29th Annual Convention, 22-24 August 2014
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff

Join us this month in the brand new buildings of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Come for the weekend or just for the day and re-charge your choral batteries for the season ahead.

Click here to download the full brochure and booking form.

Click here to view and book accommodation online.

Click here to view the latest timetable.

Themes and Presenters

Amongst a wide range of topics, strands this year include repertoire, conducting skills and community choirs. We've again expanded our repertoire sessions to cover an even wider range of music and we're pleased to be welcoming several composers to talk about their work. 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 male voice repertoire, working with young singers, and new ideas from here and abroad on getting the best from your singers, whatever their age.

Just some of the highlights:

  • Community choirs: arranging for limited voices, promoting singing in your local community, developing a musical vocabulary
  • Young voices: don't miss the world-renowned Sanna Valvanne on Friday afternoon, then on Saturday and Sunday repertoire sessions, Ex Cathedra's award-winning Singing Playgrounds and new ways of working from Sofie Jeannin
  • Repertoire: for all types of choir, including church, SATB, primary, music from Wales, male voice and Russian
  • Leading choral composers: including Bob Chilcott, Gabriel Jackson, Karl Jenkins, Paul Mealor and Roxanna Panufnik
  • Technique: masterclasses with Adrian Partington, Peter Hanke and Paul Brough, vocal technique with Alison Ling & back to basics with Katie Thomas
  • Running your choir: one-to-one surgeries with Making Music staff. Get advice on anything from staging to social media.
  • Great choral music: from the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, Côr y Wiber, the Kyoto Echo Choir and Cardiff Polyphonic Choir
  • Trade exhibition: open throughout the weekend. a great place to browse, get ideas, plan new repertoire, plan tours, book workshops, buy equipment and much more

Presenters and composers include: RWCMD foyer


Kyoto Echo Choir, conductor Keiichi Asai

Keiichi Asai & Bob ChilcottDirected by their founder for over 50 years, the Kyoto Echo Choir is one of Japan's most accomplished choral ensembles, amassing innumerable awards nationally and internationally. They have performed with such well-known orchestras and conductors as the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Semyon Bychkov and the New Japan Philharmonic under Seiji Ozawa. Between 1980 and 1999 the choir won the Gold Prize 20 years running in the JCA (Japan Choral Association) National Choral Competition. Since then, it has performed at international symposiums such as the Asia South Pacific Symposium on Choral Music (Singapore), 7th World Symposium on Choral Music (Kyoto), and is currently engaged in a constant schedule of performances, receiving invitations from all over Japan. The choir has an ongoing relationship with last year's Convention Artistic Director Bob Chilcott since Keiichi Asai met Bob at a JCA National Choral Workshop and it is as a result of that that they are in the UK especially for Convention, giving you a unique opportunity to hear them in concert.

Côr y Wiber, conductor Angharad Mair Jones

Cor y WiberCôr y Wiber is a vibrant, young female choir from Newcastle Emlyn in West Wales.The name of the choir derives from the myth of 'Gwiber Emlyn' - a dragon/serpent (gwiber) that attacked the town of Newcastle Emlyn centuries ago. According to the tale, the gwiber was killed and its blood and venom seeped into the river Teifi. Since the choir's formation in 2010 it has achieved considerable success, winning the Ladies Choir category at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2012, and the choral category for a choir of up to 35 voices at the festival the following year. In 2013 the choir were the winners of the television choral competition, Côr Cymru (Choir of Wales).

Pre-Convention Conducting Course, 21 to 22 August, led by Peter Broadbent and Sarah Tenant-Flowers

This practical course looks at rehearsal and conducting techniques for leaders of all kinds of choir - no minimum experience is required. Delegates can either participate as conductors or attend as observers; a repertoire list is sent in advance. For those conductors with more experience or who have already attended previous abcd courses, individual tuition will be available during the course. Click here for more details.

Young Conductors' Course 22 to 24 August, led by Amy Bebbington.

Open to all aged 18-25 who do not currently earn their living from conducting, this course runs parallel with Convention, giving students the opportunity to attend some Convention events as well as taking part in conducting-technique sessions. Amy gives individual and group tuition in the basics of choir training and conducting and works on rehearsal and performance technique. This is a practical, hands-on, course, with the emphasis on informality and tutoring in a small group. Bursaries available - contact Penny Homer for details.

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