About Us

Bedford Gallery Quire is a community group of singers and instrumentalists performing three and four part musical pieces from the West Gallery period, around 1700 to 1850.  Following a workshop singing day in 2003 given by founder, Ken Baddley, enthusiastic participants were keen to continue and Bedford Gallery Quire was born.

In the conventional voice parts of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass with instruments doubling the vocal lines, we perform in Bedfordshire and the neighbouring counties in costume representing what might have been worn by our counterparts in Bedford around 1810—1830.  We have no religious affiliation and members are of all faiths and none.

In Bedford there was a church band and choir in the Three Ridges Chapel which is now called the Bunyan Meeting Free Church.  They left a legacy of manuscripts of the metrical psalms, hymns, anthems, and carols which they performed.  This, together with other Bedfordshire collections, forms the core of our repertoire but also included are some West Gallery pieces from other parts of the country and we occasionally include pieces from the shape-note tradition of North America.

We have been fortunate to have been awarded a grant from The National Lottery through Awards for All to pursue our aim of bringing this forgotten music back to the local communities of Bedfordshire and the surrounding area. Here are some of the gratifying things that have been said about us.

Our performances have included concerts for churches, historical societies, museums and libraries, workshops, civic and commercial events.

When west gallery music died out in the churches and chapels in the 1800s it moved to inns and alehouses. In South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire the carols are still sung at Christmas in the living tradition known as the Sheffield Carols. We have introduced this to Bedford where we join with friends in The White Horse each December for an evening of pub carols. We sing both from the Yorkshire tradition and also include some from Bedfordshire and Northants. This event is purely for our own pleasure but all comers are welcome to drop in and join in or just listen.

Anniversary Workshop
Guyhirn Picnic
White Horse 2022
Top left: 10th Anniversary Workshop 2013, Top right: picnic lunch with guests during a workshop at Guyhirn Chapel 2017, Bottom left: Christmas Carols at The White Horse, Bedford 2022, Bottom right: 20th Anniversary Workshop 2023
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