Choir Of The Year 2016 – The Choral Journey Continues

Corporate members Rayburn Tours review the Choir Of The Year competition so far

With 9 audition days hosted across the UK and over 150 choirs auditioning for the grand title, the Choir of the Year 2016 audition stage has come to a close. However, the choral journey continues as 16 choirs will be ‘singing it out’ at the Category Finals at Birmingham Symphony Hall in October, for a place in the Grand Final in December.

Celebrating choral music in all its forms, this inclusive competition has welcomed choirs from varying abilities and genres to its stages over the last six months, including acclaimed choirs of 100 singers, starting out choirs comprised of 8 jazz-scatters and ‘we’ll give it a go’ choirs simply doing it for the love of it. From Bach’s ‘Mass in B minor’ to Adele’s ‘Skyfall’, we’ve witnessed an amazingly varied collective of choir-book classics and contemporary covers. All in all, it’s been a mega-mix of choral magnificence!

As ‘A Friend of Choir of the Year’, we’ve travelled the length of the country over the last six months to join the ‘choral parade’. Setting off in the city of Leeds on the 13th March, the Choir of the Year ‘caravan’ has stopped off in Warwick, Basingstoke, Truro, Cardiff, Cambridge, Gateshead, Portsmouth and Glasgow, finishing up in St Albans this June and we’ve followed its journey every mile of the way.

It has been a privilege to be a part of this wonderful event, meeting with choirs from all over the UK and witnessing stunning auditions from some of the best choirs in the country. It has also been a great chance for us to talk to choirs about their plans to take the next step in their choral journey.

The ethos of this year’s Choir of the Year has been all about progression and development, epitomised by Choir of the Year’s partnership with ABCD, creating choral masterclass workshops for choirs looking to improve their sound. The competition is a way for choirs to pick up new performance and repertoire ideas, perform to a large audience and receive constructive criticism from their choral peers, all with a view to growing and progressing as a choir. This was emphasised by Choir of the Year Judge and Musical Director, Ken Burton, who drew on his own experiences of a slow and steady climb to the Choir of the Year title, after several entries to the competition with his own choir.

In light of this ethos, we recognise that a great way for choirs to build in confidence and develop as a unit is to go on tour and with the opportunity to perform in iconic venues around the world whilst enjoying a great social time with your choir, an international concert tour could be the next step toward progression. Choirs often tell us how beneficial it is to have spent an intensive period of time together; not only from the viewpoint of group bonding but to have the opportunity to rehearse and perform together over the course of a concentrated week, as opposed to intermittent or weekly rehearsals.

Encouraging the ambitions of passionate musicians and providing them with special performance opportunities is at the heart of what we do which is why we are thrilled to be a part of the biggest choral event of the year for a second time. We are delighted that the Choir of the Year 2014 winners are touring with us to The Rhineland next year and we look forward to working with more choirs looking to take the next step in their choral journey!

A huge congratulations to all the choirs who have got this far and all the best for the finals – we’ll see you in Birmingham!

For more information about Choir of the Year, or to purchase tickets for the Finals, visit the Choir of the Year website.
For more information on a Choir tour, call the Rayburn Tours team on 01332 537 753 or visit