About Us

The Ashdown Singers, a chamber choir of some twenty-five voices, gave their first performances in 1976. The aim at the choir’s formation was to have a group of experienced singers capable of performing major works and yet also able to sing madrigals and part-songs in an intimate and authentic manner.

Performances have included Classical Masses by Haydn, Mozart, Dvorak and Schubert and have ranged in style and scale from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (performed in Brighton in 2008 with The Prince Regent’s Musicians) to demanding twentieth-century repertoire such as the Requiems of Maurice Durufle and the Canadian composer Eleanor Daley.

The choir is essentially a five part unit as much repertoire needs two soprano lines, but frequently divides further to sing pieces for double choir in eight or more parts.

Charitable work is an essential part of the choir’s ethos. Over the years many thousands of pounds have been raised for local and national charities and causes. Singers are drawn from across East Sussex, and the choir is equally at home performing in village churches or cathedrals and concert halls and has broadcast on  local radio. If you are interested in hiring the Ashdown Singers for your event, please see the “Contact Us” page.

Sam Barton, Musical Director of the Ashdown Singers (2020 onwards)

Sam Barton is a conductor, pianist, tenor, and double bassist based in Brighton. 

Sam began his professional career in Canada, studying conducting at the University of Toronto (2010-12). After his degree he developed a great reputation as a musician. He was the founding Music Director of Scarborough Community Players (2013–15) and Music Director of the Scarborough Choralaires (2012–15). He was also a regular guest conductor for That Choir, the St James’s Cathedral Choir and the All Saints Kingsway Choir. His other engagements have included extensive work with the Estonian community in Toronto, where he was guest conductor of the Toronto Estonia Choir. He was also Assistant Music Director of the University of Toronto’s Master Chorale, and Men’s Chorus. 

Since moving back to the UK, he has been Music Director of Wimbledon Light Opera Society’s autumn 2015 production; has conducted i Maestri Orchestra in London; and was music director of the 2016 Summer Music on the Shannon festival in Limerick, Ireland. From 2017-2020 Sam worked as the Assistant MD for Brighton Festival Youth Choir. In 2020 Sam was appointed as the Musical Director of Ashdown Singers. Sam is also  the organist at the First Church of Christ, Scientist (Brighton), accompanist for the Clockhouse Singers in East Sussex, Musical Director of West Norwood Community Choir in London, and the Associate Director of Worthing Choral Society.


Terence Steele, Honorary Life President of the Ashdown singers.

Having formed the Ashdown Singers in 1976 and been Musical Director from then up until his retirement in 2016, Terry’s role is now more ‘behind the scenes’. He began his career in Shropshire as organist and master of the choristers at Oswestry Parish Church, and also Conductor of Oswestry Choral Society. A graduate of Bristol and Nottingham Universities, Terry also trained at the Royal School of Church Music. As an organist he has played in concerts and recitals across Britain and Europe. Terry was Head of Music at Priory School, Lewes, and has been heavily involved with the East Sussex County Music Service, playing the organ for the East Sussex Schools Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, and as conductor of the East Sussex  Community Choir.


Details of the current Ashdown Singers Committee and Line Representatives are to be found on the Members’ Page.

The Ashdown Singers April 1993

The Ashdown Singers: the early days.