The Choir

 

 

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The Choir’s membership is currently around 50 and we have represented the town of Beverley at some of the Country’s most prestigious venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, London (on several occasions), Bridgewater Hall and the MEN Arena, Manchester, also the Royal Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.  We have also sung on several occasions in Beverley’s twin town of Lemgo, Germany.

We have performed at venues large and small from Hull, Beverley and Howden Minsters to many small though welcoming locations throughout the North of England and beyond, when considerable sums of money have been raised for worthy causes.

We support each year a specific charity, alternately the Chairman’s or the President’s Charity.  The charities for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been, respectively, the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Dove House Hospice trust, the RNLI and  Hornsea Inshore Rescue. The Chairman’s Charity for the choir year July 2017-July 2018 was the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and President Kate’s charity, 2018-2019, is again Dove House Hospice, a charity close to her heart.  We raised £1640 for “Hornsea Inshore Rescue” at a joint concert with Mansfield MVC in Toll Gavel and Chairman Terry Lynn’s charity for the year 2017-18 was the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, for which about £1200 was raised in a joint concert with “Riverside Brass”.

 Our Musicians

 

Our  Musical Director and Conductor is Liz Wilson.  She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, in 1975 and, having studied choral conducting with Elgar Howarth, one of the most conspicuous figures in modern English musical life, she thereafter taught music as well as performing as a soprano soloist in various operas, operettas and oratorios.

Between 1994 and 2006 Liz conducted the Hull Lydian Male Voice Choir, and has looked after Beverley for the last 17 years. She is also the MD of Driffield Male Voice Choir (Thursdays) as well as Beverley (Mondays).

You can look at, and listen to, Driffield Choir at:

www.driffieldmalevoicechoir.co.uk

Liz teaches singing and, as a fine soprano, sings solo and duet with the choir.

Click to the left of the 00:00  to hear Liz sing “O Holy Night” with the choir.

She has conducted massed male voice choirs on several occasions and recently conducted and directed the orchestra and cast in Beverley Musical Theatre’s very successful production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Hull’s New Theatre.

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Liz Wilson

 

We are blessed among choirs in having not  one but two highly-gifted Musical Directors.  Our Assistant Musical Director, Nigel Clarke,  leads us very enthusiastically at rehearsals and at concerts when Liz is not available.

Nigel studied Music and Applied Physics at the University of Surrey, which involved the professional recording of music, choral singing, piano-playing and conducting.   He then played violin and viola in an orchestra in Leeds and sang in the Leeds Festival Chorus.  Career demands (at  BBC Leeds) then necessitated a period in the musical wilderness which continued for almost 20 years!  It is our good fortune that by the time he felt able to return from it, he had moved to BBC Hull and settled in Beverley.

As well as conducting the choir, he also plays the organ for us.  Click to the left of the 00:00 to hear him play for the last verse of Morte Christe at a recent concert:

He also uses his technical skills to produce vocal recordings of all four parts of all of the songs in our repertoire to assist members in learning their songs.  We know of no other choir which enjoys this invaluable service.  Nigel is a fine baritone, often a soloist, and yet can also reach, more or less, the very highest tenor and lowest bass notes in his recordings!  Click to the left of the 00:00  to hear him singing all 4 parts in Mozart’s Ave Verum from one of these recordings:

 

Nigel Clarke

Nigel Clarke

 

Our musical accompanist, since July 2018, is Amy Butler.  Amy began her piano studies at the age of five. Her first teacher was Diana Bushby, under whose training she received the highest mark in the UK in her Grade 8 piano examination. She received a young musicians’ scholarship from Cottingham Recital Club and went on to train with the international concert pianist Martin Roscoe, subsequently being awarded the ABRSM Music Performance Diploma.

Amy studied for four years at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she won a choral scholarship. During this time she was involved in numerous university recitals, performing works ranging from Beethoven to Andrew Lloyd Webber.  She graduated with a first class degree.

Amy performs across the UK as an accompanist, soloist and ensemble pianist.

 

Our President

Kate Andrews took over as our President at the AGM in July 2017, having completed a very supportive two-year spell as Vice President (Veep).

The photo was taken during the handover  – explaining why she wears both badges of office!

Kate has led an interesting life, started her career as a trainee buyer in Harrods, then as assistant buyer of the ladies’ shoe department.  She returned to her native Yorkshire in 1967 on becoming engaged to Nick, one of our Baritones and a recent Choir Chairman.  
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She then ran an independent shoe shop and salon before opening a ladies dress shop, ” Kate of Holmfirth” (in, erm, Holmfirth) and then moving to Reedness near Goole.
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Next, she became Director and Company Secretary of two companies started by Nick, in which position she remained until they were sold in 2004.
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Not feeling ready for complete retirement she decided to convert an old outbuilding into a Holiday Cottage and has many other interests.
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She has a son and a married daughter.
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History of the Choir

 The Choir was formed in 1955 from members of the choir of  St.Nicholas’ Church, Beverley.   In that year the choir had about 24 singers, with Bob Carr, former organist and Choirmaster at St Nicholas’, as conductor. 

The Choir moved to Toll Gavel Church in 1972 and David Wilkinson was appointed conductor in 1982 on Bob’s death.  

The choir was in decline at this point, but a recruiting campaign raised numbers to about 35 by the mid 1980s (membership is currently 56).

In 1987, the Choir joined the “1000 Yorkshire Male Voices” concert at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research, and the choir’s desire to raise funds for charitable causes continues to the present day.  Details of our specifically Charity concerts since we started the practice five years ago can be seen above.

David Wilkinson retired as Conductor (Musical Director) in 1992, when he handed over to Ian Brocklesby, was appointed Honorary life member and  continued as a choir member until retiring in 2016. 

Liz Wilson took over in 2002 on Ian’s death and Nigel Clarke was later appointed Assistant Musical Director.  

We have recently re-introduced the post of vice-President, a position held currently ( since July 2017) by Paul Camm, a Patron and extremely loyal supporter of the choir, having taken over from our current President, Kate Andrews.  Historically, the President was the Beverley Town Mayor, but this practice has been discontinued in recent years.

More of our more recent history can be seen by moving to the “Choir News” page.

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