Music is well said to be the speech of angels. ~Thomas Carlyle, "The Opera"

An Award Winning Women's Choir

Decibellas Charity Concert a Sell Out!

Decibellas Women’s Choir of Tarporley recently hosted a concert with Llangollen Male Voice Choir, to raise funds for St Luke’s Cheshire Hospice. The men’s motto, “Cyfeillgarwch drwy Gan” (“friendship through song”), formed the theme for the evening with both choirs performing pieces from their own repertoires and then joining together for a rousing finale!

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Decibellas Do the Double!

Decibellas Women’s Choir from Tarporley, Cheshire, is delighted and very proud to announce that it has won two categories at The Chester Competitive Festival of Performing Arts 2015.  Competing against other excellent Women’s vocal groups, Decibellas carried away The Stamford Cup and The Rita Landi Challenge Cup.

Decibellas’ first performance was in the Women’s Choir Open, competing for The Stamford Cup, awarded to the competitors with the highest marks.  Their first piece was Over the Rainbow, Arlen arr. Joanna Forbes.  Jeffrey Wynn Davies, adjudicator on the day, praised the dynamics, balance and nuances of the performance, making particular mention of the “fabulous ending that faded into the air”.

The choir’s second piece was Hope for Resolution, Caldwell & Ivory, that combines a choral and Zulu chant, having been written for Mandela and Le Clerk.  The adjudicator commented that even though the piece had been written for a much larger choir, Decibellas delivered a wonderful performance and very effectively demonstrated the change in character during the piece.

The next class was for smaller choral groups (5-15 voices) who competed for the Rita Landi Challenge Cup. For this section a small ensemble of volunteers (Decibellisime)  from the larger choir, performed The Lily and The Rose, Chilcott, and How Do I Love Thee, Nathan Christensen.  Jeffrey Wynn Davies commented that although the Chilcott piece was not technically difficult, the group “did not miss a trick”.  He was also impressed with the complexity of How Do I Love Thee and commented that he had awarded extra marks for technical difficulty.

Hazel Rowlands, Chair of Decibellas, commented “We are thrilled to have won both trophies and really didn’t expect it.  Our goal in entering the competition was, in fact, to improve our performance skills and to have fun!  I’m pleased to say that we achieved both!  A particular thank you goes to our brilliant Musical Director Kathleen Ryan who has inspired the choir with her wonderful calm aura, knowledge and experience.  Our accompanist David Bird was joined by a talented musician Peter Mitchell from the Royal Northern College of Music who came along to accompany the choir on the djembe for our performance of Hope for Resolution.”

Decibellas will be performing their competition pieces as well as a selection from their repertoire on Saturday May 9th 2015 at St Boniface Church in Bunbury, Cheshire, when they will be joined by the Llangollen Male Voice Choir in a Concert celebrating ‘Friendship through Song’.  The concert is in aid of St Lukes Cheshire Hospice.  For more information and tickets visit Decibellas events page.

The Soul of Gospel Celebration Weekend & Charity Concert

We are very excited to be taking part in these Gospel weekend workshops in Manchester and you can too!

Voice Assembly are holding a weekend workshop and charity concert with Tyndale Thomas MBE, Kadria Thomas and David Thomas... in aid of Francis House Children's Hospice. 

We are really looking forward to taking part in what will be an amazing celebration weekend! Other choirs taking part are One Voice Community ChoirAccord Inspirational Gospel ChoirLiverpool Harmonic Gospel Choir and Gospelchor "Living Voices e.V. Krefeld" 

So join us and join in, as we create a mass choir celebration of joyous Gospel singing! 

The workshops will be held at Chetham's School of Music on Saturday 28th 10am-5pm - Sunday 29th March 10am-4pm.

2 day workshop Ticket £30, concessions £20.

Contact 0161 870 2215 or email for tickets.

The Concert will be at the same venue on 29th March 7pm. Tickets £8 and can be purchased from 0161 838 7244.

More details:

Bob Chilcott - March 7, Singing Day in Preston, 10:15-4:00

Work with British composer, Bob Chilcott (Mid-Winter, The Lily and The Rose, Skye Boat Song)  on his original setting of St John Passion, written for the Choir of Wells Cathedral.. This work tells the story of Christ's trial and Crucifixion using text from St John's Gospel. 

Interestingly, Chilcott has added smaller pieces within the work which can be sung by the choir and audience/congregation together. He has set some additional texts which have been taken from English poetry.

What an opportunity to work directly with the composer and sing in a mixed choir setting! And SO close to home!

The Sixteen - English Choral Music

Live from the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Harry Christophers conducts The Sixteen in English choral music

Harris: Faire is the heaven
Weelkes: When David heard
Rubbra: There is a spirit
James MacMillan: The Gallant Weaver
Harris: Bring us, O Lord God
Ramsey: When David heard 
Howells: Take him, earth, for cherishing
Britten: Hymn to St. Cecilia 
Tomkins: When David heard
Rubbra: Eternitie
Pearsall: Lay a garland
Tippett: Dance, clarion air
East: When David heard
Ivor Gurney: Since I believe in God the Father Almighty

The Sixteen
Harry Christophers, conductor

In a journey covering six centuries of musical history, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen perform a cappella anthems with texts by writers such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Fry and W.H. Auden. The concert also includes four settings of the same passage from the Book of Samuel, depicting the grief of King David on the death of his son, Absalom.

A Wonderful Start to 2015!

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for a wonderful start to 2015 at our first rehearsal after Christmas. We have some very interesting projects coming up in the near future. In particular, the Crewe Concert Band and the Llangollen Male Voice Choir promise to be very intriguing and worthwhile collaborations.


Spotify is one of the current free music streaming services providing digital rights, controlled content from record labels (Sony, EMI, Warner Music, Universal). Music can be browsed, searched by artist, album, genre, playlist or record label.

You can play the music without actually having to download the app from the internet. All you have to do is double click this link:

DB_Living Composers

However! Why not try having your own Spotify? Go to the App store and put, "Spotify" into the "search" bar. It's free. (for this you have to endure just a small amount of advertising) 

Seems too good to be true, right? But you are not cheating anyone by playing these tracks - every time a track is played, the performers and creators are in fact being paid. 

What can you make with all those lovely CDs? Coasters? Tree ornaments? Christmas wreaths? Or cut them into shiny bits and use them on a mosaic project.......

Today's Playlist

Composers - are they a thing of the past? When we think of composers, we may be limiting our thinking to composers of the 19th Century and before. I mean, we all know of the greatness of composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and later Wagner.......but who are the voices of today?

As in other creative realms - think about photography for example - the tools that we now have enable many more people to create. We have many more composers than ever before, because they all have computers with fantastic software (you all have copies of Garage Band on your own computers, don't you?), electronic instruments and access to all the resources one could ever need. These are musicians who have more formal training than at any other time in history. Many hold PhDs and are teaching in major universities. 

And so, I have enjoyed collecting choral works by living composers for you to hear. They are all living except Stephen Paulus, who wrote, "The Road Home", which is the 7th track. As I was gathering the music, I learned sadly, that he had passed away this past fall at age 65.

I shall be interested in your reactions. Perhaps you will make interesting observations or be inspired to seek out more related music.

Generally composers write music for which they are commissioned. Text is chosen first and foremost, so you will find that usually the text has a timeless quality to it. It may come from the Bible, or from classical poetry or may be unique in some way, as in the case of, "Wherever You Are" by Paul Mealor, which is a collection from the letters of wives of military servicemen. 

Thanks everyone! Please enjoy the musical offering.............see you at rehearsal!


‘I Hear Music in the Air’ Decibellas concert – 16th May 2014

A wonderful review from the High Sheriff of Chester ...

St Boniface Church, Bunbury witnessed some joyful gospel music and singing when the Decibellas were joined by Tarporley CE Primary School Choir with guest appearances by soloist Kadria Thomas and her son Aidan who accompanied some of the choral music on Friday night.  The evening of inspirational and uplifting music, interspersed with moving and thought provoking narrative was inspired by “12 Years a Slave” and held in aid of Anti-Slavery International.  It was especially poignant as we were asked to remember the 230 schoolgirls in Nigeria taken by Boko Haram over a month ago and still being held captive.

The Decibellas is an award winning ladies choir formed four years ago and based in Tarporley.  They do not audition but rather the choir is open to all women who love to sing – a love which was certainly apparent over the course of the evening.  Their new Musical Director, Kathleen Ryan, joined them in January and the choir were fulsome in their praise for her.  This was the choir’s first excursion into gospel music, which has involved them learning about gospel music in a workshop with Kadria’s husband Tyndale.  Audience participation was encouraged and towards the end of the evening Kadria had us all clapping and singing along.

The Primary School Choir sang three numbers on their own and then joined the Decibellas in a rousing finale.  Emma Hunter, Chairman of the Decibellas thanked everyone who had contributed to the evening before refreshments were served.  Not only are we told that singing is good for you but the Decibellas are doing good as well and I was thrilled to have been invited to join them for such a memorable evening.