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OUR HISTORY


The Present Day

The choir continues to forge ahead with new and exciting works. Christmas 2013 saw us tackling Messiah Part I. We have many concerts planned for the forthcoming year. Why not join us!

In 2012 we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a series of concerts that seemed to be extra special as the year progressed. We started the year with a concert that spanned 400 years of music - Baroque to Rock, starting with Vivaldi's Gloria and finishing with a Queen medley! In the October we held a Gala concert at the Chrysalis Theatre in Willen. We were joined by Andante, Roger's other choir, for an evening of Brahms, Mendelssohn and Jenkins. The year culminated with a Christmas concert in which we were joined by Bradwell Silver Band, held at Newport Pagnell Parish Church.


The 21st Century

Richard Heyes became the Singer's MD in 2003. He introduced the choir to more popular styles of music such as Thank you for the music - Abba and Bridge over Trouble Water - Simon and Garfunkel, ably assisted by a brilliant young accompanist, Ed Tomlinson. Ed is not only an accomplished pianist but is also equally at home on the organ, harpsichord, clarinet and saxophone. Richard stepped down as our accompanist due to ill health in 2011.

In 2002 we gave a rendition of Hiawatha's Wedding Feast with guest soloist Andrew Bell taking the tenor solo and in 2004 we repeated the theme of Red Indian music with a short piece called The Snowbird by Pat Thayer and contrasted it with Vivaldi's Gloria. In 1998 Dr Gerald Hill became Musical Director and instilled a discipline into the Singers which had slipped under Edwin's dual role as Accompanist and Musical Director. Gerald was instrumental in extending the Singers repertoire by arranging music and using his wide musical experience to obtain music that was within the capabilities of a small choir. In 2000 we gave the first performance of a completely new work, Requiem 2000, composed by the Musical Director, Gerald Hill. Gerald passed away in 2013.

Roger Windmill took over as Musical Director in 2011. Under his baton the Singers began to move forward with their repertoire, tackling Hiawatha's Wedding Feast and looking forward to the future.


The 80's and 90's

Edwin Lack joined Mrs Wesley as accompanist at a Victorian Evening Concert. A brilliant musician Edwin had returned to his native Newport Pagnell from teaching in Leeds and joined the staff at Ousedale School. Edwin took over from Ian as Musical Director in June 1977. Edwin was a near genius when it came to playing the piano, singing, accompanying or arranging scores, but organisation and concert management were not his strengths. On many occasions the librarian would arrange the music in a folder and Edwin's first move was to shuffle it up and then spend ages finding the next piece of music.

Edwin gave the Singers a new role, taking live entertainment to the villages, helping them make money for their church and hall funds. These villages included Sherington, North Crawley, Astwood, Gayhurst, Moulsoe, Little Linford, Lavendon, Stoke Goldington, Emberton, Tyringham etc. The choir also gave concerts at all the Newport Pagnell Churches and in Olney too.

Sadly, Ethel Wesley, who had acted as Accompanist and Treasurer throughout the years, was taken seriously ill and died in May 1986 at the age of 69. Edwin took over as Accompanist and Musical Director, nearly always bringing his elderly mother to practices and concerts. She would invariably doze through the concert and earned the title of 'sleeping partner'. Sadly, Edwin died of a heart attack in December 1997. His mother, Ethel, died three weeks later. A performance of the Messiah, with professional soloists, was held in memory of Edwin early in 1998.

The Early Years

The Newport Pagnell Singers were formed in 1962 by a group of ladies who had been members of the Newport Pagnell Choral Societies, which were disbanded in 1960. Missing the singing and the social occasions, the ladies got together and, led by Mrs Ethel Wesley, organist at the Parish Church, they agreed to call themselves the Newport Pagnell Singers and wrote to Mr Arnold Jones, of Wolverton, asking him to be the Musical Director.

Mrs Wesley collected the weekly subs, found the music and acted as accompanist. Practices were held in the Parish Church and concerts usually revolved around the Christian festivals of Easter and Christmas. Costs were kept to a minimum; music was borrowed from local church choirs; concerts were usually held to raise money for charity. Arnold Jones had a wealth of experience as Methodist church organist, Musical Director of the Wolverton Gilbert and Sullivan Society and Musical Director of the Wolverton Light Orchestra. His last concert with the Singers was Easter, 1967, in the Congregational Church (now the United Reformed Church).

Tony Eaton became the next Musical Director and gave the Singers four years of stability and achievement. He handed over the baton to Rev Geoffrey Russell in 1972. Rev Geoffrey Russell, Vicar of New Bradwell, then handed over to Richard Lambert, who was a teacher at Lord Grey School, Bletchley. In 1974 Ian Smith, an accomplished violinist, became Musical Director, introducing small orchestras to the Singers' concerts. He produced a concert version of Merrie England with soloists drawn from the Singers. Ian Smith resigned in 1977 to become Musical Director of the Danesborough Chorus. Ian's last concert included Zadok the Priest and Vivaldi's Gloria.

CHOIR GOVERNANCE

Musical Director Roger Windmill
Accompanist Ed Tomlinson
Chair Pat Kearsley
Treasurer Tim Daily
Secretary Liz Leicester
Music Librarian Gillian King
Assistant Music Librarian Lynne Leake
Programmes & Publicity Karen Evans
New Members' Secretary June Drew
Webmaster Karen Evans
Front of House & Hospitality Lynne Leake
Committee Member Ted Pepper
Committee Member Jim Finn

© Newport Pagnell Singers 2014. Newport Pagnell Singers is a registered charity. Charity Number 279702