THE Joseph Rowntree Theatre will play host to the first York Community Choir Festival from January 28 to 30.

The festival has emerged from the successful Music Nights at the Haxby Road theatre, featuring vocal groups such as The Tuesday Singers.

Festival organiser David Stainton says: "For many choirs, performing a full hour-long concert requires a huge amount of rehearsal time and preparation, so each of our three evening concerts will feature either three or four choirs singing some of the most popular songs in their repertoire.

"When we first put out feelers to the choirs of York to see if they would be interested in performing in a special choir concert, we were delighted by the number of groups who said ‘yes’ and so our festival was born.”

In total, 11 choirs will perform over the three nights, beginning with Tutti Amici, The Vocal Vikings (the John Lewis Staff Choir), The Macmillan Cancer Care Workplace Choir and The South Bank Singers on January 28. In Harmony, Spirit Of Harmony and Cantar will sing on January 29 and The Stamford Bridge Singers, Harmonix, Main Street Sound and York Musical Theatre Company on January 30. The first two concerts will start at 7.30pm; the last night at 7pm.

"We’ve got a fantastic mix of groups, each with very different repertoires," says Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s fundraising director, Graham Mitchell. "It ranges from the classical South Bank Singers to the a cappella sounds of In Harmony; from the male and female barbershop groups, Spirit Of Harmony and Main Street Sound, to young voices in the youth choir Tutti Amici and classics from stage and screen with York Musical Theatre Company.”

If the inaugural event proves successful, the organisers hope the York Community Choir Festival will become an annual fixture on the Rowntree Theatre calendar. Proceeds from this month's concerts will go towards improving the facilities of this Art Deco theatre, which is entirely self-funding and run by a dedicated army of volunteers.

Tickets cost £9 for one night, £15 for two or £18 for all three, on sale online from, by emailing or by calling 01904 639117. Discounts for groups are available on request.