Story of the Choir


Leeds District Methodist Choir was started in 1964 to provide an opportunity for singers to join together and perform large choral works. The choir was unusual in that rehearsals took place in the summer months and a concert followed in early October. The choir took on its present title of Leeds Methodist Choir in 1968.

The Choir began performing in local churches but since 1973 has performed its annual concert at Leeds Town Hall. Over the years the choir has performed many sacred and secular works with a range of soloists and accompaniment provided by organ, full orchestra or complete brass band. As well as the annual concert the choir recorded hymns for the BBC Radio 2 Sunday Half Hour programme in 2009. The choir also performs a carol concert in December.

Conductors and Accompanists
The conductor was invited on an annual basis until 1969 when Agnes Grisdale was appointed and she remained until 1978 leading the choir in performances such as Haydn’s Creation and Mendelssohn’s Elijah (the first concert performed at Leeds Town Hall). Agnes was replaced by Joseph Roberts who conducted every concert until 2003. He was succeeded by Tom Lydon who led the choir for three years until the present conductor Paul Dewhurst took up the role in 2007. Paul has conducted the choir’s performances of works such as Jenkins’ The Armed Man (2010), Stainer’s Crucifixion (2008) and Orff's Carmina Burana (2012), as well as starting autumn seasons for Christmas concerts in 2011 and 2012. Graham Coatman, who has done much work with the Leeds Guild of Singers was appointed in 2013. David Wilks accompanied the choir for thirty eight years retiring in 2002. The choir is currently accompanied by Nick Watts.

The choir has always raised money through concerts to donate to charity. Charities that have been supported in recent years include the Royal British Legion, Yorkshire Cancer Centre and St. Gemma’s Hospice. The choir performed its inaugural carol concert at Wakefield Cathedral in December 2011 to raise money for Action for Children, and performed for the same charity at Morley Methodist Church in December 2012.