University of Winchester

31st Annual Convention, 26-28 August 2016
University of Winchester

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

Our 2016 Convention takes us back to a popular location, the city of Winchester. As ever, the weekend will be packed with sessions on all aspects of choral music led by world experts in their fields. It promises to be an inspiring weekend!

Booking now open! Click here to download our full brochure and booking form.

Themes and highlights

Convention 2016 offers a broad range of wonderful choices for choral leaders of all kinds. Besides the usual sessions on technique, repertoire, and the voice, two key threads run through a total of 30 options: our interaction with the broader choral 'world' and women as choral leaders. Just a few of the sessions on offer include:

  • Masterclasses with Professor John Dickson and Alice Farnham for Intermediate and Advanced level conductors and a conducting refresher session with Catherine Beddison
  • An expanded number of repertoire sessions, covering an even wider range of music
  • Final plenary session with international conductor Sian Edwards on the Fauré Requiem
  • Helen Hampton, leader of the Popchoir movement leads a session on taking Pop seriously
  • Mark Smith on beat stress: do less, achieve more!
  • John Dickson illustrates the vital influence of text and style on choral tone, with examples sung by his LSU A Cappella Choir
  • Sessions with distinguished panellists, ranging from the topic of singing and well-being to women as choral leaders and composers
  • Christmas comes early! Jo McNally and Jonathan Willcocks lead the Friday night plenary on carols old and new, including a tribute to our late President, Sir David Willcocks
  • Canadian composer Sarah Quartel introduces new ideas and repertoire for upper voices
  • David and Gillian Victor-Smith tell the story of Farnham Youth Choir, with help from their singers, along with insights into the secrets and challenges of running young choirs today
  • Ann-Marie Speed, Deborah Miles-Johnson and Jo Tomlinson lead sessions on the science of the voice and choral sound in both adult and young choirs
  • Our ever-popular and expanding trade exhibition

Our choirs

Louisiana State University A Cappella Choir

We're delighted to welcome back John Dickson from the USA. John is now Professor of Choral Music at Louisiana State University and will be bringing his internationally acclaimed a cappella chamber choir from the university over with him.

Riga Cathedral Girls' Choir

This prize-winning choir, winner of Radio 3's Let The Peoples Sing competition among many others, is based in Riga Cathedral Choir School and performs regularly as part of the worship at the 800-year old Cathedral. The choir's repertoire is extremely broad, covering Latvian folk songs, sacred and secular, classical, romantic and contemporary music, and it has a particular focus on collaborating with today's Latvian composers.

abcd's Annual Convention is without a doubt one of the highlights of the UK's choral-music year. So whether your focus is on children, young choirs, mature choirs, amateur, professional, choral societies, chamber choirs, or any other group of singers, Convention is your unique chance to develop both them as performers and yourself as leader and musician.

Young Conductors' Course, 26-28 August

Led by Amy Bebbington and Mark Griffiths

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.

Pre-Convention Conducting Course, 25-26 August

Led by Peter Broadbent and Jo McNally

A practical course looking at rehearsal and conducting techniques for all kinds of choir leader.

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

Click here for the session notes from "Technology - the choral directors new ally".

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