News of Members

A NOTABLE ANNIVERSARY!

Choir member George Young has just reached a remarkable landmark.  It is now sixty years since the Revd George Young, as he is also known, was ordained as a minister in the Anglican church.  In that time he has been a vicar in a range of locations, including Everton, Bolton, Buckinghamshire, Tyneside and Beckenham, where his last appointment was at St John’s in Eden Park Road.

George and Margaret - depicted in Southwark Diocese newspaper

Although theoretically retired for the past 23 years, George has been active in the leadership team of Christ Church in South Nutfield.  Until he and his wife Margaret have also been running Opportunities Through Trade, a company selling fair-trade goods both direct to the public and via local churches.  Christ Church celebrated George’s remarkable landmark with a special service followed by a bring-and-share lunch.


George says: “The celebration was a joyful occasion in which we tried hard to ensure the focus was on God’s faithfulness rather than on me. After all, we only reached this landmark because I lived long enough!”

George, a top tenor, joined the choir five years ago.  He says: “I enjoy the breadth of the repertoire and the camaraderie.”

CELEBRATING SIBELIUS

During a recent Baltic cruise, second tenor Trevor Watkins and his wife Angela visited Helsinki, capital of Finland.  They went to see one of the city’s most celebrated landmarks, the Sibelius Monument, and learned the interesting story behind it.

The Sibelius monument in Helsinki

 

The monument, which resulted from a public fundraising campaign and a competition in 1961-62, is the work of Finnish sculptor Eila Hiltunen.  Initially a purely abstract composition reminiscent of a collection of organ pipes, the piece was the subject of heated debate when it was created. Sibelius did not actually compose for the organ; and many Finnish people felt that their most famous composer and national hero deserved better.  In particular they wanted a figurative element and Hiltunen was eventually commissioned to add a depiction of Sibelius’ face which shows him as he was around 1910, when he was at the height of his creative powers.

Head of Sibelius - added after protests

t is more than fifty years since the unveiling of the monument and the arguments that surrounded its birth have long been forgotten.  It is now much loved by Finns and much visited by tourists.  A scaled down version can be found outside the UNESCO Palace in Paris, and full-size elements used during the design stand outside the United Nations building in New York and in Montreal.

Since 2011, Finland has celebrated Sibelius’ birthday, 8 December, with a flag day.  This year will see a number of events to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, including tribute concerts at this year’s Proms, attended by several CMVC members.  No doubt CMVC will observe the occasion with an especially rousing rendition of Finlandia during our concert on 10 December.

Signature of artist, Eila Hiltunen.

Report and photographs by Trevor Watkins

 

GEORGE AND DOT GO DIAMOND 

Choir veteran George Stevens and his wife Dot celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary at Shirley Park Golf Club on Saturday October 4.  Guests included George's fellow top tenors and other close friends from the choir, as well as family and friends from elsewhere.

George and Dot cut the cake

The CMVC contingent sang a version of When I’m Sixty-four, especially adapted by choir chair Kimball Ormond.  The last three lines read:

You can knit a sweater sitting by the fire, while Thursday evenings I go to the choir.

Doing the garden, digging up weeds, who could ask for any more

I love that you need me and you still feed me after sixty years and more.

George serenaded Dot with If, the song he performed several decades ago when he auditioned for the tv show Opportunity Knocks.   “They gave all the signs of being as much in love as sixty years ago,” one guest said.

CMVC members serenade the happy couple (Photos JWT)

Choir has Christmas fun!

DECEMBER 13 2016: The Croydon choir celebrated Christmas with two fine concerts in the past three days.    The choir sang to the usual intimate audience at Merstham Village Hall on Thursday, then packed in the crowds for its traditional Croydon Welsh concert at Shirley Methodist Church on Saturday.  There was also a presentation to two retiring choir stalwarts.

Dick and Pauline Diplock receive choir photo from Richard Hoyle

SINGING FOR THE BLIND 

A select choir formed of twelve members of CMVC helped celebrate the re-opening of the centre for the blind and partially sighted in Wellesley Road, Croydon, on September 11.

The centre, Bedford Hall, hq of the Croydon Voluntary Association for the Blind, had been closed for refurbishment. The CMVC twelve, who included three members of each section, led by veteran bass Nev Clark, sang a selection of songs from the choir’s après repertoire, together with an adaptation of We’ll Keep a Welcome penned by Nev himself.

The choir twelve perform (photo Rita Sandland)

The audience, who included Croydon's new Labour mayor, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed from Broad Green, was highly appreciative and gave prolonged applause. The mayor said she would attend a CMVC concert soon, as did the chair and director of the CVAB.

Keith Sandland, CMVC baritone who recruited the choir for the occasion, said afterwards that he had been “inundated with compliments about our singing.” One blind person told him she thought that there must have been about forty singers on stage – and was astonished to learn there were only twelve.

Rita Sandland, a voluntary worker at the CVAB, was equally delighted – and sold four copies of the choir’s latest CD which had been lying on a nearby table. Keith has passed on thanks from the association director “to everyone who turned up and sang”.

Croydon's new Labour mayor (centre) said she enjoyed the singing

CHOIR MEMBERS SING AWAY

CMVC choir members have been assisting other choirs recently.  On September 28, five members  sang at the Fairfield Hall on the Last Night of the Croydon Proms. They joined a combined choir from the Croydon Philharmonic Choir and the East Surrey Choral Society to sing a selection of classical favourites,  ranging from Verdi's Slaves Chorus to Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

The five CMVC singers were Dick Jones, Ted Mouat and Trevor Watkins (singing tenor) and Stewart Robinson and John Dale (singing bass). The five also enjoyed the rest of the concert which included a range  of orchestral pieces, mezzo soprano Juliette Pochin and 13-year-old violin sensation Rose Staples.

Last Night of the Croydon Proms

 

Then, last month, CMVC bass Peter Smith sang with the London Welsh Rugby Club Choir in the Netherlands at a commemoration service for 146 Welsh servicemen of the Fifty-Third Welsh division who died there during the liberation of s-Hertogenbosch in 1944.  It was, says Peter, "an honour and a humbling experience".

The Welsh choir sang at a wreath-laying ceremony at the division's memorial monument and joined a local choir to sing at a Liberation concert. It also visited the Arnhem Oosterbeck War Cemetery, where more than 1700 British and Allied servicemen are buried, including many from Croydon.

The ceremony at s-Hertogenbosch, near Arnhem

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