Well Met, the conference office for Leeds Beckett University, is delighted to host the 33rd annual Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) Convention from Friday 24th – Sunday 26th August 2018 at Headingley Campus, Leeds.
The convention makes a welcome return to the city since its last visit in 2012, with a packed schedule of over 30 events, featuring presenters and exhibitors from across the UK, USA, Lithuania and Ireland. Over 200 visitors are expected to attend this important date in the choral calendar.
Bar and barbershop will kick off this weekend of choral community conventions at the Friday night plenary session. Welcoming drinks will be followed by slick barbershop singing from award-winning quartet Monkey Magic.
Rachel Greaves, General Secretary for the Association, said: “We are happy to be coming back to Leeds and to the team at Well Met. We had positive feedback from delegates and exhibitors in 2012, they liked the site, convenient parking and modern accommodation and everything was within easy walking distance. The session rooms were easy to find, and the exhibition hall works really well for us as there are not many sites now that have that size of open hall.”
The Choral Convention will close what has been an exceptionally busy summer of activity for the Well Met conferencing team. From sports foundation and corporate games, to international language schools and trainee teachers, Well Met has filled a total of 8,928 beds this summer, playing host to over 2,000 delegates and welcoming them to Leeds.
Clare Vidler, Conference Manager, Well Met, said: “Summer presents a packed schedule of conferencing, summer schools and conventions and are a key part of our business. Due to the variety of facilities and venues on our estate we can be flexible and tailor our offering to suit the needs of our customers.
“Headingley Campus has an enduring appeal with a variety of organisations due to its accessible location, excellent on-site facilities and beautiful setting and we are always delighted to welcome back repeat visitors.”
Thomas Leech, Director of the Diocese of Leeds’s internationally acclaimed Schools Singing Programme and Musical Director of Bradford Festival Choral Society is the Convention Artistic Director and is pleased that ABCD is returning to the city, he said: “I’m thrilled that the ABCD Convention has come back to Leeds and in the excellent facilities at Headingley Campus.
“We have a wealth of local talent such as Opera North’s James Bingham, Charlotte Kitson, Choral Director for Wakefield and Pontefract and Craig Lees, senior lecturer for Popular Music Degree at Leeds College of Music, taking part in this event. We feature the outstanding education work of Opera North and the Diocese of Leeds Singing Programme, both of which reach thousands of children.”
Diversity in choirs will be an important strand of the Convention for 2018 featuring keynotes from founder of Music and the Deaf, Paul Whittaker OBE and Community Choir expert Em Whitfield Brooks. The event will attract over 200 attendees and is open to anyone involved in lead singing both amateur and professional. Delegates comprise of a great mix of experience and age, providing opportunities for those that are new to lead singing to sit alongside well-known performers of the choral world.
Lucy Griffiths, Assistant Director of Music, University of Warwick and Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra’s Junior Choir, will be leading a Young Conductor’s course for 18-25-year olds currently not earning a living from conducting. As one of the most respected conductor-animateurs of her generation, and a leading expert in the field of music, education and engagement, Lucy is well equipped to tutor the basics of choir training and conducting in a practical, hands-on course.
Convention events and accommodation will be held at Headingley Campus with the exhibition taking place in the Great Hall, in the magnificent James Graham building. The event will culminate in a gala concert on Saturday 25 August at Leeds Cathedral, featuring performances from the National Youth Boys’ Choir, New Dublin Voices and Leeds Contemporary Singers. Full details of the 33rd ABCD Convention can be found here: https://convention.abcd.org.uk/presenters/