“Would you like to sing in a smaller choir? We’ve found a conductor and we just need a few more singers…..” Heather and George had met a musician in search of a new challenge, so in “Pied Piper” fashion they set about creating a group of like-minded singers willing to form a new group. Some of those earliest members continue to sing with us, and we hope we’ve kept our spirit of adventure as we explore the world of a capella music. Graham’s insistence on high standards stretched and shaped us as musicians
The Accord Singers gave their first concert in 1994. From the start it was clear that we all shared a love of unaccompanied singing, with a serious commitment to achieving the best performance possible. We’ve worked hard, sung in some fantastic places and [some would say] developed a rather reckless sense of humour. We enjoy performing in unusual places, as well as more conventional venues, which is how we ended up singing in a disused railway tunnel for BBC Music Live 2000!
Our members are clearly passionate about singing; this is what some of them say about being in Accord:
“……. thank you all for giving me the opportunity to rediscover the joy of ensemble singing. Rekindled great memories of the exhilarated whooping and hollering down corridors after school choir practice.
Lovely concert [at Cannon Hall 2016] -fantastic flautist- I was thrilled to be part of it.
Post script after one year: As a long standing asthma sufferer I am happy to note that my breathing is much improved since singing regularly.” Sue Roberts
“Singing with Accord lifts me when I’m down – taxes my brain sometimes on the more difficult pieces, but its always fun to be with this great bunch of people [and we do get to sing in some fabulous places].” Anne Richardson
There have been only three musical directors in our entire history. We are very grateful for this stability and continuity.
Our founding director, Graham Sorrell, spent his professional career singing in the choirs of some of England’s most prestigious cathedrals, notably Salisbury and St Paul’s. He has sung under the leadership of many outstanding musicians. We were particularly fortunate that he had retired to the north of England, and that he was prepared to work with us to form a choir from scratch. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the English church music tradition enabled him to lead us to tackle pieces which were at first sight daunting, later challenging and finally, in Graham’s words “worth a performance”. Understandably, therefore, sacred music is an important part of our ethos, but under Graham’s leadership we also mastered a much wider repertoire which encompasses folk, traditional and part−songs and popular contemporary compositions: a range from Byrd to Britten and Maxwell Davis, Purcell to Cole Porter and Ola Gjeilo. Graham himself has also produced many choral arrangements for the group to perform. Graham retired in 2014 after a series of annual resignation attempts which were simply ignored.
Simon Ackroyd stepped forward from the choir’s ranks to lead us for a period when Graham Sorrell suffered a lengthy illness. Simon’s energetic approach and cheerful confidence enabled us to make a success of our visit to Amersfoort in 2006, when we performed as guests of our friends Chantatouille.
Our current musical director is Graham Kennedy, who began learning piano at the age of 11 and went on to study organ and theory of Music with Hubert Townsend and Bessie Brearley. Graham attended Bretton Hall College of Education, training to teach music in Secondary Schools, leaving during the final term of the course to pursue a career in commercial computer programming. While at Bretton Hall Graham continued organ studies gaining the Licentiate diploma for organ performance from the Trinity College of Music London, and had many opportunities to develop group teaching, rehearsal and conducting skills. Graham works as a freelance organist for churches in the West Yorkshire area and has worked with a number of local choirs as conductor and accompanist, taking over as musical director with the Accord Singers in 2014.
An event with the Accord Singers is always a treat, with a few surprises and a dash of humour. We perform in conventional halls, churches and sometimes in rather unusual places. We’ll sing in art galleries, ruined abbeys, Victorian shopping arcades, railway tunnels [disused only!] ……
To add variety we often include readings and guest instrumental performers. Here’s a selection of posters of past events: