Wakefield Cathedral Old Choristers' Association

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WCOCA Officials and Committee Members 2016-2017

Chair: John North

Secretary: Alec Tinker

Treasurer: James Holt

Federation Representative: John Holt

Clergy Representative:  Canon Leah Vasey-Saunders

Committee Members:

Adrian Altman, Emily Beal, Alexis Cooling, David Dean, Neil Hopwood, Andrew Revans, Will Renoussie

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On Advent Sunday, 3rd December, the Association will be holding its AGM.  Prior to the meeting, our annual lunch will be served in the Treacy Hall.  The cost will be £13.00.  Please read the September newsletter for menu details and reply slips if you wish to attend.  

Advent Carol Service

It is hoped that OCs will stay on after the AGM to attend the Advent Carol Service at 3.30pm.


Saturday, 6th May was the day we celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the Girls’ Choir   It was good to see many former girl choristers attending an Association event for the first time.  It is hoped that the number of former girl choristers attend ing the Association's events continues to grow and play an important part in the future of the Association.  


The celebrations began with Evensong, which was sung by the girls, lay clerks and former choristers who performed excellently.  The music for the service included Bairstow’s fine setting of the Evening Canticles in D and Mascagni’s “Easter Hymn” from “Cavalleria Rusticana”.  The choir gave a first class performance of the anthem, filling the Cathedral’s much improved acoustic with a wonderful sound.  If it had been possible to “raise the roof”, then the Cathedral’s roof would have been well and truly raised!


At the end of the service, we listened to Sachin Gunga’s give a faultless performance of Widor’s famous “Toccata” and then made our way to the crypt for pre-dinner drinks.  The Silver Jubilee Dinner followed and was served in the nave.  Tom Moore then delivered a very appropriate and humorous speech, with interesting and apt contributions from Jonathan Bielby and Louise (Marsh) Reid.  A friendly and celebratory atmosphere was apparent at all the tables.  Evenbody seemed to  have had a good time!      

Above: The augmented Cathedral Choir practising for the service with Tom Moore.

Below: Tom Moore addressing the diners

More photos on Girls' Silver Jubilee page.


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On Sunday, 5th November, the Dean, Jonathan Greener, will take his final services at the Cathedral before taking up the post of Dean of Exeter.  During his time as Dean, he has been overseen the renovation of the whole church, making it a building fit for the 21st century.  He has been a great supporter of the Association  We hope he and Pam have a wonderful new life in the West Country.


At the end of December, we say good bye to Sachin, the Cathedral's Assistant Director of Music,  He came to the Cathedral in 2015 and leaves to take up the post as Sub-Organist of Portsmouth Cathedral and Organist of Portsmouth Grammar School.  He has been an excellent Assistant and we wish him good luck as he takes his career to the south coast.  


The 2018 Annual Dinner takes place on Saturday, 28th April.  The event will take place in the Cathedral beginning with Evensong at 3.30pm.  Pre-dinner drinks will be served in the Crypt before taking our places in the Nave for the Dinner.  Canon Leah Vasey-Saunders, the Precentor, is to be our guest speaker.   Please make a note of the date in your diaries.


Earlier this year, we were really pleased to receive an email from Marc Corbett-Weaver (OC) offering to give a piano recital in the Cathedral.  This will take place on Friday, 16th February at 7.30pm.  


Marc, based in London, pursues a very busy professional career as a concert pianist.  He played at the OCs’ Concert in October 2013 and returned a couple of years ago to give a stunning recital.  His playing is of the highest quality and we eagerly look forward to his return.  Please try to support the event and pass on details to others who may be interested.  Further details will be sent out nearer the date.


It is sad to report that following a very successful first “outing” in July 2016 when the OCs’ Choir sang the Sunday services in the Cathedral, we had to cancel the singing this year because of a shortage of singers..  We are to attempt to form our “ad hoc” choir again to sing the services on Sunday, 15th July, 2018.  As we can’t let the Cathedral down again, we need singers to commit to taking part by 31st March.  The day will begin at 10am with a rehearsal before singing Eucharist at 11am.  Lunch will follow before a rehearsal before Evensong at 3.30pm.  


We hope OCs of all ages will offer to sing.  However, we would really like to encourage those who sang in the choir between 1990 and 1995 to take part on this occasion so OCs who sang together previously have the opportunity to revive old friendships.  If this approach proves successful, we shall move to another five year period in 2019.              


Please pass on the details to other OCs.  If you have any thoughts / ideas on the choir (maybe you would prefer to sing at a different time of year), please send them to alectinker@hotmail.co.uk.  Your views would be appreciated.  If you wish to sing next year, please complete the form at the end of the September newsletter and return to Alec Tinker.


James Bowstead has been appointed the Cathedral’s new Assistant Director of Music.  At present, he is organ scholar at Peterborough Cathedral, where Tom Moore was Assistant Organist before coming to Wakefield.  James was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester before becoming organ scholar at Jesus College, Oxford.  He gained his ARCO three years ago, winning the Limpus, Shinn and Durrant Prizes for the highest marks in the practical examination.  He takes up his appointment in April.