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Aug 21

The abcd Choral Leaders’ Festival and Conducting Courses

August 21, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - August 25, 2019 @ 2:00 pm

National Youth Choir of Hungary

About the abcd Choral Leader’s Festival

Dates: 22-25 August 2019

The Association of British Choral Directors’ 34th Annual Convention has so much more to offer that it has an extra day and a new name too!

Offering inspiration for all choral leaders, there are conducting courses, concerts by top choirs, mini-performances, workshops, lectures, a large exhibition and much more.

The festival devotes more time to communal involvement, both during the weekend and afterwards in our choral lives; there are more plenary sessions, including keynote addresses and opportunities to hear great singing and to sing.

The main strands develop the communal theme:

A shared language – Europe’s choral music

Throughout the Festival, but particularly on Friday, the Festival welcomes European guests, alongside the ‘Best of British Music’, sessions for teachers and more. Presenters include Jim Daus Hjernøe and Astrid Vang-Pedersen from Denmark, the National Youth Choir of Hungary and their conductor László Nemes, Paul Spicer and Jeffrey Skidmore.

Singing in the community

Saturday is community choir day: insights for everyone leading open-access community choirs into how to establish and develop community choirs, non-conventional leadership skills, plus lots of road-tested, useful repertoire and performances from local community choirs.


A new initiative, with the opportunity to present papers. This marks the launch of a new peer-reviewed academic research journal published by abcd aimed at promoting research-informed practice and a scholarly approach to choral work.

Repertoire, repertoire, repertoire!

Running right through the Festival, an increased number of repertoire reading sessions, plus sessions with composers David Bednall, Paul Mealor, Owain Park, singing sessions with John Rutter and David Lawrence, and music from Hungary.


  • Sessions for all those working with young voices, conducting masterclasses, singing in different languages, vocal and conducting technique.
  • Performances from choirs including the National Youth Choir of Hungary, London Youth Choir, Town Hall Gospel Choir, Singing Community of Choirs and Lutley Community Voices
  • Exhibition time to visit UK and European publishers, composers and tour operators
  • Networking time with colleagues old and new

About the Conducting Courses

Festival Conducting Courses 21-22 August with Amy Bebbington and Julian Wilkins

  • Leading from the front for anyone starting out in leading singing or with limited experience, particularly in schools and community choirs
  • Advanced choral leadership for anyone conducting their own regular choir to a high standard

Young Conductors’ Course 22-25 August with Lucy Griffiths

  • For anyone aged 18-25, running in parallel with the Festival, group tuition on basic choir training and conducting. Bursaries available!