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Aylesbury Festival Choir
People - James Davey - Piers Maxim - David Aylett - Thelma King - Our Members

James Davey - Musical Director and Conductor

James Davey is one of the UK's most distinguished and respected young choral directors, in demand for his work as conductor, choir trainer, choral education practitioner, arranger and adjudicator.

A graduate of the MA Choral Education course at Roehampton University, James is Musical Director for; Chantage - BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year 2006, the Chandos Chamber Choir, the Aylesbury Festival Choir, the Fleet Singers and a number of work-place choirs, including staff choirs at Channel 4 TV and FreemantleMedia.

Formerly the chief choral advisor for the BBC’s sheet music archives, James regularly conducts and prepares choirs for broadcasts on TV and Radio, and he is also a choir trainer for the Royal College of Music Junior Department, a Guest Conductor for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, and a tutor for the Cranleigh Choral Week, the Ingenium Academy and the Sherborne Summer School of Music.

To find out more about James, visit his website –

James Davey - Musical Director and Conductor

Piers Maxim - President

Piers became President of Aylesbury Festival Choir in 2004.

He is a former boy chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral; following his Music degree at Cambridge University, he continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama London. He has composed choral and instrumental music since the age of 7 – a highlight was a commission for the Millennium eve service of celebration at Southwark cathedral in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

As conductor, assistant and chorus master, he has worked regularly in the opera houses of Europe including the Staatsoper, Berlin, La Monnaie, Brussels and Le Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris. He made his USA debut conducting The Magic Flute in New York in 2007; he then toured South Africa with this production to critical acclaim. In 2010 he conducted the first performance of a staged baroque opera – Handel’s Semele - in China.

In 2011 he was joint winner of the USA Longfellow Chorus Cantata Composition competition and has worked on many other commissions.

As conductor of several English choirs and choruses, including Aylesbury Festival Choir for 6 years, Piers has conducted most of the choral and choral-symphonic repertoire. He is now Director of Music at Great Malvern Priory and Musical Director of Epson Chamber Choir.

Piers Maxim - President

David Aylett – Founder

David, an architect by profession, founded the choir in 1958 as an informal group giving concerts of carols and Christmas music. This soon grew into a permanent choir originally named the December Festival Choir which he conducted for 27 years. He then sang in the tenor section until 2009 and continued to organise and conduct our carol concerts for many years.

He was Music Adviser to Aylesbury Vale District Council and organised and conducted a regular series of Music for Everyone concerts, combining choral and orchestral works. In 1975 he organised and conducted a performance of Handel’s Messiah to mark the opening of Aylesbury Civic Centre. In 2004 in recognition of his services to amateur music for over 50 years, Making Music gave him the national Lady Hilary Groves Award.

David composed choral and orchestral music and in November 2008 the Aylesbury Festival choir premiered With Voice Divine, a work for choir, soloists and orchestra which David composed to celebrate our 50th anniversary season. You can hear an extract on this web site.

Sadly David passed away in September 2014.

David Aylett - Founder

Thelma King - Accompanist

Thelma has accompanied Aylesbury Festival Choir for many years.

She was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and became the official accompanist for Leamington Male Voice Choir and Warwick and Kenilworth Choral Society while still at school. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music and moved to Buckinghamshire where she taught for twenty years in Chesham. Thelma is now a full-time accompanist living in Aylesbury.

Since coming to the county Thelma has played for Princes Risborough Music Society, Marlow Choral Society, Chesham Musical Theatre Company, Halton Singers, Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir, Wycombe Orpheus Male Voice Choir and many festivals and master classes.

Thelma King - Accompanist
..... and of course Our Members!
Aylesbury Festival Choir in rehearsal
Aylesbury Festival Choir in rehearsal