Convention 2016 delegates, Winchester

About abcd

President: John Rutter CBE

Vice-presidents: Brian Kay and Susan Hollingworth

Promoting, improving and maintaining opportunities for the professional development of everyone leading singing, amateur and professional, in the classroom and the community.

Our vision is of a world where well-led choral singing enriches everyone's lives and where abcd enables every leader of choral singing in the UK easily to access appropriate support for their development.

The Association of British Choral Directors (abcd) is the only UK organisation which is devoted entirely to supporting those leading choral music, both amateur and professional. We are committed to promoting, improving and maintaining opportunities for the professional development of all those leading singing of any kind, whether in the classroom or in the community. Our members represent nearly 2000 choral groups and include teachers, composers, singers and students, leading singing of all kinds.

What we do

  • We run courses and workshops throughout the UK, using a network of the best choral leadership trainers in the country, including training for teachers covering conducting and vocal technique and repertoire, a young choral leaders' programme and conducting courses from Initial to Advanced, from one-day workshops and masterclasses to courses running over several months.
  • We offer support, resources and advice for all choral leaders and their choirs. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic our activity has moved online and our COVID-19 portal provides information for everyone seeking to find ways of working safely. Our online resources cover practical tips and advice for choral leaders of all kinds.
  • We lobby on behalf of our members for more research into singing safely and for financial support for professional musicians.
  • Open to members and non-members, our regular webinar series covers a wide range of topics: take part live on a Saturday morning, or buy the recording any time and watch at your leisure.
  • For over thirty years we have run an annual Convention, a unique national forum for choral leaders with leading practitioners from the UK and abroad and performances from invited international choirs. In 2020 we ran our first virtual festival weekend, with webinars from international and UK presenters, virtual exhibition and recorded resources, supporting choral leaders, music publishers and composers.

Join us

To take full advantage of what abcd can offer, why not join us? There are a range of subscription levels available; find out more details here. Gain member rates on courses and events and access to our full range of resources, coaching schemes, music discounts and our new journal, Choral Directions Research.

Find out more about membership here.

Our history

The Association was formed in July 1986 at Oxford, following a weekend of choral activity, in response to a demand from leading British choral directors, composers and publishers. Its purpose is to promote, improve and maintain the education, training and development of choral directors with a view to improving standards in all sectors of choral activity by:

  • the organisation of regional and national training courses and conventions;
  • commissioning and publishing regular newsletters and other items of information;
  • the encouragement of both the composition of choral music and a closer contact between choral composers and conductors;
  • co-operation and liaison with other relevant regional, national and international organisations with aims and objectives complementary to those of the Association.

You can read our latest annual report here.

Support our work

abcd is busy, active organisation, but we are also a charity, and we work hard to make membership and all our events as affordable as possible. We exist without any core funding. Most of our revenue comes from our members' subscriptions, project funding from Trusts and Foundations, and small surpluses made on our courses and events. This can sometimes make the finances of the charity quite a challenge and in order to continue to grow and to fulfil our ambitions, we need your help. Any donation, however large or small, makes a difference.

Click here to find out more.

Click here to download our Five Year Plan, Leading the Chorus.

Our supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Worshipful Company of Marketors in the production of a marketing report for us, which has been of great assistance and is being incorporated into our next Five Year Plan.