A NEW choir has been launched in Aireborough and former Opera North soprano Joanne Dexter is taking on the challenge of shaping the vocal group.

The Burley-in-Wharfedale-based vocalist has agreed to become the musical director and conductor of Aireborough Voices, a choir which, she hopes, will sing a range of pieces to suit all ages.

“I’m really excited about this new project,” she said. “I want us to have fun making music, but I also want us to work hard to create a good quality sound.”

Aireborough Voices aims to appeal to anyone who wants to have a go at singing communally and the first rehearsal will take place at Menston Methodist Church on Thursday, January 26 at 7.30pm.

The choir has emerged from the ashes of Aireborough Gilbert and Sullivan Society which folded when Covid 19 and, with it, lockdown hit the UK.

“Although Covid brought the curtain down on the company, many of the members wanted to carry on singing and so they’ve formed Aireborough Voices,” said Joanne.

“We won’t just be singing G&S, of course, we will look to do all sorts of pieces. Some will be classical, others will be more contemporary. And we’ll welcome any voice types.

“For example, we’ll be working, amongst other things, on a James Bond-themed piece which includes extracts from songs by Adele, Shirley Bassey and Paul McCartney,” she said.

Joanne has been a professional singer for more than 30 years. During her career, she has enjoyed multiple spells with leading UK opera companies including Opera North and English Touring Opera.

“The consistent theme running through everything we do will be on quality of singing. Over the years I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from working with some outstanding musicians and I want to impart that knowledge to others. But that desire to reach a good standard shouldn’t put off those who worry about whether or not they will be good enough. We’ll look to improve standards over time.”

With the King’s Coronation due in May, Aireborough Voices’ first concert is expected to take place during the summer and will have a Royal flavour to it.

Anyone interested in attending a rehearsal can email jane.harmer30@sky.com or call 07969 492594