27/11/2012 16:38

There are a few within The Chorale who were there at its inauguration. There are some for whom membership of The Chorale has proved profoundly life changing. There are some who came, sipped the heady wine that is The Chorale, but had to move on. There are many who, having sipped, were tempted to take a deeper draught and who fell beneath its spell. Together, we seek to continue its original avowed intent: “Musical excellence, its aim; musical versatility, its style; musical enjoyment, its way of life.”

To celebrate our Pearl Anniversary - 30 years of The Manchester Chorale - the 2009/2010 season was punctuated with special events. These are briefly listed below. At the close of that season, A Pearl Memento was produced for members, comprising booklet (including reminiscences from past events), a CD of live music recorded at Chorale concerts held during its Pearl Celebration Year, and a DVD comprising a set of folders with press cuttings, photographs, slideshows and music tracks.

With such a legacy as The Manchester Chorale has, it is incumbent upon its current generation to uphold that legacy. You may feel that you would like to share in it. Please get in touch, whatever your reason for doing so.


We experienced the pleasures of our season’s inaugural event – the Pearl Barbecue - at Heather Barlow’s home, accompanied by the traditional weather (dull and a little wet) plus equally traditional good food and company.







We weathered the potential traumas of learning the rudiments of African drumming and came out feeling more rounded, happier, relieved and more  knowledgeable people (thanks to Heather Barlow again!).





Having shared that experience of being with fellow Chorale members and seeing them in a slightly different context, we then had the opportunity, after a Christmas interlude, to go formal and even more upmarket  – our wonderful Pearl Dinner & Dance at Worsley’s Old Court House, masterminded by June Ashton. We all enjoy dressing up and a little nostalgia, and that evening provided the opportunity for both and much more besides. The contributions of our first and our current Musical Directors gave clear indication of why The Chorale has endured and given so much pleasure through its first 30 years of life.





Next in the Pearl calendar came our Pearl Invitation Concert at the church of St John the Divine, Brooklands, when Jill Henderson-Wild, our Musical Director & inspiration, led the rehearsal of several pieces during the course of the Saturday afternoon when we were joined by past and guest singers, and for these to be performed as part of the evening concert. Whilst singers were able to enjoy the occasion, a plethora of extremely positive comments from audience members suggested that it was very much a shared enjoyment.

Not only was it enjoyable – it also raised a total of £552.00, which was split between MacMillan Cancer Support and the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.





And so to our opportunity shortly after Easter to thank our Gubbay guests for their faithful service and to share our Pearls by way of wine & cheese, and the Pearl QuizWho can forget the teams battling for prizes, the aptly named Magnificent 7 (eventual winners), Charlie’s Angels (without Charlie), The Quizzy Rascals, Ding Dong (a premonition, perhaps, of the St George’s Day concert), Mad Dog & The Englishwomen (ditto), The Scrambled Egg Collection (editor’s note: post Easter reference), and The Knowledgeable (K)Novices, aptly the competition’s runners up. (Photo shows quizmaster Alan Hazell taking a moment to relax during preparation of questions).



Before we had time to catch our breath, it was then on to the Pearl Fishers Treasure Hunt, set in the heart of the great city by Janet and John Boulding (left), who had clearly done their homework extremely carefully. Some 20 folk plus enjoyed the occasion and the food at Croma, where the results were calculated and the inevitable winners announced (the winning group included our Musical Director).



The concert at the Priory Church, Bolton Abbey now seems a little distant, but “the memory lingers on”, to quote a well known song. We knew that both the internal and external settings would be exquisite. 

The singers were pleased with the sound. The picnickers enjoyed the food and wine. What a pity that the weather was so appalling! Those who had not previously visited with The Chorale could hopefully imagine how lovely the occasion would have been if common sense had prevailed and we’d had some of the sunshine we enjoyed at our next concert. A few photos should recall the day:




The heart of Manchester was just the right symbolic setting for the Chorale’s Pearl Celebration Concert on 19 June.  The warmth of the wonderful sunshine and of the welcome from St Ann’s Church complemented the occasion, where a good

 audience – including Jeff Wynn Davies, David Jepson, and a number of others who previously played key roles in the development of The Chorale – graced the occasion. The concert included the first performance of the piece – ‘Music’s Empire’ - commissioned from Alan Woods in celebration of The Chorale’s Pearl Anniversary season.




It was some time since we had sung in Hawkshead (2005), but all who have taken part in one or more of such previous occasions will surely have very happy memories both of the concerts and of the opportunities afforded for rather more sustained social intercourse than is normally possible. In short, it was a time for further Chorale bonding. Some folk undertook the journey to Hawkshead and back on the same day, but with the lure of the buffet supper served after the concert plus the delights of the area itself, many more opted to stay in Hawkshead for longer. Apart from the fact that it rained continuously for 36 hours, a good time was had by all. The concert was, as usual, well-received and supper in the Red Lion well-consumed.



Our final performance of this Pearl Season took place where The Manchester Chorale performed its first ever concert in 1979 – in the Royal Northern College of Music – where we hoped to inspire younger singers attending the Stockport Showcase to pledge a lifetime of choral endeavour and to ensure another generation of Choralers. Following the concert, the Chorale gathered for a final Pearl drink together in the RNCM and received a brief presentation on some of the more memorable moments in The Chorale’s history – not as dry as it sounds. The Manchester Chorale is not renowned for dryness!




Our Musical Director


Jill Henderson-Wild has been with us since 2006.

Her biographical notes are in the People page.

Our Assistant Musical Director

Dave Robinson

See the People page for more details

2024 Concert Dates:


  • 29 June 2024, 7:30pm, at Emmanuel Church, Didsbury 
  • 6 July 2024, 7:30pm, at the church of St Michael and All Angels, Hawkshead
  • 19 October 2024, 3:00pm, at St Margaret's Church, Prestwich
  • 7 December 2024, 3:00pm, at Didsbury Baptist Church
  • 24 December 2024, 3:00pm in the Bridgewater Hall
  • 15 March 2025, 7:30pm, with Bury Youth Big Band at Bury Parish Church
  • 10 May 2025, 7:30pm, with the Master Singers at All Saints Parish Church, Cawthorne
  • 5 July 2025, 7:30pm, at the Bridge Church, Otley
Tickets can be reserved here