BRADFORD Festival Choral Society, the city’s renowned choir with a rich history and a commitment to musical excellence, has announced ambitious plans for expansion as it gears up for Bradford City of Culture 2025.

Under the leadership of its inspirational musical team, including musical director and choral expert Thomas Leech, and a team of volunteers and trustees, the choir aims to reach new heights and achieve a membership milestone of 150 singers.

“We are thrilled to embark on this exciting journey of growth for the Bradford Festival Choral Society,” said Sara Daniel, Chair of Trustees. “Our vision is to further develop our friendly, vibrant and diverse community of singers who share a passion for choral music. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the joy of choral singing and be part of something special as we perform on March 16, 2024 in St George’s Hall with Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra as part of the Bradford Theatres orchestral concert season.”

The choir is particularly keen to increase the size of its already acclaimed tenor and bass sections. Says musical director Thomas Leech:“We encourage singers in Bradford and beyond to come along to our rehearsals on Wednesday evenings from January 3. One of the great things about BFCS is the range of experience of our members - from professional musicians, seasoned choral singers, to those who have not sung since they were at school.”

John, one of the choir’s tenors, sheds light on the impact of being a part of BFCS: “I keep coming back to BFCS as it takes you away from your everyday worries and gives your mind, and body, a good workout! It also gives us the chance to work with some amazingly talented musicians. I’ve made some great friends with the added bonus of a catch-up in the pub after rehearsal.”

The choir’s recent relocation of the rehearsal venue to Clock House at Bradford Grammar School brings added accessibility, with parking and connections via bus and train.

Rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening, with singing starting at 7.30pm. Elijah rehearsals begin on January 3 and there is an open rehearsal on January 10.

* Bradford Festival Choral Society was founded as a direct result of the opening of St George’s Hall in 1853. A massed choir of more than 200 singers was formed for the first Bradford Musical Festival that year. The choir quickly gained a national reputation and in 1858 it was invited to sing for Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace.

In recent years the choral society has enjoyed a revival under the direction of Thomas Leech and today it continues its 170-year legacy with a reputation for first class performances of a wide-ranging repertoire.

* For more about the choir, or how to become a member, go to or email