Wakefield Cathedral Old Choristers' Association

Old Choristers

Change of Details

Please let us know if you have changed your home or email address so that we can remain in contact with you.  Go to the Contact page for the secretary's email address.

Sharing Your News

Please send any news about yourself and what you are doing to John North.  It can then be shared with other OCs. Go to the Contact page for the John's email address.

Subscription 2014

Subscriptions will remain at £10.00.  This entitles you to membership of the WCOCA and a copy of the excellent "Once a Chorister" magazine.

OC Dinner Archbishop

OCs' Dinner at QEGS, Wakefield 9th May 2008

Neil Hopwood, the then Chairman, speaks to the gathering.  Sitting next to him is our guest speaker, The Rt Revd and Rt Hon The Lord Hope of Thornes KCVO PC, better known as David Hope (OC), Archbishop of York (1995 -2004) and to his left is Roger Scott (OC).  

Trevor Copley RIP


We were saddened to hear that Trevor Copley died on Friday 27th February at home in York.  He had been suffering from cancer.  Trevor and his wife, Colleen, were good supporters of the Old Choristers.  The last event they came to was the OCs' Concert held at the Cathedral in November 2013.  Whenever they attended, they could be found in the company of Colin Fuller and his wife.  He was a chorister in the choir in the 1940s and has supported the Association since it was formed in 1966.  He was a lovely, kind gentleman who will be sorely missed.  His funeral service and burial was attended only by the family.  However, there was a memorial service in York Minster, which was held on Tuesday, 17th March at 2.30pm.


Trevor was Chairman of St Leonard's Hospice, York for many years. He trained originally as a solicitor and joined Rowntree as Company Secretary in 1967, becoming a member of the Board in 1973 and Chairman of Rowntree's Overseas and Export Division in 1978. For 22 years, he led a dedicated group of people, first in establishing York's Hospice and subsequently in expanding it. In 2001, he was awarded an honorary  doctorate from the University of York for his work.  Our thoughts are with Colleen and family.

John Scott (Chorister 1964-70)   RIP

Our most well known present day Old Chorister, John Scott, sadly died in New York City on Wednesday, 12th August, having just returned from a recital tour of six European countries.  He was one of the finest, if not the finest, organist in the world and a brilliant choir trainer.   He was only 59.


I had only been in communication with him days earlier as he prepared to give what was to be his last recital at Uppsala Cathedral on Saturday, 8th August.  “The Times” on Saturday, 15th August featured a full page obituary, a very rare occurrence for a classical musician, let alone an organist.  However, John was a very special musician, “a master in the mould of J S Bach.  At the height of his powers, Scott transformed St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York, where he was organist and director of music into a place of pilgrimage.” (“The Times” obituary).


“The Times” obituary is well worth reading with mention of his time in the choir at Wakefield and his debt to Jonathan Bielby who taught him and encouraged him, giving him his first Cathedral post as Assistant Organist before going Cambridge.  


Although four years younger than me, we were in the choir together and I remember his first organ lesson with Doc Saunders before a Thursday evening practice (we didn’t sing midweek evensongs in my day).  He was so small, he couldn’t touch the pedals!  His father bought an organ for their home in Belle Vue while John was still in his early senior school years and where John would be able to practise to his heart’s content.  I don’t know how many hours he practised when at school but he once told me that he practised for five hours a day when he was at Cambridge.  I met him several times at throughout his career at St Paul’s, at an organ recital at York University and when he brought St Thomas’ Choir to Wakefield a few years ago.  He deserved to succeed as he made the most of his exceptional talent.  


Although never returning to live in Wakefield after University, he was always interested in the Old Choristers’ Association and always sent me a chatty email after receiving our Newsletters.  My last email to him was to ask about the composition, which he had kindly offered to write for our Golden Jubilee evensong.  He was to write it after another trip to Europe later this month to give four more recitals.  I was looking forward to receiving it during the latter part of the year.  He was unable to attend our celebrations next May because of work commitments at St Thomas’.  However, in July 2016, he was to come over to give a recital for the Wakefield & District Organists’ Association to celebrate their 125thanniversary and I was going to inform OCs of the Cathedral recital.  Sadly, we will never hear the anthem nor his excellent playing.  Even more sad is that he will never see his child which he and his wife, Lily, were expecting in September.


plaHis solemn funeral liturgy will take place in St Thomas' Church, Fifth Avenue on Saturday, 12th September at 11am.  Having looked at the church's website, it appears you will be able to listen to the service.

John North