Musical Director

Ian Akroyd
Our Musical Director

Ian began studying Choral Music Direction in 2007 whilst he was singing with Gay Abandon. He initially trained with the organisation Sing for Pleasure. After completing their advanced course in 2010 he continued his studies with the Association of British Choral Directors and the Royal Schools of Music, gaining an LRSM in Choral Direction in 2017. As well as leading Gay Abandon, Ian is Musical Director of the European Queer Choir and Musical Director of Cantabile, a chamber choir in Leeds. His work as a Choral Music Director includes arranging and composing music for choirs.

Ian works with energy, commitment and enthusiasm to ensure that his music-making is enjoyable, inclusive, respectful, rewarding and fun!

Ian sees his role as that of an enabler, helping singers to be the best they can be, so they can achieve things musically that they perhaps did not know they were capable of. He says;
“……singing is a very personal activity to which we bring every aspect of ourselves. Singing as part of a group that is accepting and supportive becomes a powerful and affirmative shared experience. This is why being a part of Gay Abandon is so special and rewarding. Music is my passion, working with a diverse group of singers is a privilege and sharing music with others is a joy.”


Jane Edwardson - Our founding Musical Director

Jane Edwardson was the Musical Director of Gay Abandon from 1997 to 2023. After moving to Leeds and finding no LGBT choir here (or anywhere else in the North of England), she decided to set one up herself!

Her first experience of conducting and arranging came about by accident whilst singing as a member of the Sheffield Socialist Choir. Jane studied choral arranging at Leeds College of Music, and produced many arrangements enjoyed by choirs around the UK and beyond. Her published arrangements can be viewed on Choir Community and Sheet Music Plus. She trained in choral conducting and music direction with Sing for Pleasure, and is noted for her ability and skill in establishing rapport with both singers and audiences. She is a recipient of the John Coates Memorial Baton and the Love Arts Festival Judges Choice Award.

As well as formerly conducting Gay Abandon, Jane used to be musical director of the lesbian a cappella group Deep C Divas, and in 2002 she conducted them in concert at the Sydney Opera House. 

Jane's final concert with Gay Abandon was on 15th July 2023, where she received the Proud Voices Lifetime Achievement Award, a testimonial to her exceptional contribution to LGBT choral music.

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