The choir was formed in 1986 by Roger Durston, County Music Advisor for East Sussex. It arose from considerations of how best to teach music in schools and how best to provide support for music teachers. In the East Sussex County Music Service, the approach was to establish a college of musician-teachers who would support not just music in schools, but also the sharing, learning and enjoying of music as a life-long pleasure and a source of well-being. Both an orchestra and choir were established comprising mostly music teachers and a few others. The choir was initially called the East Sussex Chorale. When the East Sussex Bach Festival was launched, the name was changed to the East Sussex Bach Choir. Since 1996 the choir has flourished under the baton of John Hancorn.
The first performance by the East Sussex Chorale was of Handel Messiah at Christmas in Brighton in 1986 followed by Bach St John Passion in Rye.
The choir has enjoyed a long relationship with The Baroque Collective (formerly the Sussex Baroque Players) led by Alison Bury.
From 1986 to the present date, the choir has performed over 100 concerts with 200 soloists and music by nearly 50 composers over the period of 36 years. The most frequently performed works are: Handel’s Messiah; Bach’s St John Passion; Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium and Vivaldi’s Gloria, performed 16, 8, 7 and 7 times respectively.
Size and prominence of composer’s name roughly indicative of frequency of performance by ESBC
Birth date of composers of major pieces performed by ESBC