Sheffield Bach Choir concert sponsorship thrill for retired member Betty

Betty Grimsley first got to grips with Bach’s cantata Sleepers Wake over 70 years ago.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 12:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 5:59 pm
Betty Grimsley, who is sponsoring a concert being performed by Sheffield Bach Choir

She’s looking forward to hearing it again in a concert she is thrilled to be sponsoring.

“I studied it for my School Certificate in the early ‘40s,” said Betty, “and though Bach performed it just once in his lifetime, it became very popular - I have sung it with various choirs, including Sheffield Bach Choir. I’m can’t wait to hear them sing it in November.”

Betty, born in Manchester but a resident of Dore for many years, has sung soprano with first-rate choirs throughout her life.

She started by singing alongside her sister with the Manchester Cathedral Cantata Choir and with the prestigious Halle Chorus under Sir John Barbirolli.

“My mother was the musical one in the family,” said Betty. “She was very artistic, attending Manchester Art School just after Lowry had left.

“She was a soprano, and I have always used – and still have - her copy of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – though it’s rather well-thumbed now!”

Following her move to university in London, where she trained to be a music teacher, Betty joined Philip Ledger’s Chelmsford Cathedral Choir and the London Bach Choir.

Betty joined Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus on moving here in 1969, singing with them for over 30 years, and with the Sheffield Bach Choir until her retirement.

Sleepers Wake is a shortened name taken from the opening words which translate as ‘Awake, calls the voice to us’.

Also on the programme is three sections of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

Join Betty at 7.30pm on Saturday in Sheffield’s Anglican cathedral. Tickets are available online at, in the cathedral bookshop or on the door.