CLARKE - Our Musical Director
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 Matthews, 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 3s In Tune programme;
and as principal harpsichordist, organist and compere of the
City of Oxford Orchestra, with whom he has recorded several compact
He tours the country with his cousin Catherine Flye in several
successful shows celebrating the work of: Joyce Grenfell, George
... Dont 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, Ians musical work takes him far
afield, and he has appeared on BBC radio and television, both
as player and conductor.
BRIDGEWATER - Accompanist
was a student at the Birmingham School of Music and St Johns
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.
His other interests include classic cars, art, gardening, films,
photography and family life with his wife Veronica and their
Henry's musical life started as a treble in the Church Hall of
the bombed-out St Mark's Church in Sheffield, coupled with attempts
as a pianist, which took a back seat when he met and married
Liz, a Graduate of the Royal Academy in London! Early childhood
visits with his parents to orchestral and choral concerts cemented
this love of music and singing, which lead to membership of Choral
Societies in Sheffield, Manchester and Cumbria, before settling
with WDCS on moving to the Midlands.
go back a couple of generations too, as both his and Liz's Grandmothers
sang together in the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and his Grandfather,
an accomplished organist, studied with Charles M Widor in Paris
in the 1890's. Letters from him and Jules Vierne, who dedicated
an organ piece to 'J W Ibberson', and a signed photograph are
still treasured family heirlooms.
his working life in the family cutlery business, Henry spent
most of his career in Sales & Marketing for the Steel, Foundry
and Aluminium Industries, interspersed with 5 years owning and
running with Liz, a Country House Hotel in the Yorkshire Dales.
They are both now enjoying retirement, out door pursuits with
a couple of lively dogs, amateur dramatics, concerts, music-making
wherever possible, and increasingly the rewards of grand-parenting.
His focus is
to ensure that WDCS continues to thrive and grow, by bringing
the joy of the highest possible standard of amateur choral music-making
to a wider and younger audience, reflected in the Society's links
both with Wombourne High School and Wolverhampton Grammar School
||Henry Ibberson - Tel: 01902 701136 -
Mob: 07775 680705 - Email: email@example.com
| Vice Chair:
||Eileen Brown (including Membership)
Liz Ibberson (Concerts)
Carole Boys (Friends of WDCS)
| Fund Raising & Social Events:
| Concert / Orchestra Manager:
||Annette Mann - Gill Sadler (Assistant)
| Section Reps:
||Jean Posnett (Soprano) - Carole Boys (Alto)
Neil Stockall (Tenor) - Denis Beaumont (Bass)
| Orchestra & Soloists Admin:
| Ticket Sales:
| Stage Manager:
|| Mike Hayward
| Publicity & Programme Design:
|| Mike Coope - Tel: 01902 700426 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
| Web Manager:
|| Mike Coope - Tel: 01902 700426 - Email: email@example.com
Wombourne & District Choral Society is a registered charity
Wombourne & District Choral Society is pleased to be part
of the 'Making Music' community.xxx
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.
rehearse every Monday evening in term time in the Theatre Room
at Wombourne High School in Ounsdale Road, Wombourne, Nr Wolverhampton
WV5 8BJ from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
is taken by our Musical Director, Ian Clarke and the accompanist is Tony Bridgewater on the Grand Piano.
are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir.
For more information, contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen
Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01902 892391.
Rutter CBE - Patron of Wombourne Choral Society
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 childrens operas, music for television, and specialist
writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and
the Kings 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 Queens 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.)
History of our choir...
through the years:
England: 1929 - 1942
Groves: 1942 - 1958
Powell: 1958 - 1993
Parkes: 1993 - 2006
Clarke: 2006 - present day
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 Harrys death in 1942 in his
late eighties, Miss Groves, head of music at the Technical High
School, became the choirs 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
The rehearsal venue was originally the Wesleyan Chapel, now the
United Reformed Church, in Wombournes centre, where the
first concert under Dennis Powell took place. The main work was
Edward Germans 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 Institutes 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-Williamss Sea Symphony, Elgars
Dream of Gerontius and Music Makers,
Tippets A Child Of Our Time, Constant Lamberts
Rio Grande, JS Bachs St Matthew Passions?
and B Minor Mass and Handels 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
Honeggers Christmas Cantata? There were ambitious
large-scale performances, notably the Verdi Requiem
and Elgars Dream of Gerontius both in Wolverhampton
Civic Hall, the latter with Paul Nilon as an overwhelming Gerontius,
Brahmss 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
Ians 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 Ians 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 present Chairman, Henry Ibberson.]
to support our choir...
We are developing various
initiatives in an effort better to secure the Choirs financial
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 either our Chairman Henry Ibberson
(01902 701136 - email@example.com)
or Mike Coope, Publicity & External Communications Manager
(01902 700426 - firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 >>
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
District Choral Society is a registered charity No: 1067808