Since the beginning, BFCS has always aimed to foster music appreciation in the wider Bradford community. In the 21st century this means appealing to a diverse range of people who never imagined they would be interested in either choral singing or classical music!
Are you a singer?
For those who know they like choral singing, we run regular Come and Sing events based on our current repertoire. They’re very popular, combining a relaxed, friendly informal atmosphere with brilliant musical content and our Musical Director’s highly skilled direction.
For those who think they might like choral singing, we run Learn to Sing courses with inspiring tutors who help participants to find their voice, develop basic singing technique, build confidence, learn a core repertoire of songs in a variety of musical styles … all while having fun and experiencing the joy of singing. Watch this space for details of future courses.
Music for refugees and asylum seekers
BFCS supports Bradford Friendship Choir for refugees, people seeking asylum and their friends. It meets every Tuesday in central Bradford. Its inspirational leader, Fran Woodcock, describes it as a joyful singing sanctuary, open to all kinds of people. The choir’s focus is on welcoming and supporting refugees and people seeking asylum, and celebrating our diversity through the power of song. Have a look at its lovely website or email the choir at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2021 we were awarded an Arts Council project grant to support community music-making in Bradford. As a way of commemorating this part of our shared journey, the choirs have collaborated to make recordings of two songs chosen by The Friendship Choir. Jikelele is a South African celebration song and means ‘everywhere’ or ‘universal’. Here Is My Home is an American folk song traditionally sung at Thanksgiving.
We dedicate these joint performances to Maggie Eisner who founded The Friendship Choir and was, until her recent ill-health, Chair of Trustees for Bradford Festival Choral Society. You can find these recordings at the bottom of this page, please enjoy and share.
Bradford Friendship Choir Guest Artist Series
Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, The Bradford Friendship Choir has been able to invite a visiting artist to lead a series of workshops. Their first guest was Thabo Mkwananzi. As a Zimbabwean born and Huddersfield based musician, THABO’s soulful approach to subjects like climate change and other social ills give his music a unique charm and purpose. This has earned him collaborations with Naughty Boy, Idris Elba and opening act duties for musicians like Seal, Anthony Hamilton and Dwele. We look forward to welcoming more artists into the Bradford Friendship Choir in the future! Please enjoy the video at the bottom of this page which gives some insight into the work Thabo did with the choir. Videographer – Tom Doona Media
One City, Many Voices
In Summer 2015, with a grant from Bradford Council, we organised One City, Many Voices – Bradford Sings! as part of the Bradford Festival. Over a weekend, eleven choirs sang around the city in venues such as Bradford Interchange, Waterstone’s, Forster Square, Kirkgate Market, the Media Museum, the Arndale Centre and City Park. BFCS was joined by Belle Vue Girls’ School choir, BIASAN singers (refugees and their friends), Bradford Voices, Carlton Bolling College Choir, Free Spirit Ladies’ Choir, Noteworthy Women, Opus 44, Pennine Chimes, Queensbury Singers, and Steeton Male Voice Choir.
Preparing for that event, we used part of the Council grant to provide additional singing tuition at Belle Vue and Carlton Bolling schools, and at BIASAN, the organisation which supports refugees and asylum seekers. We were able to continue this for some months in the following year.
Bradford Council and the Lord Mayor’s Office
We are delighted that our Patron is the Lord Mayor of Bradford! In May 2016 we sang at the Dragonboat Festival, supporting the Lord Mayor’s appeal, and in December 2016 and 2017 entertained the guests at the Lord Mayor’s Christmas lunch.
We often sing at Bradford Council events – including, in the recent past, Carmina Burana in Bradford CityPark in summer 2014, our One City Many Voices at the Bradford Festival in summer 2015, and Christmas carols in the historic setting of Bolling Hall in December 2015. We were involved in the Council’s development of a workplace choir and most recently performed at the community reopening of St George’s Hall.
Community arts events
We enjoy performing at events organised by The Brick Box, an innovative community arts organisation in Bradford – in November 2016 we appeared in the Wild Woods in the derelict Marks and Spencer building in Darley Street, and in October 2017 at the River of Light festival in Ivegate. On both occasions we were enthusiastically received by audiences mostly unfamiliar with classical music.