Cheltenham Bach Choir

Cheltenham Bach Choir

Cheltenham Bach Choir has over 100 singing members who share the choir's chief aim to perform a wide variety of works and offer programmes which have a degree of adventure and originality, including the commissioning of new works.


Led by Musical Director David Crown and Assistant Conductor Tim Morris, the choir enjoys the active support of President Sarah Walker, a former chorus member. The choir is privileged to be accompanied by Robin Baggs.


Over the last decade the musical standard has risen steadily to the point where the choir has earned a reputation for being one of the best in South-West England. Each year the choir presents at least four major concerts in venues around Cheltenham, including the Town Hall, the Pump Room, Cheltenham College Chapel and Cirencester Parish Church.


The high musical standards of choir reach beyond the Gloucestershire area and as a result invitations have been extended to take part in a number of prestigious events, including the BBC Proms, an Opera Gala in Birmingham Symphony Hall (with the Hallé Choir), Beethoven’s 9th Symphony as part of the Cheltenham International Music Festival and TV appearances on BBC Songs of Praise.


Cheltenham Bach Choir is known for being welcoming and friendly. There is a regular programme of varied social events for members - which usually involve food and drink!


Through the twinning of the town of Cheltenham with Göttingen in Germany, links have been developed with a local choir in the town and the choir regularly exchanges visits with its opposite numbers.


Who's who at CBC

David Crown Musical Director of Cheltenham Bach Choir
David Crown
Music Director


David has been singing and conducting choirs and orchestras since his teens. He won a Choral Scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge and was also a university instrumental award holder on the viola. Immediately after leaving university he embarked on a career as soloist in opera and oratorio winning several competitions and working with some of the world’s foremost musicians.


David has also built a considerable reputation as singing teacher and now teaches at Oxford University having also taught at Bristol University for over five years. Many students have gone on to music college and into the profession. He was Director of Music at Somerville College, Oxford from 2006-2015 building the choir to one of the most highly regarded mixed choirs in the university. He was Music Director of the Reading Phoenix Choir and took them to the finals of both the BBC Choir of the Year and the Cork International Choral Festival. He is conductor of vOx Chamber Choir in Oxford, now considered one of the best choirs in the area. His work with choirs and orchestras has attracted superb notices in the UK and abroad. He is also increasingly in demand for guest conducting and master-classes. The Choir of Somerville College, Oxford has released two CDs on Stone Records (Durufle’s Requiem and Advent Calendar) to great acclaim, the latter of which has been playing on British Airways flights.



Tim Morris - assistant Musical Director of Cheltenham Bach Choir
Tim Morris
Assistant Music Director


Tim was appointed Assistant Music Director in 1998, having filled the post of Chorus Master for the previous nine years and been involved with the choir for over forty years.


Tim’s early musical training was under Eric Suddrick, a founder accompanist for the CBC and one of its former conductors. He went on to Selwyn College, Cambridge where, in theory, he studied Natural Sciences but, in practice, spent most of his time making music. The first concert he conducted on leaving university was in Gloucester Cathedral in April 1973. Tim is well known locally as an accomplished musician. In addition to his CBC role he was, for many years, conductor of the Oriel Singers, winners of the 2005 BBC Choir of the Year competition.



Robin Baggs, accompanist for Cheltenham Bach Choir
Robin Baggs


Robin Baggs is in great demand as a choral accompanist. He read music at Trinity College Cambridge, and completed post-graduate studies there in keyboard performance, palaeography and criticism. For a number of years Robin worked as a writer and critic for the ‘Musical Times’ and other publications, and he is currently accompanist to a number of choirs in the Bristol and Cotswold areas. As a concert organist, tours have taken him to twelve European countries and he recently completed an eleventh Austrian tour. After many years as Organist and then Director of Music at Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire, he now divides his time between recital work, private teaching and accompanying.

Sarah Walker, CBE


Vice Presidents:

Paul Foster

Deborah Griggs

Terry Moore-Scott,

Audrey Turner

Tony Whelpton


Honorary Patron:
Brian Kay


Emeritus Members:
Mr B Atkinson

Mrs M Burgess

Mr J Davies

Mrs Barbara Doyle

Mrs E Ferguson

Mrs S Gayler

Mrs J Grant

Mr R Kay

Mr and Mrs J Kloer

Rev and Mrs D Nye

Mr S Pine

Mr Lloyd Silverthorne

Mr Hugh Sweet

Mrs Wendy Thompson.



The Committee



Chair: Gill Douglas

Joint Vice Chair: Ruth Rooke and Val Fagan

Treasurer: Sue Silcock

Secretary: Shirley Elliott

Membership Secretary: Andrew Gummer

Marketing: David Sykes

Tickets: John Sheppard

Equal Opportunities Officer: Ruth Scott

Bach Benefactors:

Join CBC

Become a member of CBC


It is understood that there are about 25,000 choirs meeting regularly throughout the UK each week. It is also widely known that singing in a choir is good for your physical and mental health as well as being very good for your social life.


Cheltenham Bach Choir is keen to attract new singing members of all ages and voice parts, especially tenors and basses. Sight reading ability is desirable but not essential and entry is by audition (repeated every 3 years).





New members are always welcome to join the choir even if you have not had a lot of experience. You are welcome to come along to a couple of rehearsals to get to know members of the choir before auditioning.


Auditions are usually held on the second or third Tuesday of each term, but do feel free to contact us at any time during the year. It is probably best to join either in September or January so you get to attend all the rehearsals for the next concert. Please contact our membership secretary, Andrew Gummer by email:


The ability to sight-read music is always an advantage, but not essential. Good musicianship and a willingness to practice your part between rehearsals are key. Auditions consist mainly of scales and vocal exercises. You will not be expected to prepare a piece in advance.


Once you have passed the audition you will join the section of the choir which suits your voice and from then on will be expected to prepare for and sing in every concert. Everyone in the choir is re-auditioned every 3 years; currently re-auditions are scheduled for sopranos and tenors in 2019 and altos/basses in 2020.


NB: The choir provides the ladies’ concert jackets.


Weekly rehearsals


Rehearsals are weekly during term time on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm and finish at 9.45 pm.


There is a 15 minute break for everyone half way through the evening.


Click for larger map


The rehearsal venue is:

Bethesda Methodist Church, Great Norwood Street, Cheltenham GL50 2AP


As a singing member of Cheltenham Bach Choir a minimum rehearsal attendance rule is required to take part in concerts.


To find out more and express interest in joining the choir please get in touch with our membership secretary Andrew Gummer.

CBC Young Member Scheme


The Choir offers a discretionary bursary scheme to help young people gain experience in choral singing. The bursary covers the cost of subscriptions and music. In return, recipients are expected to participate in at least two major concerts a year and attend the minimum number of rehearsals for each concert as agreed with the conductor or chorus master. The scheme is open to full time students under the age of 25 who have shown a reasonable degree of musical aptitude.


Please contact our Membership Secretary for details if you or someone you know would be interested in applying for a bursary or if you are a potential sponsor interested in supporting the scheme.


The Young Member Scheme is supported by the Cheltenham Arts Council


Join a choir in Cheltenham - Cheltenham Bach Choir - not just all about Bach
It's not just about Bach!
Rehearsing for The Sound of Musicals
Summer 2018

Choral Workshops
Schools Cooperation Scheme

CBC Workshops


Cheltenham Bach Choir run regular choral workshops which are open to all singers, whether or not they are members of the choir. Everyone is warmly welcomed.


If you have considered joining the Cheltenham Bach Choir these workshops are an excellent opportunity to come along for a day of singing while getting to know the Choir and enjoy singing with the choir's Musical Director and Accompanist.

Schools Cooperation Scheme


CBC have run a number of workshops in local schools, which have been very well received and enjoyed by all participants. The feedback we have had from these workshops has been extremely positive, from pupils, teachers and Choir members alike.


The workshops receive support from Cheltenham Arts Council and the Trafford Memorial Fund. The content and format of the choir's school workshops can be agreed in advance, depending on the number and ability levels of the children involved.


The workshops can focus on GCSE or A’ Level Syllabi, which have proved to be a popular option in previous workshops.


Please contact our for more information.

Hire the choir

Cheltenham Bach Choir are available for hire for weddings, funerals, and other occasions.

The choir you hire can be our main concert choir, or a smaller chamber choir suitable for smaller venues.

The fee will depend on the extent and type of music you choose as well as the location of your event.

Send an email to for more information

We can’t thank you enough for your wonderful performance for our wedding ceremony. The music was a delight and – as I walked down the aisle to Parry – all of my dreams of the moment were realised…


Weddings & Civil Ceremonies


There are times when the uplifting sound of a choir transforms a special occasion into something more meaningful and special.


For church wedding services the choir can sing a special choral work when the bride and groom withdraw to sign the register, and the congregational hymns will sound glorious with the guests singing with the Choir.


Civil ceremonies will take on the feel of a more traditional marriage ceremony with a choral piece included.

The music was fantastic and the atmosphere just made the day so perfect!

Funerals & Memorial services


There are many beautiful, sensitive and moving choral pieces which have been written for funerals and memorials. A special and meaningful piece performed by the Choir during a time of thoughtful reflection can being comfort and a sense of calm for the mourners.


Special events


There's nothing like a choir to add a marvellous sense of occasion to a large celebration, a sporting event, or a tribute concert.


With a wide repertoire ranging from classic choral works to lighter popular songs Cheltenham Bach Choir will inspire your audience whatever the event.

Listen to CBC

The sound-bites available here are a sample of Cheltenham Bach Choir

Recorded in concert and rehearsal by Lloyd Silverthorne


Verdi Dies Irae

VERDI 01.39

Dies Irae (Requiem)


Performed with The Regency Sinfonia

Statue of Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto, Italy. created by Luigi Secchi

HOLST 01.39

Ave Maria


Gustav Holst Memorial Fountain, Cheltenham.

Anthony Stones FRBS, FRSA

Sergei Rachmaninov


Blessed is the Man (All Night Vigil)


Monument of Sergei Rachmaninov in Veliky Novgorod, Russia

FAURÉ 00.59
Dies Irae (Requiem)


Sculpture of Gabriel Fauré created by Sébastien Langloÿs. Toulouse, France.

Concert Archive

Mozart Great Mass in C Minor October 2021
Messiah  November 2019
Come and Sing The Armed Man Octobger 2019
Cool Classics for a Summer Night June 2019
Spring Baroque Festival Cheltenham 2019
Christmas Cracker Concert 2018
Verdi Requiem 10 November 2018
Come and Sing Faure Requiem September 2018
The Sound of Musicals
Bach B Minor Mass
Handel Messiah
Brahms Requiem
70th Birthday anniversary concert
St Matthew Passion - J S Bach
Handel Dixit Dominus and Mozart Requiem
A Night at the Opera
St John Passion
Chritmas Concert Cheltenham
Dido and Aneas
Carmina Burana
La France Sublime
Christmas Concert 2014
Missa Solemnis - Beethoven
Rachmaninov All Night Vigil
Christmas concert Cheltenham
Benjamin Britten Saint Nicholas
Musica Transalpina
St John Passion - J S Bach



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