BIRMINGHAM Bach Choir will celebrate its centenary this weekend, with a concert in Pershore Abbey.

There are 44 Bach Choirs in the United Kingdom, and 222 worldwide, as Paul Spicer, Music director of the Choir, will tell you.

And the Bach Choir that Paul has been conducting in Birmingham (“27 years, but it doesn’t feel like it”) is currently celebrating its centenary, 100 years which involved a slight change of name along the way.

He said: “When I started with the choir it was the Birmingham Bach Society. But Nick Fisher, then the Chairman, and I felt that it was now simply a choir and did not do any of the additional events which the organisation had originally done so we thought it more appropriate to call ourselves the Birmingham Bach Choir – a new name for a new era.

“The origins of the choir were very small-scale, as these things often are. It was started by a Bach enthusiast, Bernard Jackson, who gave a lecture about Bach and then things grew to include concerts with ensembles, both choral and instrumental with very modest numbers.”

He added: “ After Jackson there was a gap and then it started slightly fitfully again but it was Dr Willis Grant who really got the thing going properly and was conductor for eleven years. Roy Massey came soon afterwards, and then the key appointment of Richard Butt who was also Senior Producer at the BBC in Birmingham.”

“The Bach Choir is now a finely honed machine and, to be honest, keeps on getting better all the time.”!”

Birmingham Bach Choir performs Steal Away, a sequence of moving spirituals (including a new setting by Paul Spicer), in Pershore Abbey this Saturday, June 22 at 7.30 pm.