The ONgoing SInging Liaison (TONSIL) group
  What is it?






Tonsil comprises organisations that work in the field of youth & adult singing. Formed in 1988, it meets two to three times a year, or as needed, to discuss what is, can, and should be happening in the world of choral singing, practice and education, in Britain and Internationally. TONSIL began because the member societies felt the need to respond as a group rather than individually to the wide variety of ideas and issues affecting the future of choral singing, including the music education curriculum and the Music Manifesto.

TONSIL is less an official organisation, more an informal association whose function is to serve its member choral organisations and to act as forum for national and international vocal education and practice.

Tonsil represents 17 organisations promoting choral singing across a wide variety of genres, supporting over 25,000 members choirs and over 500,000 singers, who each year perform to audiences totalling nearly 3 million.

  Mission To unite in enhancing the profile, value (educational, social and health) and influence of singing in the UK





  • Promote the benefits of singing
  • Include all communities
  • Provide an environment where practical collaboration can flourish
  • Advocacy
  • Provide a forum for exchange of expertise both internal and external
  • Complement the activities of the individual member organisations
  • Encourage activities that inspire and challenge all those involved in singing
  • Encourage the education of choral animateurs and directors
  • Support and encourage vocal music in educational establishments and across the youth music spectrum.









Tonsil has the following member choral organisations;

  • The Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD)

  • The British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS)

  • British Choirs on the Net

  • British Gospel Arts

  • The Big Big Sing

  • Choir Schools Association (CSA)

  • Friday Afternoons

  • International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM)

  • The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS)

  • Making Music, the National Federation of Music Societies (MM)

  • The National Association of Choirs (NAC)

  • The Royal College of Organists (RCO)

  • The Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)

  • Sing for Pleasure (SfP)

  • Sing UK

  • Voices Foundation (VF)

  • Voices Now



For more information about the organisations see below



ABCD - The Association of British Choral Directors


Is the forum for conductors and choral trainers. It runs training courses and conventions, has its own publication, "Mastersinger", promotes the composition of choral music, and offers a liaison service for members in order to promote local activities.


Tonsil representatives are Rachel Greaves


Web site


BABS  - The British Association of Barbershop Singers


BABS which gained educational charitable status in 2000 was formed in 1974 and now has 56 full member harmony clubs and 6 Associate member clubs each with its own chorus. Four part A Cappella singing in the unique barbershop style is for pleasure but there is an annual competition for both choruses and quartets. Educational events include annual Harmony College and Directors College as well as one day events hosted around the country. A Youth Programme focuses on assistance that can be given to busy music teachers and includes sponsorship to attend BABS educational events.


The Association is one of six world-wide affiliates to the American Harmony Society.


Tonsil representative is Peter Cookson


Web site 


BCN - British Choirs on the Net


Formed in 1995 ‘British Choirs on the Net’ is a free choral listing service with email and website links to over 3,600 choirs. It is designed to;


Raise the profile of British Choirs

Support the British Choral Tradition

Help choirs find new members and performance opportunities

Encourage the use of web technology to promote choral music

Provide links to other online choral resources and organisations


British Choirs on the Net on-line Choral Diary can be found at


Tonsil Representative is Phillip Tolley


Web site


BGA - British Gospel Arts

The work of British Gospel Arts, was established in 1999 as a Millennium Festival project, to promote and develop gospel music in the UK and Europe, through education, employment, performance, research and publications.

Over the last 12 years, it has thrived as the education arm of its founding organization, London Community Gospel Choir.  In 2013, it is re-branding itself, to take up its wider remit as an impartial gospel education provider and promoter. 

In summary, BGA provides services in the following areas:


Schools and other formal education institutions

Choral communities/organizations

Community organizations and churches

Corporate organizations

Tonsil Representative is Andrea Encinas  


Web site



Big Big Sing is a UK-wide singing project inspiring thousands of people to get singing.

Big Big Sing promotes singing because it is fun, but also because of its social, health and wellbeing benefits.

Big Big Sing works with partners UK-wide, major venues and festivals, and existing singing networks to make it as easy as possible for large numbers of people to join in.

Tonsil Representative is Siobhan Clark


Web site


CSA - Choir Schools' Association

The Choir Schools’ Association is a group of 44 schools attached to cathedrals, churches and college chapels around the country . Pupils have unlimited access to a first-class schooling and musical training, giving them an excellent start in life. Just over 1,000 of a total of 15,000 boys and girls are choristers. Some choir schools take children from 7-13; others are junior schools with senior schools to 18; the majority are Church of England foundations but the Roman Catholic, Scottish and Welsh churches are all represented.

Tonsil Representatives is Jane Capon

Web site


Friday Afternoon Music

Aldeburgh Music’s ‘Friday Afternoons’ project aims to encourage as many children and young people as possible TO SING… 

The ‘Friday Afternoons’ initiative began in 2013, as part of the celebrations for Benjamin Britten’s centenary (Britten founded the Aldeburgh Festival). We took Britten’s set of Friday Afternoons songs, written for his brother’s school in the 1930s, made them available as free downloads through the website – – and supported the learning of the songs through extensive interactive resources, also available free of charge.

What was initially just a Suffolk project became regional, then national, then global, and on Friday 22 November last year, there were close to 70,000 young people from around the world singing one or more of Britten’s songs.

Given the success of last year’s project, this year Aldeburgh Music has commissioned nine new, fun and original folk songs from an eclectic mix of composers and songwriters and, added to these are two of Britten’s folk songs plus the song which won the 2013 Britten Young Composer award. 

Aldeburgh Music plans to continue this project on an annual basis, with the commission of new works for young people at its core – ensuring that repertoire for children’s voices is continually developed; and will coordinate a Big Sing every year, on a Friday near to Britten’s birthday. 

Tonsil Representatives is Ann Barkway



IFCM - International Federation for Choral Music


The International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) was founded in 1982 for the purpose of facilitating communication and exchange between choral musicians throughout the world. Through its world and regional symposia, conducting master classes, World Youth Choir, Choral Music Database (Musica), ChoralNet website, World Choral Census, International Choral Bulletin, World Day of Choral Singing and many other projects, IFCM is fulfilling its purpose.

IFCM is the official representative of choral music on the International Music Council of the UNESCO. The Council recognizes that there are perhaps more people in the world participating in choral music than in any other group activity and that choral musicians need an organization such as IFCM to encourage and facilitate international communication and cooperation.


Tonsil representative is Eve Halsey 


Web site


LABBS - The Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers


With 1720 members in 50 clubs (+ 3 Associate member clubs & Club at Large) we share joy in 4-part A Cappella singing in this unique style striving for just intonation.


The website includes people details, affiliations, activities from a Prelims & National Convention, Harmony College, educational workshops, coaching, judging training programme, magazines & Music Service (that is available to anyone) with a Music Publishing Programme Loan Service & educational material to download free.


Tonsil representative is Marion Morley


Web site


MM - Making Music


Since 1935, Making Music has been the membership organisation for voluntary music in the UK, bringing together musicians and music groups of all genres and abilities.


We support, connect and champion everyone who makes, performs and presents music on a voluntary basis. The services we provide allow our members – ranging from symphony orchestras to samba bands – to cross the boring things off their ‘to-do’ lists and get on with making music.


As the voice of voluntary music among policy makers and stakeholders at a national and regional level, we aim to transform lives and enrich communities across the UK through music making.

Tonsil representative is Barbara Eifler




National Association of Choirs

NAC - The National Association of Choirs


The "NAC" represents and supports over 500 choirs and 26,000 voices, all of them voluntary and amateur throughout the UK.


We are committed to achieving the best in music for our members whatever the resources, whatever the styles through education, training, publications, advice and encouragement.


We hold an Annual three day conference in a different regional location offering tutorial session, master classes, workshops, trade exhibition as well as regional groups which are highly successful in organising courses, singing and repertoire days,

workshops and other events throughout the year.


Tonsil representative is Celia Johns

or John Croft


Web site


RCO - The Royal College of Organists


The Royal College of Organists is a multi-faceted charity and membership organisation whose professional and educational work is aimed at all who have interests in the organ and choral music. The College promotes an extensive education programme under the RCO Academy banner, which is designed to provide further training for existing players and directors and to recruit the next generation. A group of expert teachers offers individual organ tuition through RCO Academy Organ School. 

The College’s organ playing diplomas of Associate and Fellow are renowned worldwide for setting standards in organ playing and we also offer diplomas in Choral Directing and Organ Teaching. The Certificate (CertRCO) concentrates on basic technical accomplishment and provides a foundation for developing organists or an end-goal for amateur players. We maintain an internationally important library of music, books, recordings and other materials relating to organ and choral music which is housed by Birmingham City University. Membership is open to anyone whether or not they play the organ or direct a choir, with Student Membership available to anyone pursuing a course in full time education.

Together, RCO Academy, the examinations, the library and our other activities help ensure that the College continues to maintain the mission established by our founders 150 years ago.

Tonsil representatives are Simon Williams

Web site:


RSCM - The Royal School of Church Music


RSCM runs a nation-wide education and training programme for singers, instrumentalists and choir trainers, and all interested in the role of music in worship. This includes both training events and the Voice for Life training scheme, designed for use with singers of all ages and abilities. Voice for Life takes singers from the first stages of choral singing to advanced vocal techniques, repertoire and musical knowledge.

Training events are arranged both at the RSCM's headquarters in Surrey and locally in more than 40 areas. These events include a wide variety of residential and non-residential courses; hundreds of singing festivals and workshops; and three-day events involving some 800 children each year.

Members of the RSCM enjoy many benefits including free subscription to Church Music Quarterly and Sunday by Sunday (the RSCM Liturgy planner), 25% discount on RSCM publications and discount on the nationally organised RSCM courses.


Tonsil representative is Colin Davey or Rosemary Field or Adrian Lucas mailto:


Web site 


SfP - Sing for Pleasure


Sing for Pleasure has, for over 40 years, encouraged better singing for children and adults through a variety of courses for children and adults, day to week long, for singers and choral conductors. In addition to that, Sing for Pleasure has developed a wide range of well respected song books for both children and adults; the former are especially popular for engaging children to use their voice in a fun way. Our choral conducting courses are extremely popular, catering as they do for Foundation through to Advanced level where they carry accreditation with the ABRSM.


Tonsil representative is Manvinder Rattan


Web site   


Sing UK

Sing UK is a national singing organisation with a UK-wide footprint.

We deliver quality, educational singing programmes and events which benefit the lives of many children, young people and adults.

The greatest part of our work is with children and young people, reaching them via their schools and communities. We have access to all the Local Authorities, schools, teachers and children across the UK.

Sing UK is committed to the Government's Every Child Matters agenda, specifically Be Healthy, Enjoy and Achieve and Make a Positive Contribution.


Tonsil representative is Anne Renshaw


Web Site


  Thye Voices Foundation

VF Voices Foundation


VF exists to enable all children to realise their full potential through a singing based music curriculum, and to influence national perception of the vital importance of music in education.


We help primary schools and others deliver a music curriculum which is accessible to all children, which sets high levels of expectation, and which embeds effective teaching and learning.  We do this by training and supporting teachers in the classroom, running training courses, developing materials, and working with partners to deliver music in the curriculum.


Tonsil representative is Rebecca Walsh


Web site

Voices Now


Voices Now is a celebration of singing and the most exciting UK festival for vocal groups. Whether you’re a singer yourself or just love to experience the incredible sound of people coming together to sing, you’ll discover something special at this three-day festival.


Tonsil representative is Clare Edwards


Web site