ELEVEN choirs are raising the roof in the inaugural York Community Choir Festival at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre this week.

The art deco theatre on Haxby Road welcomed Vale Radio presenter Dougie Weake last night, followed by BBC Radio York's Adam Tomlinson and Elly Fiorentini tonight and tomorrow respectively, as well as the choirs from across the region for the three-night celebration of choral singing.

York Music Centre’s Tutti Amici, the John Lewis Partnership’s Vocal Vikings, the Macmillan Cancer Care Workplace Choir and South Bank Singers took part in yesterday's performance, when Weake introduced a programme ranging from gospel classics to The Mamas And The Papas’ California Dreamin’.

Hosted by Tomlinson, tonight's 7.30pm concert will see In Harmony perform a set of West End classics, while Spirit Of Harmony will bring barbershop harmonies to the JoRo stage, taking a journey from Amarillo to Kalamazoo and on to the Isle of Skye. The evening will close with Cantar, singing such works as Ave Verum and Bring Him Home.

Saturday's 7pm concert, compered by Elly Fiorentini, will feature the Stamford Bridge Singers, the 16-piece vocal harmony group Harmonix and the ladies' barbershop chorus, Main Street Sound. The evening will be rounded off by York Musical Theatre Company, no stranger to the Rowntree Theatre stage.

“We’re delighted to be joined for our festival by Dougie, Adam and Elly as hosts for each evening," says fundraising director Graham Mitchell.

"These three concerts are each very different, but really showcase the incredible choral talent that we have in York. We’ve already started to receive enquiries from other choirs who are keen to join next year, so we’re hoping that this festival is really well attended, in order that it can be another addition to York’s regular events calendar.”

Tickets can be booked at jrtheatre.co.uk, by emailing tickets@jrtheatre.co.uk or by calling 01904 639117.