Registered Charity Number 1193478
(Click to enlarge photos)
2021 – (Photo by James Clarke Photography)
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The Choir’s membership is currently around 35 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, 2017 and 2018 have been, respectively, the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Dove House Hospice trust, the RNLI, Hornsea Inshore Rescue, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Dove house again. 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”. President Kate Andrews’ concert for Dove House Hospice raised a similar amount in a joint concert with Kidderminster Valentines Ladies Choir in July 2019. Chairman David Cross’ Charity for Choir Year Jul 2019-Jul 2020 is The Fabrics fund of St Mary’s Church Beverley. A joint concert with Derbyshire’s Dalesmen MVC on 27th September 2019 raised, again, about £1200 for this worthy cause. The Choir became largely inactive due to Covid-19 for most of the 2020-21 choir year. Nevertheless we felt we should continue to be a charitable Choir and President Paul Camm presented a cheque from the choir for £250 to his chosen charity, again Dove House Hospice – a clear favourite with the Choir!
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 the play arrow 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 the play arrow 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 the play arrow to hear him singing all 4 parts in Mozart’s Ave Verum from one of these recordings:
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. Click the play arrow to hear Amy play Debussy’s Clair de Lune and the 3rd movement of Haydn’s Sonata in C Hob XVI:50. This recording was made at a concert she performed at Doncaster Museum in 2017. She can also play the Hippopotamus Song!
Rona’s enjoyment with music all stemmed from her family. As members of the Salvation Army they were all involved with harmonised singing and playing instruments. Her father, grandfathers, 2 brothers, cousin and uncle all played in the band and on many occasions had their own little band practicing at home. Luckily the adjoining next door neighbours were an elderly couple who enjoyed singing to hymns. Rona played tenor horn and it was while she was in the junior band that she met her husband Tony as he played cornet. They were still at Junior school at the time and so have grown up together.
Rona was brought up in the village of Hoyland Common near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. This village became famous as it was the home of Barry Hines the author of “Kestrel for a Knave” and featured in the film “Kes”. He taught English at the school where and when she was Head Girl. In this role she had to meet and greet dignitaries and visitors and give speeches in assembly. These attributes have helped her both in her profession as a primary school teacher and as a guest speaker for various groups.
In retirement, after 34 years of teaching, she took a keen interest in local history and joined the Marshland Local History Group. She is keen on supporting the local charities and as a teenager was impressed by the charitable work accomplished by the Rotary Club of Barnsley so was delighted when she met up with friends of the history group who were Rotarians. They were also members of the Beverley Male Voice Choir and were always keen to sell concert tickets. Of course that was a no brainer due to her love of music.
Rona is very proud to hold the post of President of the Choir and looks forward to future concerts and activities.
Short 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.
More of our more recent history can be seen by moving to the “Choir News” page.
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