News FromThe Choir

Meet our Members

Meet our Members

Thursday 18th August 2022

Some of our choir members tell us something about themselves - how they got into singing in the first place, what they do when not singing, and why singing is so important to them.

Many of our members have been singing since they were at school, often gaining experience in church choirs too, but others came to it later in life. Jude Robinson, our Choir Secretary and a first alto, is a self-confessed ‘late starter’ in singing, as in other things: “I didn’t start singing (or driving) until I was in my 30s, when a friend persuaded me to go along to a little country choir called the Nidderdale singers. I loved it, and it has led to a wonderful - rest of my - lifelong passion.” Richard Taulbut, our Chairman and a second tenor, didn't venture into choral singing until after he moved to Leamington, to work at Automotive Products in Tachbrook Road, when friends introduced him to the Aylesford Singers.

Our longest serving member, Chris Spooner, who joined the choir in 1974 as a second alto, recalls having an interview instead of an audition. Asked whether she could sight sing, she gave an honest reply: “Not very well”. The then musical director, Keith Sedgebeer, allowed her to join, but warned her: “Well, you may not last very long…”. Nearly 50 years later, Chris is still with us - still learning (as we all are), but still loving her singing!

We count among our membership engineers and accountants, teachers and academics, a consultant surgeon, a retired solicitor, and so on… Sally Druce, our Concert Secretary and a first alto, was a career civil servant until she retired, and she met Colin, her husband and our accompanist, when they both sang in the Dee and Alyn Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Herbert Murbach, a second bass and a former teacher of Mathematics and Biology, joined us ten years ago when he moved to Leamington, after 35 years of singing with the Bach Choir in Flensburg in his native Germany. Herbert was amazed to find a Bach Choir in England; he came to our performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor, and was so impressed by our “crystal clear voices and admirable precision” that he decided to audition.

Some of our members are just starting out on their careers, while others are retired and involved in a range of voluntary activities when not singing. Darryl Murrin-Foyle, a second alto who joined 3 years ago, works with the Salvation Army’s Way Ahead Project for the homeless, and also organises volunteer drivers to take patients to hospital appointments. Ann Clayden, a second soprano who’s been in the choir for 20 years and who looks after the website, records veteran trees for the Woodland Trust, and helps plant new trees in the Heart of England Forest.

When asked what singing means to her, Melanie Forse, a first soprano and previous Chairman, responded: “Improving, creating, learning, focussing, and that magic moment when it all comes together!”. Nicola Deards, our Treasurer and another first soprano, says: “I love singing with an accomplished group under an exacting director – when we have worked hard and have confidence in ourselves and we have great musicians working with us, the feeling is euphoric – the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts!”.

Tom Ainge, a first bass who joined just this year, says: “My Christian faith is very important to me and whilst choral singing is of course a performance, for me it’s also an act of worship. So much of the Western choral canon was written for the glory of God, and for me at least, that remains a central part of it and one of the many reasons I enjoy singing so much.”

As you can see, we are an interesting and varied group of people, with differing musical backgrounds, different reasons for enjoying singing, and a wide range of careers and interests. What unites us all is our love of choral music, and our commitment to sing to the very best of our ability. Whoever you are, whatever you do, if you love singing there is room for you in the choir, and we would love to have you. Please visit the ‘Join Us’ page to find out more.

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"We are particularly looking to develop the sound of our tenors and basses. We have a strong core of twenty men, but we are on the look out for at least another ten. Our music-making is serious and fun, challenging and uplifting, as we dare to dream big."

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