ABOUT DANESBOROUGH CHORUS
Danesborough Chorus was founded in 1975. Today, it has around 100 members of mixed adult ages and abilities, and performs choral music spanning all eras.
The choir is taught by skilled professionals, and its reputation for quality performances owes much to the outstanding dedication of its Musical Director, Ian Smith.
The choir usually holds three or four concerts each season, with professional soloists and orchestras. Our usual venue is St Mary's, Woburn, with its perfect acoustic. We have also performed in the theatres at Dunstable and Milton Keynes, where we have combined with another choral society to present large-scale works.
We're always keen to recruit new singers. If you love singing and are eager to learn, or if you're already experienced in choral singing and musicianship, why not give us a try? Look around our website, read what members say about the choir and scan our list of performances.
Rehearsals are held in Aspley Guise Village Hall on Wednesday evenings at 19:45, finishing at 21:50. There's a coffee interval during the evening for members to get to know each other.
Still interested? After attending a few rehearsals, you'll be invited to a short, informal audition with the Musical Director who will check which section suits your voice. Join us for many rewarding hours of choral singing, from Mozart to Karl Jenkins, Rachmaninov to Howard Goodall. For more information, please email our membership secretary.
What members say
"Ian's commitment, enthusiasm and energy are truly extraordinary. I love singing with the choir and go home buzzing!"
"Choir rehearsal has always been a highlight of the week for me."
"Singing in the choir is a very convivial activity."
"Many of us are long-standing members but we're very welcoming to new
"Singing great music together gives me much satisfaction and a sense of well-being; it's both a physical and a mental workout."
"Thank you for persuading me to join and for making it always such a pleasure."
"It's a wonderful opportunity to learn and sing choral works from different eras."
"My weekly rehearsal with the choir is the de-stressing tonic I need!"
Meet Ian and Tim
Ian Smith is Musical Director of Danesborough Chorus. Educated at York University and Queens' College Cambridge, Ian is one of the most sought-after conductors in the area. He is also lead violinist in the Beverley String Quartet, and formerly Director of Music and Head of Expressive Arts at Wootton Upper School, Bedford.
In June 2023, Ian was honoured by The Open University as a Master of the University for his exceptional contribution to education and culture.
Ian also works on professional development courses for teachers and helps organise concerts in the Bedford area as well as being in demand as a choral trainer.
"I'm committed to achieving the highest possible standard of choral singing by our choir," says Ian, who has conducted Danesborough Chorus since 1977. "This gives our members immense satisfaction personally as well as delighting our audiences. It's very important to me that members enjoy their singing and being part of a friendly and committed choir. I hope that at the end of every rehearsal members will go home feeling reinvigorated, stimulated and happy."
Tim Grant-Jones is the choir's accompanist. He's our Renaissance man, being a pianist, church organist, composer of a modern musical and former Director of Music at three upper schools.
If that isn't impressive enough for you, Tim once played the entire keyboard works of J.S. Bach in one 13-hour sitting!
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Tim is also an examiner for Trinity, where he has been involved in selecting music for syllabuses and writing the aural books.
Tim is, unsurprisingly, much in demand as an accompanist - to choral societies (including Bedford Choral Society), opera groups, for the annual Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama and
for countless soloists.
"I like to help make rehearsals fun, but with an efficient learning rate," says Tim. "Be warned, though. I will often produce something to surprise or stir you! Come and find me during the coffee break if you just need to catch up on something."