Members Calendar - 2023/2024
of new Term - Subscriptions due.
St Benedict Biscop Church, Wombourne - 7.30pm
2.00pm to 4.30pm approx.
| SATURDAY 16th December
Beckminster Methodist Church - 7.30pm
2.00pm to 4.30pm approx.
| MONDAY 8th January 2024
Term starts - Subscriptions due.
| SATURDAY 23rd March 2024
CONCERT - Bach Mass in B Minor
St John's in
the Square, Wolverhampton - 7.30pm
Afternoon Rehearsal 2.00pm to 4.30pm approx.
| Date to be announced
Date and Venue to be announced.
now rehearse every Monday evening in term time at Springdale
Methodist Church, Warstones Road, Penn, Wolverhampton WV4 4LF
from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
to find our rehearsal venue...
is taken by our Musical Director, Edd Caine and the accompanist is (to be announced).
are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir.
For more information, contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen
Brown at email@example.com or on 01902 892391.
One the choir's long term members, Ann Hawkins, died peacefully
in her sleep at the Cedars Nursing Home in Albrighton on Monday
2nd January 2023, at the grand old age of 102.
Amazingly, Ann joined
the WDCS choir back in 1969 and was a member for over sixty years,
only ceasing to attend weekly rehearsals when she was unable
to do so around the time she celebrated her 100th birthday back
on Thursday 20th October 2020 - more information >>
be a Thanksgiving Service at 1.30pm on Wednesday February 8th
2023 at St Chad's Church, Patshull Road, Pattingham WV6 7BQ.
After the Service,
there will be light refreshments at Pattingham Club, High Street,
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our
choir member and dear friend Sheila Jones.
She had been a member
of Wombourne and District Choral Society since 1979 and played
a very active part in the running and support of the choir, being
a Committee Member and also helping to raise over £6000
by selling her greetings cards at rehearsals to choir members
over a period of many years.
She had suffered
ill health for some time and had spent the last seven weeks in
New Cross Hospital.
Her funeral will
take place on Wednesday 9th November 2022. There will be a service
at the Crematorium at 1.30pm for family and close friends, followed
by a service at 2.45pm in the Methodist Church in Histons Hill,
Codsall. The choir have been asked to sing at the church service.
Classic FM Request...
As part on the many celebrations for Ann's special birthday,
our Chairman, Henry, contacted Bill Turnbull, presenter of a
request programme on Classic FM and asked if part of the Verdi
Requiem could be played to celebrate Ann's birthday.
The result can be heard in the following recording >> Click
|Ann Hawkins meets her goal on
Ann Hawkins, a member of WDCS Choir since 1969 reached her 100th
birthday on Thursday 20th October 2020. Robbed of any alternative
means of celebrating Anns wonderful achievement, eight
members of WDCS ( Eileen, MIke Coope, Mike Hayward, Denis Beaumont,
Gil Sadler, Mary Hayward, Jill Mason, Liz and myself ) joined
by three close friends from Pattingham, gathered to form a fully
Covid Compliant Choir in front of Anns house at 10.00h
on the morning of her Birthday.
Our good friend and highly talented musician John Fellows ( many
of you may know him, as he has lead choirs and directed musical
activities in and around Pattingham for many decades! ) was at
the keyboard leading us in his own arrangements of Happy
Birthday and a specially written arrangement of
Congratulations & Jubilations, adapted to reflect many
of Anns lifetime passions and activities.
She knew nothing about this in advance and was clearly overwhelmed
and delighted, ( she was expecting a disappointingly low-key
Birthday due to all the pandemic restrictions ), especially with
the huge bouquet of flowers we presented to her on behalf of
you all, and, of course, since she still enjoys her tipples,
the champagne and single-malt whisky which accompanied it - oh
and a splendid iced fruit cake, made by the Lychgate Pattingham
village cafe owner, the candles on which, configured as the number
100, she almost completely extinguished as we gave her three
She is a truly remarkable lady... We give her our heartiest congratulations
on achieving her Century in such good health and God willing,
may we all be privileged to share still more milestone Birthdays
with her. She asked me to send her warmest thanks and very best
wishes to you all.
|WDCS and village members, all socially distanced,
prepare to sing Happy Birthday to Ann...
|WDCS Chairman, Henry, presents Ann with
a large bouquet of flowers from the choir...
|Ann starts to blow out the 100 candles on
the special Birthday cake. She made it !
|A specially designed card containing the
John Fellows music is given to Ann by Mike...
who wrote the special piece for Ann's birthday and also accompanied
the small choir when they performed it in front of her house.
Anniversary Song... 100 today!' by John Fellows...
A hundreth birthday's something special certainly,
It gives us pleasure to sing this measure,
And pay our tributes with this well-known melody.
The notes are there, - we cannot guarantee their order!
Our song is 'off-the-cuff' we couldn't quite afford the...
WOMBOURNE CHORAL to achieve that near perfection,
But it's the thought that counts, we sing with great affection
CONGRATULATIONS, and CELEBRATIONS,
Dear Ann's a hundred so we mark it tunefully,
So let's get swinging, and let's get singing,
and celebrate with this top hundred melody!
You may have packed away the tennis shorts and racquet,
You may have ditched the car and stored that hiking jacket,
You may have picked last grapes that gave such satisfaction,
We wonder what comes next that'll stir you into action?
CONGRATULATIONS, and CELEBRATIONS,
Dear Ann's a hundred so we mark it tunefully,
So let's get swinging, and let's get singing,
AND CELEBRATE YOUR 100th ANNIVERSARY!
NOW the video
Although still photography is his forte, David Coxsell of In-Depth
Photos in Pattingham agreed to video Ann's celebration event,
for which we thank him. In order to avoid possible music copyright
conflicts, we regret that we have had to remove some of the musical
content of the video. Click here >>
Memoriam Janet Heaton
As you all know, very sadly we lost Janet on 15th October. Some
of you may have been able to see her funeral service on the live
web-cam from Bushbury Crematorium on Tuesday 17th November. The
celebrant specifically mentioned in her address the familys
gratitude for the support of her fellow volunteers at Wightwick
Manor and all her friends in Wombourne Choral Society, where
she had been a valued member and staunch supporter, along with
her late husband Paul, for well over 45 years. With her familys
blessing we reproduce here extracts from this address.
Janet was born on 14th March 1933 in Letchworth, where she lived
with her mother Doris and father Robert Wray, a cabinet maker
destined to become a Director of his firm, being joined a little
later by her brother John. Following her formative education
at St Christophers School, she trained as an Occupational Therapist,
gaining her Diploma from her Association in 1953, aged just 20.
Love soon followed when she met Paul, who was then working in
Ipswich as an Optician, and courtship and planning happily lead
to their wedding in Letchworth on 30th March 1957. By this time
Paul was working in Birmingham, which is where they made their
first home, but he was soon attracted by Gordon Flint, Opticians
in Wolverhampton, where a new fulfilling career beckoned, so
the young couple moved to Green Acres, Tettenhall, where they
were to remain for over 60 years.
Fun and adventure started here and as their family grew, first
with John, later to be followed with the arrival of Philippa
and Rob, weekend sailing at Chelmarsh became a regular and much-loved
family activity, supplemented by regular and varied dog walks
with their series of King Charles spaniels. Though holidays abroad
eventually featured in their plans, the early Camper Van holidays
in Wales are always fondly remembered, but wherever they went
was never far from water!
As the children left the nest, Janets other activities
blossomed; becoming a very active Secretary of Wolverhampton
Ramblers Club; walking with friends the Pilgrimage route to Santiago
de Compostela, a magnificent total of 500 miles completed in
two legs in successive years; tennis and badminton at Newbridge;
and with Paul, treading the boards at Tettenhall Operatic, and
of course their joint membership of Wombourne Choral Society.
Fascinated with wildlife, Janet was an active member of RSPB,
regularly enjoying bird-watching trips out with Philippa, and
she also harvested grapes at Halfpenny Green, relishing the receipt
of bottles of amber liquid in lieu of payment! A proud moment
too, with the award of a long-service medal from the RVS for
her work as a volunteer at New Cross Hospital, running their
teashop. Janet was also a volunteer at Wightwick Manor, helping
to preserve a part of Wolverhamptons historical legacy.
When she sadly lost Paul in 2016, with the family fully behind
her, she continued with these activities which helped her to
come to terms with life without him. Janet will be fondly remembered
as a special someone who made a difference in whatever activity
she undertook. But more than that, it was the warmth, love and
kindness she radiated with whomsoever she met which marked her
out as a truly remarkable lady, and as someone who will be sorely
missed by her loving family and by us all.
Henry - 7th
We have heard today, the sad news that John Bolus, a long serving
Tenor in our choir has passed away.
Choir members will probably remember the picture which John painted
of Brewood Parish Church. We presented two paintings to our French
friends Chantemoy of the churches in which we had
our joint concerts, when they visited us in 2005.
Apart from his sterling work with the usually small group of
tenors, John has also for many years organised the practice disks
and downloads for the individual parts of the music which we
perform. This has been an enormous help in preparing the choir
for the concerts.
Condolences and very best wishes to Johns family at this
very sad time.
Mary Brown RIP - 12th
As you all know, after more than 18 months quietly and courageously
battling her illness, Mary very sadly lost her fight with cancer,
thankfully with three of her children at her bedside, having
spent her last days in Compton Care. Her youngest son Adrian
delivered the address at her funeral on 10th September, extracts
from which the family are happy for us to reproduce here.
Born 12th June 1935 in West Bromwich (though she ultimately became
a Wolves fan!), Mary was brought up in the village
of Great Barr by her parents Doris and Charles Vowles, owner
of Vowles Aluminium Foundry in West Bromwich. Aged 11 in 1946
she went to Adcote School near Shrewsbury, where politeness,
manners and smart appearance were core values which, as
we all know, she took to heart, always immaculately dressed and,
as Adrian says, never a curse did she utter nor ever a
pair of jeans did she wear!
Mary went on to study piano and singing at Birmingham School
of Music. It was at this time, through his sister, who was a
close friend and fellow student, that she met Neville. It was
love at first sight and their marriage on 28th December 1957
was to last 51 years. She became mother to four children, all
of whom adored her and recall a wonderfully happy family life,
enhanced by Marys fantastic cooking, her memorable desserts
perhaps being influenced by her own sweet tooth, coupled with
her life-long relationship with chocolate!
Mary and Neville would travel together when his academic profession
required trips abroad and there were many happy family holidays
in the UK and especially in France, with gourmet picnics around
the back of the family Peugeot. When Neville died suddenly in
2008, though greatly saddened, Mary became determined to make
the most of her remaining life, as a sponsor and regular attender
at CBSO concerts in Symphony Hall, theatre breaks several times
a year to London - and of course through her love of singing.
This last passion brought her to WDCS in 1995, where she remained
a loyal and much-loved member until her illness in 2018 began
to keep her away from us.
Mary faced her illness with courage and determination and, though
restricted, post diagnosis she enjoyed 18 months of blessed remission
until her rapid decline this summer. She leaves many happy memories
with us all, but especially with her four children and nine grandchildren,
all of whom were proudly able to be at her funeral.
Mary will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by us all.
of Wombourne Choral Society for many years, Cedric recently passed
away and his funeral was held at St Bart's Church, Penn where
he was a chorister.
The church choir together with members of Wombourne Choral Society
sang during the service of dedication, including John Rutter's
'The Lord bless you and keep you' and two pieces from Faure's
Cedric excelled at detailed wood work and several of the items
he had made were on show in the church. The following images
give an insight as to his amazing talent in the art.
Marijke Holden 1944-2019
Born and educated in Holland and already something of a linguist,
Marijke first came to England and Wolverhampton as an au-pair,
and after settling and gaining friends in the area, in due course
met David, a young dentist establishing his own practice. They
married in 1968, and she quickly became involved in the running
and organization of his practice, eventually training others
to succeed her.
Away from the practice, she was quick to develop other activities
to which she committed herself with passion and enthusiasm. These
included local politics and the magistracy, local and national
charitable institutions and especially the Arts, where for many
years she championed and eventually chaired the Codsall Arts
Like her Mother, she enjoyed singing and for over 11 years she
was a warm-hearted and generous member of our Choral Society,
relishing to the full, the joy of our concert performances.
She faced her illness with characteristic courage and determination
to carry on with as much of her regular activity as she possibly
could, coming to rehearsals and concerts even when she was clearly
very unwell. She is sorely missed but will always be remembered
with warmth and affection for her generous and life-loving spirit.
Fairclough is ordained as a Deacon at Lichfield Cathedral on
26th September 2020...
from Liverpool, Valerie now calls Wolverhampton home and is a
member of WDCS singing in the sopranos. She lives with her husband
Stephen, two dogs and a cat. Valerie has two grown up daughters
and three granddaughters. She worked as a teacher, mainly in
Further Education, for many years; this was her vocation for
her adult working life. Valerie first felt a calling to be a
priest as a teenager, but women were not allowed to be priests
back then. So she waited.
During her years of teaching, she learnt what it is to walk alongside
those who dont have an easy life; she learnt to have a
listening ear and empathy. Valerie learnt to respect and love
those who are marginalised and oppressed. This was time not wasted.
A few years before retirement, Valerie felt Gods call again
and became a Reader but it was not enough. God called her on.
Valerie thought she was too old, but remembered Sarah who laughed
when God told her she would be the mother of Gods people.
Valerie finally accepted Gods will for her. Valerie has
learnt that God loves us and can call us into service at any
age. Her advice for those exploring Gods call - do not
be afraid if you are called later in your life; be open to all
possibilities, with prayer.
Valerie will serve her title in the Central Wolverhampton team
with Revd Ray Gaston.
To see the full
service on video, follow the facebook
, jumping the first 13 minutes of test screen...
Cutting from the Express & Star
plus Shropshire Star - 17th July 2019
Web page from the Express & Star
plus Shropshire Star - 5th July 2019
As well as being a publicity tool, this website, particularly
the MEMBERS page, is for use by Choir Members. So if you wish
to place a relevant notice, an article with images or any other
information that will be interest to fellow members, please talk
with Mike Coope or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
previous Musical Director...
Meet our Musical
An interview with Ian Clarke
did your interest in music start, and did you prefer playing
I learned the piano from around 7, but I suppose crucial for
me was joining the choir of St Matthew's Church in Northampton,
and coming under the influence and tuition of successive Directors
of Music there, Michael Nicholas and Stephen Cleobury: I always
enjoyed both playing and singing, but I used to get very nervous
of singing solos!
have directed a whole range of musical groups ? do you have a
favourite, or at least a favourite style?
I usually say that my favourite music is that which I'm rehearsing
at the time. I love and respond to the serenity and depth of
renaissance choral music, the clarity of expression of Mozart
and Haydn, the emotional intensity of Beethoven and Brahms, Verdi,
Strauss and Mahler, the Englishness of Vaughan Williams, the
vibrancy of Stravinsky, the artistry and commitment of such composers
as Britten and Tippett - the list is endless - but if I had to
plump for a composer I couldn't do without, it would have to
be J. S. Bach, for his amazing range, his spirituality, his universality.
One of my earliest profound concert memories was a performance
of the St Matthew Passion: I will never forget my feelings on
hearing for the first time the phrase uttered by the centurion
and those around him 'Truly this was the Son of God'.
do you consider will be the particular challenges of directing
Maintaining the high standards exemplified by your previous Directors,
and perhaps helping the choir to expand its vocal and stylistic
range so that different repertoires are tackled in a variety
of styles. I should also like the choir to be able on occasions
to sing some repertoire from memory: to dispense with the copy
can be very liberating!
you auditioned for the post of MD, you chose an arrangement of
a nursery rhyme in the round for the warm-up, which could be
seen as significant since we hope to recruit younger members!
What would you say to persuade young adults to have a go at choral
Just try it, because so many people have reaped great and unexpected
benefits. Being in a choir is fun, physically and spiritually
engaging, good exercise for mind and body, a great way to socialise
and meet a whole mix of people, an enjoyable and rewarding way
of contributing to and being part of the local community.
would be your perfect concert: location, artists, programme?
Impossible question to answer, as music is not a perfect art:
we strive continuously, and if as a group of musicians we get
somewhere close to achieving a real communication of the spirit
behind the music to an audience, then we can be satisfied.
do you like to spend your (presumably limited) spare time?
Walking, especially on Scottish mountains (Slioch was particularly
fine last summer). Family time, making the most of daughters
Lucy and Amy while they're still at home. Golf, though I have
the rather high handicap of not being very good. Bridge. Reading.
Armchair cricket and rugby, especially Ashes-winning series,
Grand-slam seasons and World Cup success.
have already been involved in both 'legs' of our French exchange.
Could you comment on the value of this, both musically and socially,
and do you have a view on future developments?
A valuable and enjoyable cultural exchange, and one I'd like
to see develop with perhaps the focus of a more substantial work
in which both choirs could participate, in addition to more informal
(and some memorised?!) repertoire.
there anything that you would like WDCS to achieve within, say,
Only in general terms, to continue to foster good relations with
the local community, perhaps to forge links with schools and
youth groups to encourage younger singers to join the 'Senior'
choir at a later stage.
you got diverted to a desert island on your way to Wolverhampton,
what would you choose as your favourite piece of music, book
and luxury item?
Bach (not surprisingly), probably Mass in B minor.
Assuming I've got the complete works of Shakespeare, I'd see
if I was allowed a bound edition of the 12 books of Anthony Powell's
'Dance to the music of time', to divert, to amuse, and to remind
me of how beautifully more modern English can be written: failing
that, maybe 'Possession' by A. S. Byatt, which I've been meaning
to re-read, or 'Earthly Powers' by Anthony Burgess, both extraordinary
and profoundly affecting novels.
For my luxury, I think I'd have to have a set of golf clubs and
inexhaustible supply of balls: not only would I win all my games
- I'd never again be daunted by playing out of the sand!
comments on The St Matthew Passion
Good day, choir.
Well, what a beautiful day yesterday, perfect weather (which
I barely experienced!), but the beauty extending into the quality
of singing in the performance last night. The melodies have been
ringing round my head continuously since, and I find myself almost
conversing in recitative style!
work! One I've always wanted to conduct, and it was a privilege
to perform it, and with such a wonderful mixture of forces. A
great orchestra, with lovely solo players, an excellent continuo
section, fabulous soloists, headed by the fantastic evangelist,
and of course, Piran Legge, whose voice is such a treat.
of such importance is the choral part, those wonderful framing
choruses setting the context, and then choirs playing the part
of the groups in the dramatic narration.
You did so well, and gave a vivid account, committed, dramatic,
both soulful and spiritual, I couldn't have asked for more, and
the evening will live long in my memory.
you so much for your part in making the evening such a success,
and thanks too to John and Mike for their part in helping the
narration come alive.
wonderful Easter, everybody, and I look forward to seeing you
next term, after a couple of weeks off!
10th April 2017
to use the Wombourne Choral Society Facebook...
image opposite for more information >>
As part of our future planning, we have linked with an organization
now being used by charities up and down the country, including
Music Societies and Choirs, called easyfundraising.org.uk. Simply
put, this is a Discount Club, supported by all the major stores
and retailers, whereby anybody wishing to purchase anything on-line
can click through a link to easyfundraising.org.uk, then proceed
to the retailer or company of their choice. That retailer/ company/service
provider recognizes our link with the scheme and will then make
a donation to our cause, a small percentage of the cost of the
product or service purchased its that simple and
at no cost whatsoever to us!
Please have a look for yourselves our WDCS cause page
Just click on this link, then go to See how it works
where there is more explanation and a short video. Visit Browse
Retailers to see the ever-growing list of companies supporting
the scheme, which has so far raised nearly £12m for charities
in the UK.
All of us, our family and friends and anyone we know, just by
simply clicking a link and then buying what we/they want in the
normal way, can be raising extra funds for the Choir. Who wouldnt
want to do it?
Give it a go and let Eileen or Henry know what you think,
or if you are having any difficulty!
can now use easyfundraising when making Amazon purchases.
Amazon have changed their system regarding easyfundraising and
Wombourne Choral Society is now registered with this service.
Please see below
how you can make it work for you; go onto:- https://smile.amazon.co.uk/
the Search box at the top, it says, Supporting
XXXXXXX with a tiny arrow at the end. Click on the little
arrow. It will bring up, XXXXXXXX Change. Click on
change, a number of charities will be listed, but WDCS is not
Go onto the box,
Pick your own charitable organisation and type in,
Wombourne & District Choral Society, IN FULL,
NOT WDCS. Search & then Select.
You only need to
do this once... for future purchases, by going on to https://smile.amazon.co.uk/.
it will show you as a supporter. It couldn't be easier...
members are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir. Rehearsals are held
on Monday evenings, 7.30 to 9.30pm during term time at Smestow
School, Windmill Crescent, Wolverhampton, WV3 8HU. For more information,
contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen Brown on 01902 892391
or at email@example.com, or just turn up at
one of our Monday rehearsals.