Dr Edward Caine - WDCS Musical Director DR. EDWARD CAINE
Our Musical Director
Edward Caine was brought up in the North-East of Scotland.

He obtained a BA (Hons) in Music at Durham University and went on to study for a Masters and PhD in Musical Composition at the University of York.

During his time in education Edward was awarded by being an SPNM (now Sound and Music) Shortlist Composer, the University of York Jack Lyons Research Celebration Award, as well as being given high profile opportunities with the Cheltenham Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Musical Festival and Nieuw Ensemble and Opera North Orchestral and Vocal Collaboration Workshops.

His music has been performed by professional contemporary musicians across the UK, Denmark and Holland.

Alongside his compositional work, Edd has pursued a diverse musical portfolio career as Pianist, Conductor, Teacher, Typsetter and Research Assistant and after completing his PhD in 2012, he moved to the West Midlands to pursue work in and around Birmingham.

Since moving to the area he has been working as Research Assistant to Ex Cathedra Artistic Director Jeffrey Skidmore, as Peripatetic Piano Teacher to Winterfold House and RGS The Grange schools, as Accompanist, Musical Director and Pit Musician to a number of choirs and musical theatre societies in the West Midlands and most recently as Musical Director for Wombourne and District Choral Society.

Richard Devney Introducing : RICHARD DEVNEY - Our NEW Chair (2023)

Richard joined the Wombourne & District Choral Society back in 2013, when he became a member of the second basses,

He is a retired primary school Headteacher, teaching mainly in schools in the locality. So keen is Richard that he is having private singing lessons from Brenda Arnold.

He enjoys a wide variety of music and is frequently seen in the audience at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and other concert venues.


Jonathan was born in Solihull, England in 1977. In 1996 he was appointed organ scholar at Trinity College, Oxford, where he studied under Thomas Trotter. He graduated with an MA in music from Oxford in 2001 and was appointed Head of Organ Studies at Eltham College, London before reading for an AMusD at Nottingham University.

He has played extensively throughout the UK and Europe as a solo organist and pianist at venues as diverse as Westminster Abbey, Notre Dame Paris and notable concert venues such as Symphony Hall Birmingham and The Barbican Centre, London.

He has performed a range of concerti including Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Prague Chamber Orchestra and Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto ‘Emperor’ with the Manchester Camerata. In 2015 he performed all of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti on tour in Berlin and Vienna with the New London Baroque Soloists.In 2017, he was the guest organist with the National Orchestra of Sri Lanka in Colombo for the international Church’s One Foundation Festival. He has made several appearances on the BBC’s Songs of Praise and has been featured playing piano on The Archers, twice!

Jonathan has been a lecturer and repetiteur at Birmingham Conservatoire and School of Acting since 2018.

Rehearsal Accompanists:
Jonathan Clarke - (Chris Corcoran, Heather Howell, Callum Alger, Phil Ypres-Smith)

Committee Members...
xChair: Richard Devney * - Tel: 01902 829354 - Mob: 07504 775982
 Vice Chair: Denis Beaumont *
 Treasurer: Richard Finlinson **
 Secretary: Eileen Brown * (including Membership)
Friends Membership Secretary Carole Boys *
 Fund Raising: Henry Ibberson * (Previous Chairman - 2014 to 2023)
 Orchestra Liason Officer: Stella Hurd *
 Music Library Administration: Candy Woods * & Stephanie Sherwood * - (Archived Music : Claire Lakkha)
 Section Reps: Jean Posnett (Soprano) - Carole Boys (Alto)
Neil Stockall (Tenor) - Denis Beaumont (Bass)
 Stage Manager: Neil Stockall *
* denotes Voting Member & Trustee - ** denotes Honorary Member
(Carol Dixon * - not currently a Committee Member but willing to remain a Trustee)
Management Committee Authorised Signatories:
Richard Devney * (Chairman) - Richard Finlinson ** (Treasurer) - Eileen Brown * (Secretary
Other Members (Non-Voting)...
 Musical Director (Ex Offico):  Edd Caine
 Publicity & Programme Design:  Mike Coope - Tel: 01902 700426
 Ex Officio: Chorus Master & Conductor, Accompanist, & Deputy Chorus Master
 Orchestra & Soloist Administration  Sally Minchin
 Ticket Sales:  Richard Finlinson **

Wombourne & District Choral Society is a registered charity No: 1067808
Wombourne & District Choral Society is pleased to be part of the 'Making Music' community.

We celebrate 90 years...
Formed back in 1929, the WDCS Choir celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2019... quite an achievement! To celebrate this event, the choir performed three concerts during the year.

Where we rehearse...
We now rehearse every Monday evening in term time at Springdale Methodist Church, Warstones Road, Penn, Wolverhampton WV4 4LF from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
How to find our rehearsal venue...

The rehearsal is taken by our Musical Director, Edd Caine and the accompanist is (to be announced).

New members are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir.
For more information, contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen Brown at
eileenbrown31@talktalk.net or on 01902 892391. more >>

Join our new Youth Choir !
It’s all about singing… and at 93 years old, Wombourne & District Choral Society (WDCS) is still going strong – because singing is so good for you!

But to remain strong and to ensure that we’re here for another 90 years, we are starting Wombourne Youth Choir. So if you like singing, or even if you haven’t sung before but you would like to give it a go, and you’re somewhere between 13 and 21, then this is for you!

Weekly rehearsals will start in September on Mondays during term-time from 6.00pm to 7.00pm at Springdale Methodist Church, Warstones Road, Penn, Wolverhampton WV4 4LF.

Lead by Musical Director, Edd Caine, rehearsals will always be fun, giving opportunities for members to sing large scale choral works with experienced singers and a full orchestra, gaining experience in choral singing, supporting language learning by singing in different languages, gaining confidence singing in front of an audience, expanding your choral repertoire and learning about composers old and new.

Open to anyone who wants to take part and develop their interest in singing, there will no audition and it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done any singing before ( though if you have, that would be great! ). There will be no entrance or membership fee initially as full support is coming from WDCS but there may be a membership subscription at a later date once the Youth Choir is firmly established, in order to cover rehearsal room hire, concert and other expenses.

So what are you waiting for?
For further information or to enrol please contact Henry Ibberson on 07775 680705, email:
ibberson@uwclub.net or Eileen Brown on 01902 892391, email: eileenbrown31@talktalk.net or send us a message via our web-site www.wombournechoralsociety.org

Go on give it a go! We can’t wait to hear from you!

John Rutter CBE - Patron of Wombourne Choral Society 

John Rutter

John Rutter
John Rutter CBE - Composer (Patron of our choir)
John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.

His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers.

His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have been performed many times in Britain, North America, and a growing number of other countries. He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).

From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.

He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia. In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.

He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music.

(WDCS - John visited Wombourne Choral Society in 2009 and conducted the weekly rehearsal.)

The History of our choir...

Musical Directors through the years:

Harry England: 1929 - 1942

Patricia Groves: 1942 - 1958

Dennis Powell: 1958 - 1993

David Parkes: 1993 - 2006

Ian Clarke: 2006 - 2021

Dr. Edward Caine: 2021 -

History of Wombourne & District Choral Society

The choir, originally called the Wombourne Choral Society, was founded in 1929 by Harry England. Formerly a professional baritone, he had been headmaster of Enville School near Kinver, and organist of Enville Church. Following Harry’s death in 1942 in his late eighties, Miss Groves, head of music at the Technical High School, became the choir’s second conductor. She left the district in 1958 and was then succeeded by Dennis Powell who remained the conductor until 1993. (At some stage the original Wombourne Choral Society changed its name to Wombourne and District to reflect the fact that many of its members come from much further afield.)

The rehearsal venue was originally the Wesleyan Chapel, now the United Reformed Church, in Wombourne’s centre, where the first concert under Dennis Powell took place. The main work was Edward German’s ‘Merrie England’. Later the rehearsal venue moved to the Church School, Wombourne. It was decided that the choir should become an evening class, initially under Sedgley Evening Institute’s wing, but later under Staffordshire Education Committee. This lasted until the choir moved to Springdale Junior School, Wolverhampton, when we were adopted by Wolverhampton Education Committee. Several years later, independence was resumed.

Under Dennis Powells’ tenure, the choir developed to become essentially the choir it has become today. It accompanied the Wolverhampton Symphony Orchestra in many large scale works, including Vaughan-Williams’s ‘Sea Symphony’, Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ and ‘Music Makers’, Tippet’s ‘A Child Of Our Time’, Constant Lambert’s ‘Rio Grande’, JS Bach’s ‘St Matthew Passions’? and ‘B Minor Mass’ and Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Dennis also conducted the choir in a number of smaller works by less well known composers, such as Moeran, Finzi and Poulenc.

When Dennis Powell retired in 1993, David Parkes became the fourth conductor and the choir continued to go from strength to strength. Well-established favourites were mixed with challenges such as Honegger’s ‘Christmas Cantata?’ There were ambitious large-scale performances, notably the Verdi ‘Requiem’ and Elgar’s ‘Dream of Gerontius’ both in Wolverhampton Civic Hall, the latter with Paul Nilon as an overwhelming Gerontius, Brahms’s ‘A German Requiem’ in Dudley Town Hall with Denise Leigh as soloist. Summer concerts became well-established, giving us opportunities to explore a lighter repertoire including virtual excursions to Broadway.David also led us on a real excursion to France in 2003, starting a fascinating musical and social association with Chantemoy choir from Orléans. This was followed by a return visit from Chantemoy in 2005. Our choir made a second visit to the Loire Valley in 2007 and Chantemoy returned to Wolverhampton in 2010.

In 2006, David reluctantly took his leave of us, and was succeeded by Ian Clarke, already well known to the choir for his splendid organ and continuo playing in several of our concerts. Under Ian’s direction, the choir continues to develop its repertoire and skills, with performances of steadily increasing scale and musical quality. Membership currently stands at around 100 singers. Those interested in joining may be attracted by the policy of “no auditions”. The mix of old and new continues. Vaughan-Williams makes a welcome return in his centenary year.
The choir has frequently used local solo singers, including the baritone John Oxley who is a member of the choir. Other soloists are often drawn from past and present students of the Guildhall School of Music and we have over the years been fortunate enough to sing with young soloists who have later progressed to establish themselves as major performers on the concert stage. The choir has been accompanied over the years by a number of smaller orchestral groups, including most recently Chameleon Arts and the Orchestra da Chiesa. We have also been very fortunate in the pianists who have accompanied us both at rehearsals and performances. Anthea Podmore, our accompanist of very long standing, retired in 2006 and we were very pleased that the equally brilliant Beryl Beech was willing to join us.

Since 2006, under Ian’s meticulous guidance there has been an amazing musical journey, taking in performances of some of the most famous and much-loved choral classics, documented elsewhere and on the web-site, as well as lighter pieces, generally for our Summer Concert programmes. Beryl has been such a delightful, sensitive, hard-working and talented accompanist for over twelve years, that it was hard in 2018 for the Choir to accept her decision to retire, though happily remaining with us as a strong soprano. We were lucky indeed to be able to welcome Tony Bridgewater to follow on from her, bringing with him a wealth of experience, not just as an accompanist but also as a composer and performer, as well as willingly deputizing as MD from time to time.

Our new rehearsal home at Wombourne High School, back in Wombourne, together with our growing links with Wolverhampton Grammar School both form part of our development planning to ensure the Choir continues its high standard of music making for decades to come. As we celebrate our 90th year, we look forward to welcoming new members of all ages and to bringing our brand of music-making to an ever wider audience.

[This article has been condensed by Anthony Rathbone in 2008 from articles written in April 2000 by Dennis Powell, the choir's former conductor and by Giles Job, our archivist and member of the bass section, and recently updated (July 2019) by our then Chairman, Henry Ibberson.]

Our MD Ian Clarke IAN CLARKE
Retired Musical Director 2021
After studies in London and in Cambridge, as Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Ian returned to his native town of Northampton, a home base for a busy musical life. Having been Director of Music at the two famous musical churches in Northampton, All Saints’ and St Matthew’s, Ian now lives in the tiny village of Old, from where he pursues an active freelance career.

In addition to teaching commitments at Kimbolton School, he conducts three choirs, including the Wombourne and District Choral Society and the highly-acclaimed chamber group, the Swarbrick Singers; he plays with several instrumental ensembles as solo harpsichordist and organist, including the London Harpsichord Ensemble, several times at the Bath Bach Festival, and previously at the Purcell Room and live on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ programme; and as principal harpsichordist, organist and compere of the City of Oxford Orchestra, with whom he has recorded several compact discs.

He tours the country with his cousin Catherine Flye in several successful shows celebrating the work of: Joyce Grenfell, ‘George ... Don’t Do That!’; Ivor Novello, ‘Forever Ivor’; and Noel Coward ‘An Amazing Party’.)

Now on the Panel of Examiners for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Ian’s musical work takes him far afield, and he has appeared on BBC radio and television, both as player and conductor.

TONY BRIDGEWATER - Our previous Accompanist
Tony was a student at the Birmingham School of Music and St John’s College, Cambridge, studying composition with Peter Tranchell and piano with Malcolm Wilson and Renee Reznek. He has also participated in piano workshops with Margaret Fingerhut, David Owen Norris and James Lisney, and conducting workshops with Rodney Winther, formerly of Cincinatti University.

He gives regular recitals as an accompanist to local musicians, especially the violinist Anna Downes in the Himley Duo, and appears frequently in the ‘Local and Live’ concert series in Stourbridge. In September 2016 he was also appointed Principal Accompanist for the Kidderminster Male Choir.

He has composed a wide range of music, including orchestral and choral music, pieces for concertband and smaller instrumental and vocal works, In November 2015, the pianist Margaret Fingerhut gave the first performance of his Concert Piece for piano and orchestra, and in March 2017 he conducted the premiere of a fifteen minute tone poem for orchestra ‘The Legend of the Tamar’. Later that year Paula Downes gave the first performances of his song cycle ‘The Other Side of a Mirror’.

Forthcoming premieres include his Suite for Oboe and Piano, and ‘Memories of Scotland; a Fantasy on Scottish Folk Songs’.His music for brass and wind instruments is published by Forton Music, including his Sonata for Flutes, first performed in 2015 by the National Flute Orchestra of which he is Musical Director and Conductor, his Trumpet Sonata, ‘Overture for a Festival’ for Concerband and the Suite for Oboe.


Helping to support our choir...
We are developing various initiatives in an effort better to secure the Choir’s financial future. More >>

Programme Advertising
We are now including advertisements in the programme, funded by local businesses who wish to express their support for our objectives. We extend our grateful thanks to them and ask that our audience support them wherever you can.
Moreover, if you know of other businesses who may wish to support us in this way, please contact Mike Coope, Publicity & External Communications Manager (01902 700426)

Friends of WDCS
New revised rates of £40 a year for an individual membership and £60 for a couple membership. We will show our appreciation by offering you several benefits including price reduction on some tickets, reserved seating, a free programme, an invitation to our social events, etc. To download a 'Friends' application form, please click here >>

Membership and Company Sponsorship
We are also in contact with local businesses with a view to making their employees aware of WDCS, to see if they might enjoy singing and inviting them initially to come along to our rehearsals. In common with Choral Societies throughout the land, we are always looking for keen new singers - if you yourself are interested, please do not hesitate to let us know!

Allied with this, we have embarked on a programme of Corporate Sponsorship, whereby we are offering local industrial, commercial and professional businesses the opportunity to participate, for certain defined benefits, in the funding of our concert activities, as well as the engagement of our orchestras and professional soloists. If you would like to find out more about this programme, or if you know of a business you feel might be interested in it, please contact Mike Coope or Henry Ibberson (contact details shown above).

Wombourne & District Choral Society is a registered charity No: 1067808

More >>
Join our choir

© Copyright CTP Design - February 2019