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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 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. President Andrew Eastwood’s chosen charity for the choir year July 2016-July 2017 is “Hornsea Inshore Rescue”, to raise funds for which we staged a joint concert with Mansfield MVC in Toll Gavel on Friday 2 June 2017. The event raised more than £1600 for HIR.
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:
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.
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:
Emily Blackledge became our Musical Accompanist only in July 2017. She is an accomplished and highly qualified violinist, violist, singer, pianist and teacher who also arranges and composes. She also sings beautifully and is a lot of fun, and we are delighted that she has now joined our choir.
See Emily’s website at: www.ebmusician.co.uk
Liz, Nigel and Emily are all multi-talented yet very understanding, patient and forgiving – they need to be!
Born in Manchester, Andrew Eastwood trained as a teacher at St John’s College in York and taught history and geography in two comprehensive schools before moving to teach in a special school in Stalybridge. He returned to Nottingham University in 1988/89 to train as an educational psychologist after which he worked in Leeds, East Riding and Hull before taking early retirement in 2014. Andrew took part in drama productions and musical theatre at college, in Manchester and Hornsea and, until becoming a foster carer in 2005, was a member of the BMVC. Andrew occasionally acts as a guest artiste for the choir and is a member of St Nicholas Church Choir in Hornsea, where he lives.
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 52).
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. We now hold a concert each year, alternatively for the President’s and the Chairman’s charity, in Toll Gavel Church. 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.
David Wilkinson retired as Conductor (Musical Director) in 1992, when he handed over to Ian Brocklesby but continued as a choir member until 2015.
Liz took over in 2002 on Ian’s death.
The Choir formerly had a tradition of asking the Beverley Mayor to serve two years as President. This seems to have ceased to be the practice, though our current President, Andrew Eastwood, is a former Mayor and, indeed, a former choir member too.
We have recently re-introduced the post of vice-President, a position currently filled by Kate Andrews, wife of choir baritone Nick and an extremely strong supporter of our Choir. Kate will take over as President in July 2017.
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