The Manchester Chorale was founded and funded by the BBC in 1979, but since the late 1980s has been totally independent. It has always aimed to achieve high standards, reflected in competition successes at Sligo, Worcester and Bangor (NI); and it has become one of the best-known names in the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Competition, with regular televised appearances in the final stages of the competition.
In addition to Choir of the Year, over the years the Chorale has made a number of other diverse television appearances. These include providing a chorus of Elvis Presley songs for a Granada TV game show and a church choir for an episode of the BBC's comedy Common as Muck. In 2001 it was the chosen choir for a special edition of BBC1's Songs of Praise, and in 2003 the Chorale was invited to sing Mozart's Coronation Mass in Faro, Portugal as the guests of the Orquestra do Algarve. Other highlights include tours to Norway, France and Germany, and performances supporting Wilhelmena Fernandez and José Carreras; but for many members the most memorable performance of all came in September 1995 at the (then new) Manchester Arena in front of 15,000 people, supporting Luciano Pavarotti.
Jill Henderson-Wild was appointed Musical Director of the Chorale in 2006.