Join Us
Information about joining
With 130 members, the Northampton Bach Choir is proud to be the largest choir in the region. Vacancies for new members arise at various points in the year, so we encourage you to get in touch as soon as you can if you are interested in joining us. Usually we will invite you to join us for a rehearsal, and if you find it enjoyable you will come for a short (and we hope stress-free) audition. We are proud to still be singing in the same venue as our very first concert in 1936, St Matthew’s Church, home of artwork by Henry Moore and Graham Sutherland, and the church where première performances of works by Benjamin Britten, Gerald Finzi, Herbert Howells, and Michael Tippett, were given. However the church only has limited ‘stage space’ for the performers, and whilst we utilise specially-manufactured staging to maximise space, there are times when we have no vacancies. At this time your details will be added to our waiting list, and we will be in touch just as soon as vacancies arise. Like most similar choirs, we are often over-subscribed for sopranos and altos, but under-subscribed for tenors and basses. Unfortunately we are not able to accept applications from singers under the age of eighteen.

We often get asked why we have auditions and how good you have to be to join. We have auditions to make sure the standard of the choir is maintained, to decide what section of the choir you will sing in, and to ensure that members are able to keep up with the pace and detail of rehearsals. The audition is the first step in what we hope will be a long and fruitful musical partnership; we want you to pass your audition and we do all that we can to put you at your ease. We look for a pleasant singing voice and basic musicality. Some understanding of musical notation is also required. Auditions are taken by the Musical Director, Lee Dunleavy, and normally consist of singing a few scales, a short prepared piece, and a short period looking at a new score, to identify musical features and sing, with accompaniment, some of the simple melodies in it. We are often asked “what prepared piece should I bring” – for experienced singers this might be a classical song, for people who haven’t sung for many years, this can be a well-known hymn, folk song or Christmas carol. Please contact the Membership Secretary if you have any further queries.


Latest Recording

Requiem Reflections - our fourth commercial CD, recorded in our home church of St Matthew’s, Northampton, was recorded in October 2016 and commemorates the life of Constance Travis (1911-2015), a stage actress who married into the Northampton family that eventually became Travis Perkins. In later life, she became a philanthropist who founded the Constance Travis Charitable Trust, which has made grants to numerous charities locally and nationally.

Rehearsals & Venue

The Society's season starts on the first Monday evening of September and goes through to the final concert in early June of the following year.

Rehearsals take place on Monday evenings from 7:45pm to 9:45pm and are held usually at the Northampton High School on the Newport Pagnell Road (NN4 6UU). The school is best accessed by car – it is only a 5 minute drive from junction 15 of the M1. The school has excellent and plentiful car parking. We rehearse in the main hall, which is now known as the Theatre. This is not accessed by the main entrance to the school, but rather from the next entrance along the building – park in the main car park in front of the school and it should be obvious. On some occasions we may use other venues, and details will be circulated in advance.

There is a usually a 10-15 minute break in the rehearsal for a chance to have a drink and catch up with fellow members, and for any notices to be given out. Water, juice and biscuits are available for a nominal cost.

There are no fixed seating arrangements – members take the first available seats wherever their respective voice parts happen to be located. This can vary from concert to concert, and sometimes week to week, depending on the works being rehearsed. Every voice part has a representative and you will be introduced to this person the first time you come along, to ensure you are sitting with someone who supposedly knows what they’re doing!


Choir members receive training from our music staff, which not only prepares us for concerts, but also improves our vocal technique and our understanding of the variety of repertoire we perform. Our membership subscriptions therefore defray the costs involved in simply rehearsing – paying our Musical Director and Répétiteur, and the hire of our rehearsal venue. The cost of subscriptions is presented to the Annual General Meeting each autumn by the committee, based on balancing the budget for the coming year. There are three levels of subscription rate depending on your personal circumstances; the full rate for the current season is £145, with concessions for students. Please contact Crawford Craig for further details.

Music Scores

For most of the music we perform you will have the option either to purchase the scores or to hire them from the Librarian. There is the odd occasion when either one option or the other cannot be offered but this is rare.

When there have been higher costs for music hire for a concert, we endeavour to programme the concert following so that music hire will be inexpensive. The hire rates will vary as they are subject to the costs of the Northampton Bach Choir hiring them in the first place but are typically only a few pounds each time. The choir has concert folders which are also available from the Librarian.


Most of our concerts take place in St Matthew’s Church on the Kettering Road (NN1 4RY), though our concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra take place in Royal and Derngate.

Unlike many choirs we do not require our members to purchase a minimum number of tickets for each concert. Nevertheless, we rely on choir members to promote our concerts, and encourage friends and relatives to attend.


As with any organisation like ours there are a few basic rules that all members are required and expected to abide by. There are not that many and the key ones are noted below:
  Must attend a minimum number of rehearsals to be eligible to participate in a concert – this will vary from concert to concert.
  Adhere to the agreed concert dress code for the concert in question.
  Ensure you abide by the rules and are aware of the Choir’s Constitution.

In return for this, you will:

  Get to sing in four concerts a year with dynamic programmes, performing alongside professional musicians and singers of the highest calibre in a diverse list of venues.

  Have the opportunity to participate in other special events to which the choir (in part or whole) is invited, not least our programme of joint concerts (most recently with the Royal Choral Society and Alfie Boe in the Royal Albert Hall), Cathedral visits (most recently to St Paul’s Cathedral), foreign tours (most recently to Paris, where we sang in the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame) and recordings (three commercial recordings have been made in the last five years).
  Receive excellent vocal tuition at rehearsals.
  Be able to join other members in various social events organised during the year, and sometimes outside of the season.