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About the choir

History of the Choir

The choir in 1923 - Hume Wrathall MD

The choir in 1923 – Hume Wrathall MD

There has been some mild controversy over the date of the formation of the choir. For a long time, it was believed that the choir was formed in 1907. The choir celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1957, and indeed the founding date of 1907 was quoted on our letterhead for many years. However, thanks to the tireless work of our archivist, Peter Lofts, it is now incontrovertible that the date of formation was 3rd February 1908 as the contemporary press cutting from the Keighley News shows, though no doubt the men concerned had sung together informally before.

No doubt a major factor in the choir’s success and longevity is that over its 100 years the choir has only had four conductors/Musical Directors, namely Hume Wrathall, Arthur Wilson, John Smith and Alan Clark, which has provided the sort of continuity that many organisations would envy.


The choir is in great demand, performing about 25 times a year in venues ranging from tiny chapels and churches to magnificent cathedrals, concert halls and arenas. The choir has contributed to massed male voice choir events in the Royal Albert Hall, The National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff and the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Sheffield Arena and St George’s Hall, Bradford. Small groups from the choir also go to entertain residents in Nursing Homes and Sheltered Housing complexes. In addition to its many concerts around Britain, has travelled to the continent on a number of occasions to sing in various places in Germany, Holland and Belgium receiving tremendous applause and making many new friends there.

The Choir Today

The Choir at Chatsworth 2008

The Choir at Chatsworth 2008

In 2008, the choir, now consisting of around 75 performing singers, was able to celebrate its centenary in style with events which included a gala concert in St George’s Hall Bradford, a week long tour of Ireland and a performance for our patron the Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House.

We are sure that those 16 men back in 1908 would be proud to see the choir they founded still flourishing over 100 years later.




Musical Director – Cathy Sweet

Cathy is just the fifth MD the choir has had since its founding in 1908. Cathy started with the choir on 26th July 2017. She is introducing many new songs as well as changing some of the existing repertoire as she drags us well and truly into the 21st century.



Accompanist – Pat Jones

Pat Jones

Pat Jones

When Anne Mott, who had been our accompanist and an invaluable part of the choir for over twelve years, left the choir to move to York. one of her parting gifts to the choir was to find us a worthy successor in the form of her friend, Pat Jones.

Pat played her first concert with us in July 2014 and from the off we knew we had hit the jackpot. A superb musician whom we all love and admire!

Next Concerts

Annual Concert in Ilkley

Annual Concert in Ilkley

Our Annual Concert is at the King’s Hall Ilkley on Saturday 21st October. The concert will begin at 7:30 pm and our special guests are Otley Brass Band. We are especially proud and excited to be conducted by our new Musical Director Catherine Sweet. Tickets are obtainable from our Concert Secretary. Further details on our Concerts/Events page.

Upcoming concerts