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Southern England's most exciting male voice choir!

Registered charity number: 1112732

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Farewell to Darren

DECEMBER 16: The choir bade farewell to Darren Wilkins, assistant music director, pianist and flautist, and top tenor stalwart, at the choir social on Thursday.

Darren is leaving Croydon to take up a new teaching post job in Ascot in the New Year, and this was his last occasion at a choir function.   The choir made a presentation to Darren and thanked him further with a resounding ovation.


Darren  accepts his presentation from Kim at the social on December 14 (photo JWT)

Darren joined the choir 22 years ago, when he was still a student.  He spoke movingly of how the choir had been central to his life and of the many friendships he made.  As assistant music director, he deputised for Richard Hoyle whenever necessary, which included conducting during the choir’s Norfolk tour, and led rehearsals for the two tenor sections.

Darren is a gifted flautist who performed solo spots on choir tours to Wales and Suffolk. He is also a talented pianist who gallantly accompanied a number of performances at the choir social – “a new experience and a pleasure for me,” Darren commented afterwards.

Among other highlights for Darren were meeting Lana Bode and Andy Woolhouse through the choir, and acting as best man at their wedding in 2015.  “And, obviously, meeting Richard through the choir.” 

Darren also mentioned taking bass section rehearsals at Pete Smith’s house and attending the bass section barbecues at Peter and Angela Gillman’s.

Darren: "I'll miss the tours....."

Darren added: “I’ll miss the concerts and the tours and the associated drinking that goes with them. One last memory: being (almost) the last to bed on tour after staying up with Bulla and drinking into the early hours.”

When making the presentation to Darren, choir chair Kim Ormond praised the enormous contribution he had made to the choir’s standards and bonhomie in the past 20 years.  “It has been monumental,” Kim said.  “And we are devastated that he is leaving.”

Kim remembered that Darren had once bought and learned how to play an accordion solely to enable the choir to sing the Russian folk-song Kalinka.  “Not only is he a singer and musician, he played solos at concerts and rehearsed the tenors to within an inch of their lives.  A total professional!

“We are all terribly sad to lose him – and wish him very well in his new job.”

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