30th Annual Convention, 28-30 August 2015
Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Inspiration and support for everyone leading singing, showcasing some of the best regional, national and international choirs.

Themes and Presenters

Amongst a wide range of topics, strands this year include repertoire, conducting skills, Early Music and community and office-based choirs. Our ever-popular repertoire sessions will cover an even wider range of music, masterclasses will offer hands-on advice for Intermediate and Advanced level conductors and there will also be conducting sessions for those less-experienced or wanting a quick refresher. There are sessions on vocal technique, working with young singers, and new ideas from here and abroad on getting the best from your singers, whatever their age.

Internationally we welcome guests from the USA, Russia and Germany: Andy Beck and Jonathan Griffith, the Academic Students' Choir of the Ural Federal University, and Michael Reif respectively. From the UK the panel is wide and experienced, including Ian Chesworth, Robert Hollingworth, Maggie McDonald, Keith Orrell, Gitika Partington, Philip Stopford, Patrick Russill, Sarah Tenant-Flowers, Will Todd and Irina Walters.

Sessions include:

  • Conducting masterclasses at Intermediate and Advanced level
  • Back to basics conducting
  • Repertoire sessions on Russian and Shakespeare themes, and for church choirs, SATB choirs and more
  • Working with community choirs
  • Improving sight reading skills
  • Vocal technique
  • Ideas for working with primary and secondary school singers
  • Open rehearsal with The 24 and the chance to sing Spem in Alium with Robert Hollingworth
  • Warming up jazz style
  • Orchestral conducting skills

Our choirs

Academic Students' Choir of the Ural Federal University

We're delighted to welcome a Russian choir to Convention for the first time. Based in Ekaterinburg, the fourth largest city in Russia, the choir is conducted by Svetlana Dolnikovskaya and includes students from throughout the university. It frequently performs in national and international contests, festivals and master-classes, winning 6 Grand-Prix, 17 gold prizes, 4 silver and 2 bronze prizes internationally.

The 24

This chamber choir is based at the University of York, conducted by Robert Hollingworth, who is also Anniversary Reader in the Music Department there, as well as of course being known as the founder and conductor of I Fagiolini. It performs music from the sixteenth century to the present day and tours widely, most recently to China.

Cambiata North West

This abcd regional initiative brings boys from across the region together to rehearse and perform music specially selected to allow for voice change, enabling boys to sing with confidence and be supported through the changes. Conducted by Ian Crawford and now in its fourth year, the choir was given the opportunity to sing in last year's BBC Proms, taking part in the War Horse Prom.


Our exhibition forms the hub of Convention, with the concert hall, dining area and session rooms all nearby, making it easy to browse, plan repertoire, tours, workshops, buy equipment and more.

Young Conductors' Course, led by Amy Bebbington

A practical, hands-on course, in parallel with Convention, open to all aged 18 to 25 who do not currently earn their living from conducting.

27-28 August Pre-Convention Course

Jo McNally and Keith Orrell lead this practical course looking at rehearsal and conducting techniques for all kinds of choir leader.

28th Annual Convention, 23-25 August 2013, Oxford Brookes University

Click here to download Therees Tkach Hibbard's handout from Let the body sing.

27th Annual Convention, 2012, Leeds Metropolitan University

Click here to download Jenevora Williams' paper on good vocal health and click here to download her paper on singing technique for young voices.

2012 Convention Video

With thanks to John Butterworth, One Cam Video Production

2010 Convention Video

abcd convention video

With thanks to Fergus Meiklejohn from RedRoof Production. Click here to find out more about their work.

RedRoof Productions