Bedford Choral Society: Celebrating 150 years of singing for the joy of it

At the end of April this year, Bedford Choral Society is celebrating 150 years of the joy of singing for the people of Bedford and its surroundings. The choir gave its first performance on 30 April 1867 and, on that anniversary, 150 years later, they will again be singing Mendelssohn’s Lauda Sion, performed at that very first concert. It’s a good sing!


Also in the programme is Vaughan Williams’ gorgeous Serenade to Music, written to celebrate Sir Henry Wood’s Golden Jubilee in 1938, together with two works commissioned by the Society from local composers Paul Edwards and Tim Grant-Jones. Both works continue the theme of celebration, with the latter a setting of the 150th Psalm.

By the time of the anniversary concert at the Corn Exchange, the choir is aiming to number 150 singers from all walks of life.  Musical Director, Ian Smith will be conducting, accompanied by Bedford Sinfonia. The performance begins at 7.30pm and you can purchase tickets from the Corn Exchange website.

In this special year, the choir has been sponsored by the Harpur Trust, itself celebrating 450 years, and by Goldings of Bedford, ironmongers, who are also celebrating 150 years of trading in Bedford.

The celebrations continue throughout the year, with a ‘pastoral’ concert in the Corn Exchange on Saturday 17 June, including Michael Hurd’s Shepherds Calendar. 

Early in August, the choir is on stage with a concert orchestra, in Proms in the Park, a good outing for singers and audience alike on an evening in high summer. Bring your picnics and wave your flags as usual! Then, on Saturday 25 November, back in the Corn Exchange, they’ll be singing Elgar’s The Kingdom. Finally, in December, it’s the ever-popular Carol Concert!

If you would like to sing with the Choir, new members are invited to come along to rehearsals on a Monday night in term time at St Gregory’s School, Biddenham between 7.30 – 9.30pm.  For more information:


Editor of The Bedford Clanger, organiser behind BedPop, an events manager and a freelance copywriter

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