OTLEY’S chamber choir is preparing to stage a 30th anniversary concert.

The Chippendale Singers have been entertaining audiences around Yorkshire and Lancashire since 1990. The choir came about after members of a Gilbert and Sullivan group, which held a show at Otley Methodist Church each year, decided they wanted a reason to keep singing throughout the rest of the year.

While the Gilbert and Sullivan society folded years ago its offshoot grew into a full, 30-strong chamber choir that performs regularly.

The Chippendale Singers pride themselves on having an eclectic repertoire that includes everything from Renaissance era madrigals to religious works, songs from the musicals and rock hits like Bohemian Rhapsody.

Jim Spencer, a member of 29 years standing, said: “We’re not a commercial outfit, we sing because we love to - and we like singing literally anything. We have a steady flow of jobs each year including two or three at Christmas time and our own show each May or June.

“It’s our 30th anniversary next year so we’ll be marking it with a special show at the Parish Church.”

The group’s Chair, Chris Woodhead, says audiences can expect something ‘a little different’ from the anniversary concert on Saturday, June 6, 2020. She said: “We’re going to sing pieces from across the years, going right back to our very first concerts. We’re also hoping to split the music up with some anecdotes.”

Chris believes the choir’s musical flexibility and strong bonds of friendship are among its key strengths. She added: “We all enjoy singing and the challenge of learning new pieces, and many of us get a buzz out of performing.

“Our next performance is at the Otley Christmas Tree Festival on Friday, December 13 when we’ll be joined by the choir from Westgate Primary - whose headteacher sings with us! It’s a lovely event. We’ll do carols that the audience can join in with along with, lighter songs and some poppy things.”

Some members, including Cynthia Seals and Martin Campey, have been with the group since the very start. Reflecting on its enduring appeal, Martin said: “The Gilbert and Sullivan group was only active for six months as year and people wanted to do something in the summer, too. Now here we are still going strong, and we’re the only four-part choir in Otley.”

The choir meets at Otley Methodist Church to practice each Wednesday evening. To find out more visit The Chippendale Singers Facebook page.