre, Storyhouse, Chester CH1 2AR

A varied and exciting programme full of tunes that everyone can enjoy!

arr Chilcott – Nobody knows
arr Chilcott – All my trials
Morten Lauridsen – O magnum mysterium
Marco Galvani – Eden is that old-fashioned house
Gershwin arr Clapham – I got rhythm
Cole Porter arr Carter – Begin the Beguine
Bob Chilcott – A Little Jazz Mass
Edward Elgar – Happy Eyes
Eric Whitacre – Sleep
Arr Chilcott – Didn’t it rain
Arr Chilcott – Ev’ry time I feel the Spirit
Richard Rodgers arr Blackwell – Blue Moon
Tom Springfield arr Bussey – The Carnival is Over

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 Garret Studio Theatre, a great new venue for Chester with full refreshments and other facilities – and comfy seats! Come and tap your toes to lively jazz 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.

15-Apr-2018: Chester Sings!

Sunday 15 April 2018 7.00pm

Storyhouse, Chester CH1 2AR

Chester Sings!

Three of Chester’s wonderful choirs come together for a joyous concert.

With Chester Music Society Choir, Chester Bach Singers and Chester Male Voice Choir.

Tickets: £15

An exciting collaboration between three top Chester choirs – Chester Music Society Choir, The City of Chester Male Voice Choir and Chester Bach Singers at Chester’s newest performance venue. In total there will be some 170 choristers across the 3 choirs.
The ticket price has been held at £15 with the help of some sponsorship from The Earl of Chester’s Fund. We hope to attract a good audience to an event which we can build upon for the future. The programmes of the 3 choirs will be quite different and there will be a joint piece to finish which audience members will be encouraged to join in with.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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.


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.