Festival day-by-day

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Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday


Opening plenary with Mark de Lisser at 3.45pm

Our festival gets off to a lively start with choral director, vocal coach and arranger Mark de Lisser. Vocal coach on TV programmes such as The Voice, Pitch Battle and My Dementia Choir, Mark is also musical director of the award-winning ACM Gospel Choir and the founder of Singology Choirs. His arrangements are sung the world over and his series Sing Out is a best seller of modern popular choral arrangements. In 2018 he was asked to arrange Stand by me for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Meet the composer: Paul Mealor
Music from the New Transcendental School

Described as having 'serene beauty, fastidious craftsmanship and architectural assuredness', Paul's music has rapidly captivated choirs and audiences around the world. As well as his own music, Paul will be talking about and singing through fabulous new music by the young US composers Elaine Hagenberg and Thomas LaVoy.

Regional networking meetings

After-dinner sing

After Festival drinks and dinner, join our President, composer and conductor John Rutter for an informal evening of singing.


From 9.30am

A shared language - Europe's choral music

Throughout the Festival, but principally on Friday, we welcome European guests, alongside the 'Best of British Music', sessions for teachers and more.

Plenary panel session: the future of choral music in Europe

abcd Chair Leslie East leads a panel including European Choral Association Vice-President Dermot O'Callaghan, László Nemes, Peter Broadbent and Esther Jones. What is the role of the ECA and the current European landscape for choirs? How do we maintain choral traditions and still develop new methods? What can we in the UK learn from the rest of Europe? How do we enthuse young people to sing? These and more will certainly stimulate debate to take us through the festival.

Concert Design: Astrid Vang-Pedersen

Developed by Astrid herself, Concert Design is an intriguing new holistic and structured way to create captivating concerts. In this combined lecture and workshop you'll see the concert situation as an event where sensory communication, using all our senses, is key and where everything and everyone involved - performers, audience, the hall itself - collaborate to make the event more enriched - and enriching!

Astrid Vang-Pedersen is a Danish choral conductor and concert designer. She has developed a specific method on staging choral performance, called Concert Design, and finished her thesis on the subject in 2018. She is the artistic director of the vocal ensemble Dopplers, which focuses on embodied, theatrical and communicative performance of vocal music, while she also facilitates workshops on the subject, teaches choral conducting and composes music forchoirs and theatre productions.

The Intelligent Choir: Jim Daus Hjernøe

Professor Jim Daus Hjernøe is the principal teacher in Rhythmic Choir Conducting at The Royal Academy of Music Aarhus/Aalborg in Denmak. He is head of RAMA Vocal Center Campus Aalborg, which is recognized internationally as a leading European centre of rhythmic choir conducting education, digital learning, and courses at the very highest level within this field. How do you make vocal music sound just 'right' when it comes to styles such as pop, rock, jazz, gospel, world, and improvisation? Many choirs and a cappella groups face this challenge in rehearsal as well as in performances featuring these musical styles. The workshop provides the answers to meet this challenge and refers to Jim's concept of training choir conductors to allow and inspire choristers to share responsibility for the musical process. The concept includes a pedagogical and artistic methodology with Vocal Painting signs and improvisation as a headliner.

Supporting quality singing with young people: Charlotte Brosnan

Snape Maltings' Friday Afternoons is all about encouraging young people to sing. In this practical session, learn more about how the Friday Afternoons resources can be used to support non-specialist music leaders in delivering high-quality singing sessions with young people - encouraging positive singing communities and stronger engagement with local singing opportunities. Join Friday Afternoons Ambassador Charlotte Brosnan to hear practical examples of Snape Maltings delivered projects looking at leadership development, learn tools and tricks for encouraging more confident musical delivery, and discover the resources available for encouraging and supporting singing with young people.

Meet the composer: David Bednall

One of today's most innovative composers, whilst firmly rooted in the English choral tradition, David discusses his work with OUP's Choral Promotion Specialist Griselda Sherlaw-Johnson. Includes a chance to sing and listen to some of his works.

"How do you pronounce this?"

Peter Broadbent and Jeremy Haneman explore how the original language's sonorities, shapes and stresses can lead to greater understanding and enjoyment of the style of the music in which it is set. 'Exchelsis' or 'eggshellsis'? Let Peter and Jeremy pronounce!

Friday tea and cake

sponsored, of course, by Snape Maltings' Friday Afternoons!

Repertoire readings sessions

SATB and sacred music

Evening festival concert

in the Bradshaw Hall


From 9.15am

Singing in the community

Saturday is community choir day: ideal for everyone leading open-access community choirs. For anyone involved in this important and fast-growing sector this bespoke day is an absolute must!

Plenary panel session: how to successfully establish and run a community choir

Richard Jeffries, Craig McLeish, Hannah Brine and Anna Tabbush share their own experiences of setting up community groups of all kinds and open the floor to all your questions about repertoire, the nuts and bolts of running choirs, leadership and more.

Canada calling: Jordan Travis

An interactive session for community choir leaders with the brilliant Canadian Jordan Travis. Jordan is internationally acclaimed as a clinician, voice coach, teacher and director. Musical Director and Vocal Coach to the 2013 Barbershop Harmony Society International Chorus Champions, his conducting, coaching, and performing has taken him across North America, Europe, and China.

Community choir repertoire: Craig McCleish

Singer, composer, arranger, director, Craig leads a practical session featuring song-leading skills, popular music choices for community choirs and why they are ideal material for amateur singers. Discover how versatile these arrangements are and - vital! - where to find them.

Classics in the community

On Saturday afternoon, discover and find out new ways with tried and tested classics suitable for community choirs to learn either from music or by rote. David Lawrence is one of the UK's most versatile conductors, working with orchestras, symphony choruses and national youth choirs. He is Associate Conductor of the CBSO, Choral Advisor to Sinfonia Viva, conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra's Community Choir and Senior Youth Choir, and as Principal Conductor of Young Voices directs massed choirs in an annual series of concerts with some choirs incorporating more than 8,000 singers!

The flexible choir

The Oxford Book of Flexible Choral Songs follows on from Alan Bullard's hugely successful Flexible Anthem and Carol books and is a perfect secular resource for choirs and singing groups who like the flexibility to perform songs in a range of combinations from unison to SATB. Come and sing through a variety of repertoire from this new publication under Alan's leadership; from arrangements of well-known folksongs and Edwardian songs, European Art Songs, and brand new compositions from regular Oxford composers.

ABRSM: new opportunities

Hear about ABRSM's new exams in Singing for Musical Theatre and its new post-Grade 8 diploma. From Gershwin to Sondheim, the West End to Disney, the songs in the new Musical Theatre syllabus span the world of musical theatre across stage and screen, with exams designed to help build all the skills needed to be a rounded and successful performer. ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) is a performance-only diploma designed to demonstrate performance skills after Grade 8. Candidates perform a 30-minute programme where they are assessed on their musical communication skills, interpretation and technical delivery.

Meet the choir: National Youth Choir of Hungary

Hear our acclaimed international guest choir in rehearsal. Everyone's heard of the Kodály Method; this is your chance to see and hear it put into action by members of the very nation Kodály developed it for! Conductor László Nemes is professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and director of the International Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy.

Repertoire readings sessions

Young voices and self-published composers.

Visit Elgar's birthplace

An optional extra! On Saturday afternoon we're organising a trip to Elgar's birthplace in nearby Lower Broadheath, Worcestershire. You can enjoy a bespoke guided tour, a walk in the grounds and the chance to do some singing; the price includes minibus transport, entrance to the house, tea and cake. Places are strictly limited and can be booked online through the main Festival booking pages.

Evening festival concert

in the Bradshaw Hall


From 9am


Our research strand is an exciting new abcd 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.

Plenary Keynote: Brains that sing together: Dr Katie Overy

Singing together is ubiquitous across human culture. In infants it develops naturally, and it continues to give pleasure in many different situations all through life. It powerfully combines language and melody, involving complex auditory motor-processing skills. A fascinating but challenging topic, therefore, for psychology and neuroscience researchers. From the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development, Edinburgh University, Dr Overy asks: how can we understand singing's neural basis? What can and what can't be measured? And what can we learn from such research?

Meet the composer: Owain Park

Still in his twenties, Owain is a prize-winning composer, published by Novello. His music is performed by ensembles including The Tallis Scholars, the Aurora Orchestra and his own Gesualdo Six. Owain puts magic into music - see how he does it!

Repertoire readings sessions

Female voices and self-published composers.

… and finally, sing for your Sunday lunch!

Finish our Festival with a sing through new repertoire from our Gold members, OUP and Hal Leonard Europe, led by David Lawrence.

The Festival finishes with lunch at 1pm and any final exhibition purchases.

Music Exhibition - open for longer

Our comprehensive music-trade exhibition forms an integral part of the Festival. With so many of your choral needs in one place it's an unmissable opportunity to browse, buy music, get ideas, plan choir tours, buy equipment, and meet the people who sell all of these. All the major music publishers, music tour agents and other music specialists will be there. This year includes extra Saturday afternoon browsing time.

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