JONATHAN WELLS - CHAIR
My dad was a cathedral chorister and I sang at school, but I drifted away from choral music and decided I wasn’t up to it. Then in 2008 my friend Kate recruited me and I have never looked back!
My technical musical knowledge is limited, but improving. At the start of rehearsals my performance is not at all good. But as the weeks go on, using You Tube and CDs in the car, I gradually improve. Invariably, by the time of the concert, I seem able to be part of a performance that gives lots of pleasure to others, and generates for me a great sense of achievement.
I’m lucky in a way, as I don’t know most of the pieces we perform. It’s a journey of discovery, and within 10 weeks or so, I find I have grown very fond of works like Bach’s St John’s Passion or Britten’s Saint Nicolas which I have assumed were beyond me. I also find the spiritual aspects of what we sing very moving at times, in a good and healthy way.
I like the social as well as the creative aspects of being in a choir. I also like the choir because it helps Haslingfield be a vibrant and inclusive community.
My other interests include reading, the arts in general, televised sport and gazing blankly out of the window. My musical interests also encompass early Genesis , Pink Floyd, The Smiths, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
KATE DICKENS - SECRETARY & WEBSITE ADMINISTRATOR
I’ve always loved being involved in making music. When we moved to Haslingfield nearly 30 years ago, one of the first things I did was to explore local opportunities to sing. I was thrilled to find an established choir right here in the village which had a reputation for performing some unusual pieces and welcoming newcomers. After a long day at work, singing always relaxes and invigorates me and the post-rehearsal buzz puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Both my daughters also sang with the choir in their teenage years, and they too now enjoy choral singing as a hobby in their busy lives.
I love the variety of programmes we perform, which have included school choirs, dancers, instrumentalists and even local celebrities. It is always such a pleasure to hear the wonderful soloists, many of whom have established careers in the musical world. I feel very honoured and proud to be able to perform in concerts with such talented people.
With our new conductor Paul Jackson, we aim to move forward and continue to broaden our repertoire and performance. If you have an interest in music and want to share your passion with a friendly group of like-minded people, come and give us a try.
MEG BEDFORD - TREASURER
I joined Haslingfield choir shortly after we moved to the village, about 24 years ago. It proved a great way of getting to know people and I especially enjoy chatting to other singers in the tea breaks and at our choir parties. Choir members come from other villages and from the centre of Cambridge in addition to Haslingfield, so there are constantly new people to meet. The rehearsals, in the warm and welcoming environment of the Methodist Church are always fun, although we work quite hard!
My enthusiasm for singing has always eclipsed my ability to read music well, but the wonderful thing about Haslingfield choir is that you don’t have to have a strong musical background to join and there is no daunting audition. The range of music we sing is interesting and wide, but I’m always pleased when we revisit old favourites, especially ‘The Messiah’.
I love the excitement of the concert day, when in the afternoon we practice with our orchestra and soloists for the first time at All Saints’ Church and then return for our performance dressed in our concert finery. Following the thrill of the concert, I always enjoy attending our after party for a welcome glass of wine!
HELEN SNELLING - LIBRARIAN
I’m a relatively recent member to Haslingfield Choir, having been singing with them for about 5 years, although I have lived in Haslingfield for well over 20 years. Again, it was in conversation with friends that I heard about the choir, and having been to a concert, thought I would give it a try, especially as there is no audition to pass and you can come and try it out without having to sign your life away!
Haslingfield Choir is a friendly village society, where we work quite hard in rehearsals towards our concert performances, but with lots of laughs and there’s always time to chat over tea and biscuits in the break. Shortly after joining the choir, it was suggested that I take over the role of choir librarian, which had become vacant. This role involves researching and sourcing the vocal and orchestral scores needed for each concert, whether on loan from other music collections or on hire directly from music publishers. I’m joined in this role by Juliet Greer, who has excellent organisational skills in recording exactly who has which copy and who to chase for late returns after the actual performance!
My day job is music librarian at the Pendlebury Library of Music, which is based at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, in the same building as the West Road Concert Hall. My work contacts have proved very useful in sourcing materials for the choir, and I’m able to publicise our concerts as well to a captive audience!
JULIET GREER - ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN
I started singing in a choir when I was a student at university some years ago - it was a way of continuing to take part in music making, without having to keep up the practice and commitment of an instrument. I loved it straightaway, particularly as it was a large choral society and we made quite a powerful sound.
Since then, I have sung on and off in various amateur choirs, and in Haslingfield Choir for about 7 years. I now help Helen with some of the librarian duties at the start and end of each term. Singing in the choir is an important part of my week and I always feel better after a choir practice. There is something uplifting about communal singing and I have enjoyed the range of music we have tackled since joining this choir.
Our new musical director, Paul Jackson, approaches his role with the right balance of encouragement & high expectations alongside the understanding that we are not professionals. In fact some of us can’t read music. It is a really positive experience to be able to produce a surprisingly polished performance alongside local orchestral musicians and talented soloists.
ROSE CLARKSON - COMMITTEE MEMBER
My father was always in demand to sing tenor parts in choral music, so I wanted to join in. Tenors being, as ever, in short supply, choir directors were willing to have me in the sopranos in hopes of persuading Dad to sing too. As a result, while still at school, I sang a range of religious choral music. At university there was a large, non-auditioning choir with which I and several undergraduate friends sang a variety of works.
I joined Haslingfield Choir when I arrived in the village in 1987 and have now sung in more than sixty concerts. It’s good fun with pleasant people, gets me out of the house on a Tuesday night and I regularly exercise my muscles shifting chairs and staging for the concert.
ANN GARLING - COMMITTEE MEMBER
I joined the choir as an alto in 1978, though I had sung soprano in my girls' school choir for about three years, and I fairly soon moved to the soprano ranks at Haslingfield..I had sung in the University choral society at Bristol for three years, which really whetted my appetite for singing in a mixed choir with an orchestra.
After a long pause, and three children later, I felt it was time have another go at joining a choir, and to find that there was a choir in Haslingfield so close to the village of Foxton where we live, seemed a real opportunity.
At that time, the choir rehearsed in the Haslingfield Primary School hall. Eventually a small contingent of Foxton singers made the weekly trip to Haslingfield for rehearsals. In 2004 I took over from Desmond Cheale (bass and treasurer) the job of writing the programme notes and compiling the programmes for the choir concerts. Looking back I am amazed at the variety of works Margaret Houghton guided us through. The choir's portfolio is really impressive.
Besides singing and going to quite a lot of (mostly chamber music) concerts in Cambridge, I enjoy trying to tame parts of our extended garden, which we are making efforts to turn into a wildlife sanctuary, and trying to forgive the badgers, moles and deer when they dig up the grass and devour things we had rather they didn't!