Choir Members Calendar - 2024/2025
 MONDAY 8th April 2024 Start of Summer Term - Subscriptions due.
 MONDAY 27th May 2024 Half Term
Beckminster Methodist Church - 7.30pm
Afternoon Rehearsal 2.00pm to 4.30pm approx.
 22nd July 2024  End of Term


Where we rehearse...
We now rehearse every Monday evening in term time at Springdale Methodist Church, Warstones Road, Penn, Wolverhampton WV4 4LF from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
How to find our rehearsal venue...

The rehearsal is taken by our Musical Director, Edd Caine and the accompanist is (to be announced).

New members are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir.
For more information, contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen Brown at or on 01902 892391. more >>

Ann Hawkins
One the choir's long term members, Ann Hawkins, died peacefully in her sleep at the Cedars Nursing Home in Albrighton on Monday 2nd January 2023, at the grand old age of 102.

Amazingly, Ann joined the WDCS choir back in 1969 and was a member for over sixty years, only ceasing to attend weekly rehearsals when she was unable to do so around the time she celebrated her 100th birthday back on Thursday 20th October 2020 - more information >>

Funeral arrangements: There will be a Thanksgiving Service at 1.30pm on Wednesday February 8th 2023 at St Chad's Church, Patshull Road, Pattingham WV6 7BQ.

After the Service, there will be light refreshments at Pattingham Club, High Street, Pattingham.


Sheila Jones
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our choir member and dear friend Sheila Jones.

She had been a member of Wombourne and District Choral Society since 1979 and played a very active part in the running and support of the choir, being a Committee Member and also helping to raise over £6000 by selling her greetings cards at rehearsals to choir members over a period of many years.

She had suffered ill health for some time and had spent the last seven weeks in New Cross Hospital.

Her funeral will take place on Wednesday 9th November 2022. There will be a service at the Crematorium at 1.30pm for family and close friends, followed by a service at 2.45pm in the Methodist Church in Histons Hill, Codsall. The choir have been asked to sing at the church service.

Classic FM Request...
As part on the many celebrations for Ann's special birthday, our Chairman, Henry, contacted Bill Turnbull, presenter of a request programme on Classic FM and asked if part of the Verdi Requiem could be played to celebrate Ann's birthday.
The result can be heard in the following recording >>
Click here
Ann Hawkins meets her goal on her 100th...
Ann Hawkins, a member of WDCS Choir since 1969 reached her 100th birthday on Thursday 20th October 2020. Robbed of any alternative means of celebrating Ann’s wonderful achievement, eight members of WDCS ( Eileen, MIke Coope, Mike Hayward, Denis Beaumont, Gil Sadler, Mary Hayward, Jill Mason, Liz and myself ) joined by three close friends from Pattingham, gathered to form a fully Covid Compliant Choir in front of Ann’s house at 10.00h on the morning of her Birthday.
Our good friend and highly talented musician John Fellows ( many of you may know him, as he has lead choirs and directed musical activities in and around Pattingham for many decades! ) was at the keyboard leading us in his own arrangements of “ Happy Birthday” and a specially written arrangement of “ Congratulations & Jubilations”, adapted to reflect many of Ann’s lifetime passions and activities.
She knew nothing about this in advance and was clearly overwhelmed and delighted, ( she was expecting a disappointingly low-key Birthday due to all the pandemic restrictions ), especially with the huge bouquet of flowers we presented to her on behalf of you all, and, of course, since she still enjoys her tipples, the champagne and single-malt whisky which accompanied it - oh and a splendid iced fruit cake, made by the Lychgate Pattingham village cafe owner, the candles on which, configured as the number 100, she almost completely extinguished as we gave her three mighty cheers!
She is a truly remarkable lady... We give her our heartiest congratulations on achieving her Century in such good health and God willing, may we all be privileged to share still more milestone Birthdays with her. She asked me to send her warmest thanks and very best wishes to you all.

WDCS and village members, all socially distanced, prepare to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Ann... WDCS Chairman, Henry, presents Ann with a large bouquet of flowers from the choir... Ann starts to blow out the 100 candles on the special Birthday cake. She made it ! A specially designed card containing the John Fellow’s music is given to Ann by Mike...

John Fellows, who wrote the special piece for Ann's birthday and also accompanied the small choir when they performed it in front of her house.
'Our Anniversary Song... 100 today!' by John Fellows...
A hundreth birthday's something special certainly,
It gives us pleasure to sing this measure,
And pay our tributes with this well-known melody.
The notes are there, - we cannot guarantee their order!
Our song is 'off-the-cuff' we couldn't quite afford the...
WOMBOURNE CHORAL to achieve that near perfection,
But it's the thought that counts, we sing with great affection -
Dear Ann's a hundred so we mark it tunefully,
So let's get swinging, and let's get singing,
and celebrate with this top hundred melody!
You may have packed away the tennis shorts and racquet,
You may have ditched the car and stored that hiking jacket,
You may have picked last grapes that gave such satisfaction,
We wonder what comes next that'll stir you into action?
Dear Ann's a hundred so we mark it tunefully,
So let's get swinging, and let's get singing,

...and NOW the video
Although still photography is his forte, David Coxsell of In-Depth Photos in Pattingham agreed to video Ann's celebration event, for which we thank him. In order to avoid possible music copyright conflicts, we regret that we have had to remove some of the musical content of the video.
Click here >>

In Memoriam Janet Heaton
As you all know, very sadly we lost Janet on 15th October. Some of you may have been able to see her funeral service on the live web-cam from Bushbury Crematorium on Tuesday 17th November. The celebrant specifically mentioned in her address the family’s gratitude for the support of her fellow volunteers at Wightwick Manor and all her friends in Wombourne Choral Society, where she had been a valued member and staunch supporter, along with her late husband Paul, for well over 45 years. With her family’s blessing we reproduce here extracts from this address.

Janet was born on 14th March 1933 in Letchworth, where she lived with her mother Doris and father Robert Wray, a cabinet maker destined to become a Director of his firm, being joined a little later by her brother John. Following her formative education at St Christophers School, she trained as an Occupational Therapist, gaining her Diploma from her Association in 1953, aged just 20.

Love soon followed when she met Paul, who was then working in Ipswich as an Optician, and courtship and planning happily lead to their wedding in Letchworth on 30th March 1957. By this time Paul was working in Birmingham, which is where they made their first home, but he was soon attracted by Gordon Flint, Opticians in Wolverhampton, where a new fulfilling career beckoned, so the young couple moved to Green Acres, Tettenhall, where they were to remain for over 60 years.

Fun and adventure started here and as their family grew, first with John, later to be followed with the arrival of Philippa and Rob, weekend sailing at Chelmarsh became a regular and much-loved family activity, supplemented by regular and varied dog walks with their series of King Charles spaniels. Though holidays abroad eventually featured in their plans, the early Camper Van holidays in Wales are always fondly remembered, but wherever they went was never far from water!

As the children left the nest, Janet’s other activities blossomed; becoming a very active Secretary of Wolverhampton Ramblers Club; walking with friends the Pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, a magnificent total of 500 miles completed in two legs in successive years; tennis and badminton at Newbridge; and with Paul, treading the boards at Tettenhall Operatic, and of course their joint membership of Wombourne Choral Society.

Fascinated with wildlife, Janet was an active member of RSPB, regularly enjoying bird-watching trips out with Philippa, and she also harvested grapes at Halfpenny Green, relishing the receipt of bottles of amber liquid in lieu of payment! A proud moment too, with the award of a long-service medal from the RVS for her work as a volunteer at New Cross Hospital, running their teashop. Janet was also a volunteer at Wightwick Manor, helping to preserve a part of Wolverhampton’s historical legacy. When she sadly lost Paul in 2016, with the family fully behind her, she continued with these activities which helped her to come to terms with life without him. Janet will be fondly remembered as a special someone who made a difference in whatever activity she undertook. But more than that, it was the warmth, love and kindness she radiated with whomsoever she met which marked her out as a truly remarkable lady, and as someone who will be sorely missed by her loving family and by us all.
Henry - 7th December 2020

Sad News...
We have heard today, the sad news that John Bolus, a long serving Tenor in our choir has passed away.
Choir members will probably remember the picture which John painted of Brewood Parish Church. We presented two paintings to our French friends “Chantemoy” of the churches in which we had our joint concerts, when they visited us in 2005.
Apart from his sterling work with the usually small group of tenors, John has also for many years organised the practice disks and downloads for the individual parts of the music which we perform. This has been an enormous help in preparing the choir for the concerts.
Condolences and very best wishes to John’s family at this very sad time.
25th January 2021

Mary Brown RIP - 12th August 2020
As you all know, after more than 18 months quietly and courageously battling her illness, Mary very sadly lost her fight with cancer, thankfully with three of her children at her bedside, having spent her last days in Compton Care. Her youngest son Adrian delivered the address at her funeral on 10th September, extracts from which the family are happy for us to reproduce here.

Born 12th June 1935 in West Bromwich (though she ultimately became a Wolves fan!), Mary was brought up in the “village” of Great Barr by her parents Doris and Charles Vowles, owner of Vowles Aluminium Foundry in West Bromwich. Aged 11 in 1946 she went to Adcote School near Shrewsbury, where “politeness, manners and smart appearance” were core values which, as we all know, she took to heart, always immaculately dressed and, as Adrian says, “never a curse did she utter nor ever a pair of jeans did she wear”!

Mary went on to study piano and singing at Birmingham School of Music. It was at this time, through his sister, who was a close friend and fellow student, that she met Neville. It was love at first sight and their marriage on 28th December 1957 was to last 51 years. She became mother to four children, all of whom adored her and recall a wonderfully happy family life, enhanced by Mary’s fantastic cooking, her memorable desserts perhaps being influenced by her own sweet tooth, coupled with her life-long relationship with chocolate!
Mary and Neville would travel together when his academic profession required trips abroad and there were many happy family holidays in the UK and especially in France, with gourmet picnics around the back of the family Peugeot. When Neville died suddenly in 2008, though greatly saddened, Mary became determined to make the most of her remaining life, as a sponsor and regular attender at CBSO concerts in Symphony Hall, theatre breaks several times a year to London - and of course through her love of singing. This last passion brought her to WDCS in 1995, where she remained a loyal and much-loved member until her illness in 2018 began to keep her away from us.

Mary faced her illness with courage and determination and, though restricted, post diagnosis she enjoyed 18 months of blessed remission until her rapid decline this summer. She leaves many happy memories with us all, but especially with her four children and nine grandchildren, all of whom were proudly able to be at her funeral.

Mary will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by us all.


 Cedric Lewis
A member of Wombourne Choral Society for many years, Cedric recently passed away and his funeral was held at St Bart's Church, Penn where he was a chorister.
The church choir together with members of Wombourne Choral Society sang during the service of dedication, including John Rutter's 'The Lord bless you and keep you' and two pieces from Faure's Requiem.
Cedric excelled at detailed wood work and several of the items he had made were on show in the church. The following images give an insight as to his amazing talent in the art.  

Marijke Holden 1944-2019
Born and educated in Holland and already something of a linguist, Marijke first came to England and Wolverhampton as an au-pair, and after settling and gaining friends in the area, in due course met David, a young dentist establishing his own practice. They married in 1968, and she quickly became involved in the running and organization of his practice, eventually training others to succeed her.
Away from the practice, she was quick to develop other activities to which she committed herself with passion and enthusiasm. These included local politics and the magistracy, local and national charitable institutions and especially the Arts, where for many years she championed and eventually chaired the Codsall Arts Society.
Like her Mother, she enjoyed singing and for over 11 years she was a warm-hearted and generous member of our Choral Society, relishing to the full, the joy of our concert performances.
She faced her illness with characteristic courage and determination to carry on with as much of her regular activity as she possibly could, coming to rehearsals and concerts even when she was clearly very unwell. She is sorely missed but will always be remembered with warmth and affection for her generous and life-loving spirit.

Valerie Fairclough is ordained as a Deacon at Lichfield Cathedral on 26th September 2020...
Originally from Liverpool, Valerie now calls Wolverhampton home and is a member of WDCS singing in the sopranos. She lives with her husband Stephen, two dogs and a cat. Valerie has two grown up daughters and three granddaughters. She worked as a teacher, mainly in Further Education, for many years; this was her vocation for her adult working life. Valerie first felt a calling to be a priest as a teenager, but women were not allowed to be priests back then. So she waited.

During her years of teaching, she learnt what it is to walk alongside those who don’t have an easy life; she learnt to have a listening ear and empathy. Valerie learnt to respect and love those who are marginalised and oppressed. This was time not wasted. A few years before retirement, Valerie felt God’s call again and became a Reader but it was not enough. God called her on. Valerie thought she was too old, but remembered Sarah who laughed when God told her she would be the mother of God’s people. Valerie finally accepted God’s will for her. Valerie has learnt that God loves us and can call us into service at any age. Her advice for those exploring God’s call - do not be afraid if you are called later in your life; be open to all possibilities, with prayer.

Valerie will serve her title in the Central Wolverhampton team with Revd Ray Gaston.

To see the full service on video, follow the facebook link , jumping the first 13 minutes of test screen...

Cutting from the Express & Star plus Shropshire Star - 17th July 2019

Web page from the Express & Star plus Shropshire Star - 5th July 2019

Note to Choir Members...
As well as being a publicity tool, this website, particularly the MEMBERS page, is for use by Choir Members. So if you wish to place a relevant notice, an article with images or any other information that will be interest to fellow members, please talk with Mike Coope or email him at

 Verdi Requiem / Bychkov - BBC Symphony Orchestra - BBC Proms 2011

 A quality Mozart's Requiem - The BBC Proms 2014

  Chopin / Polonaise Fantaisie Op. 61 - Eliane Rodriques

 Chopin / Fantaisie Impromptu (Op.66)

 Messiah / G.F.Handel - Choir of King's College, Cambridge (2 hours)

 Messiah / G.F.Handel - A fantastic performance

 La traviata – Addio, del passato (Ermonela Jaho, The Royal Opera)

 Delibes: Lakme - Duo des fleurs (Flower Duet)

 Link to Jill Mason's Flashmob Video mentioned in the Newsletter No.7 - June 2020

From our previous Musical Director...

Meet our Musical Director...
An interview with Ian Clarke

When did your interest in music start, and did you prefer playing or singing?

I learned the piano from around 7, but I suppose crucial for me was joining the choir of St Matthew's Church in Northampton, and coming under the influence and tuition of successive Directors of Music there, Michael Nicholas and Stephen Cleobury: I always enjoyed both playing and singing, but I used to get very nervous of singing solos!

You have directed a whole range of musical groups ? do you have a favourite, or at least a favourite style?
I usually say that my favourite music is that which I'm rehearsing at the time. I love and respond to the serenity and depth of renaissance choral music, the clarity of expression of Mozart and Haydn, the emotional intensity of Beethoven and Brahms, Verdi, Strauss and Mahler, the Englishness of Vaughan Williams, the vibrancy of Stravinsky, the artistry and commitment of such composers as Britten and Tippett - the list is endless - but if I had to plump for a composer I couldn't do without, it would have to be J. S. Bach, for his amazing range, his spirituality, his universality. One of my earliest profound concert memories was a performance of the St Matthew Passion: I will never forget my feelings on hearing for the first time the phrase uttered by the centurion and those around him 'Truly this was the Son of God'.

What do you consider will be the particular challenges of directing WDCS?
Maintaining the high standards exemplified by your previous Directors, and perhaps helping the choir to expand its vocal and stylistic range so that different repertoires are tackled in a variety of styles. I should also like the choir to be able on occasions to sing some repertoire from memory: to dispense with the copy can be very liberating!

When you auditioned for the post of MD, you chose an arrangement of a nursery rhyme in the round for the warm-up, which could be seen as significant since we hope to recruit younger members! What would you say to persuade young adults to have a go at choral music?
Just try it, because so many people have reaped great and unexpected benefits. Being in a choir is fun, physically and spiritually engaging, good exercise for mind and body, a great way to socialise and meet a whole mix of people, an enjoyable and rewarding way of contributing to and being part of the local community.

What would be your perfect concert: location, artists, programme?
Impossible question to answer, as music is not a perfect art: we strive continuously, and if as a group of musicians we get somewhere close to achieving a real communication of the spirit behind the music to an audience, then we can be satisfied.

How do you like to spend your (presumably limited) spare time?
Walking, especially on Scottish mountains (Slioch was particularly fine last summer). Family time, making the most of daughters Lucy and Amy while they're still at home. Golf, though I have the rather high handicap of not being very good. Bridge. Reading. Armchair cricket and rugby, especially Ashes-winning series, Grand-slam seasons and World Cup success.

You have already been involved in both 'legs' of our French exchange. Could you comment on the value of this, both musically and socially, and do you have a view on future developments?
A valuable and enjoyable cultural exchange, and one I'd like to see develop with perhaps the focus of a more substantial work in which both choirs could participate, in addition to more informal (and some memorised?!) repertoire.

Is there anything that you would like WDCS to achieve within, say, five years?
Only in general terms, to continue to foster good relations with the local community, perhaps to forge links with schools and youth groups to encourage younger singers to join the 'Senior' choir at a later stage.

If you got diverted to a desert island on your way to Wolverhampton, what would you choose as your favourite piece of music, book and luxury item?
Bach (not surprisingly), probably Mass in B minor.
Assuming I've got the complete works of Shakespeare, I'd see if I was allowed a bound edition of the 12 books of Anthony Powell's 'Dance to the music of time', to divert, to amuse, and to remind me of how beautifully more modern English can be written: failing that, maybe 'Possession' by A. S. Byatt, which I've been meaning to re-read, or 'Earthly Powers' by Anthony Burgess, both extraordinary and profoundly affecting novels.
For my luxury, I think I'd have to have a set of golf clubs and inexhaustible supply of balls: not only would I win all my games - I'd never again be daunted by playing out of the sand!

Ian's comments on The St Matthew Passion

Good day, choir.
Well, what a beautiful day yesterday, perfect weather (which I barely experienced!), but the beauty extending into the quality of singing in the performance last night. The melodies have been ringing round my head continuously since, and I find myself almost conversing in recitative style!

What a work! One I've always wanted to conduct, and it was a privilege to perform it, and with such a wonderful mixture of forces. A great orchestra, with lovely solo players, an excellent continuo section, fabulous soloists, headed by the fantastic evangelist, and of course, Piran Legge, whose voice is such a treat.

And then of such importance is the choral part, those wonderful framing choruses setting the context, and then choirs playing the part of the groups in the dramatic narration.
You did so well, and gave a vivid account, committed, dramatic, both soulful and spiritual, I couldn't have asked for more, and the evening will live long in my memory.

Thank you so much for your part in making the evening such a success, and thanks too to John and Mike for their part in helping the narration come alive.

Have a wonderful Easter, everybody, and I look forward to seeing you next term, after a couple of weeks off!

Best of wishes
10th April 2017

 Stories and Articles from the past...

How to use the Wombourne Choral Society Facebook...
Click Facebook image opposite for more information >>

Internet Fund Raising

As part of our future planning, we have linked with an organization now being used by charities up and down the country, including Music Societies and Choirs, called Simply put, this is a Discount Club, supported by all the major stores and retailers, whereby anybody wishing to purchase anything on-line can click through a link to, then proceed to the retailer or company of their choice. That retailer/ company/service provider recognizes our link with the scheme and will then make a donation to our cause, a small percentage of the cost of the product or service purchased – it’s that simple and at no cost whatsoever to us!

Please have a look for yourselves – our WDCS cause page is :-

Just click on this link, then go to “See how it works “ where there is more explanation and a short video. Visit “Browse Retailers” to see the ever-growing list of companies supporting the scheme, which has so far raised nearly £12m for charities in the UK.

All of us, our family and friends and anyone we know, just by simply clicking a link and then buying what we/they want in the normal way, can be raising extra funds for the Choir. Who wouldn’t want to do it?

Give it a go – and let Eileen or Henry know what you think, or if you are having any difficulty!

You can now use “easyfundraising” when making Amazon purchases.
Amazon have changed their system regarding easyfundraising and Wombourne Choral Society is now registered with this service.

Please see below how you can make it work for you; go onto:-

Immediately below the ‘Search’ box at the top, it says, ‘Supporting XXXXXXX’ with a tiny arrow at the end. Click on the little arrow. It will bring up, ‘XXXXXXXX Change’. Click on change, a number of charities will be listed, but WDCS is not amongst them.

Go onto the box, ‘Pick your own charitable organisation’ and type in, ‘Wombourne & District Choral Society’, IN FULL, NOT WDCS. Search & then Select.

You only need to do this once... for future purchases, by going on to it will show you as a supporter. It couldn't be easier...

New members are always welcome...
New singers are always welcome to the choir. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings, 7.30 to 9.30pm during term time at Smestow School, Windmill Crescent, Wolverhampton, WV3 8HU. For more information, contact our Membership Secretary, Eileen Brown on 01902 892391 or at, or just turn up at one of our Monday rehearsals.

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