Letter from Geraldine regarding JT:
This is to send my heartfelt thanks to the Choir for your support and friendship over the years to my dad, which as you know he valued greatly.
As for those who were able to sing for him at his funeral, I must pass on to you how everyone who attended commented on how magnificent you all were, and how you made the day into an uplifting and joyous memorial to him. My family, friends and I are so grateful to you all. In returning to The Dove for his ‘afterglow’ you helped to fulfill his final wish, which was:
“(After my days) hopefully there will be enough in the kitty to buy ‘my choral mates’ a pint in the Dove pub where they can meet some of my other friends. God bless you all! Love you all! Keep singing and have a good one!!”
Big hugs to you all
Hello Tony, Nick and Den,
When I last came to Practice to announce my choir retirement, I was moved by your offer Tony to give my recovery a bit longer to improve and come back again if or whenever possible. I have longed for that ever since but I have to admit that, despite more recent attention by my doctor and visits to hospital specialists, my future health is slow to recover. It is now nearly two years since vertigo, loss of energy and a struggle walking in the dark all started. My ability to sing well was tested yesterday at a funeral – soon running out of breath!
Having lost so much practice time with you over the last two years, I’m afraid it is best to finally call it a day. I was sad when I mentioned this to you all that Thursday night after 24 happy years – it has all been a great experience and I’ve enjoyed the friendship and the challenges to sing proudly with the lads. Jean, too, has enjoyed good friendship and the help when I was in Papworth.
On two lighter notes, I’m always chuffed at getting all the notes right at practices and concert – sticking to the PP’s and FF’s – but never quite getting all the clarity of words to come out impeccably! The other – in the mid-90s I had the privilege of singing top-tenor for several months – quite a challenge when hearing more of the Baritones. I also recall, once or twice, changing our positions at practice and on stage! What would have been an interesting and enlightening learning feature – and probably making us more versatile – would be once every four to five weeks at Practice have our pyramid support Basses and Baritones change ends. Happy Days… and more laughs!
I’ll return all the music items to you soon, Nick and anything else from the past worth saving. To you, Tony – an inspiration sitting and singing side by side on top of those super bottom F’s and Den – for all the friendly leadership, help, guidance and concern for my health over the past four years.
Thanks for it all and Good Luck in the future,
I have to write to express my admiration for the quality of the singing last night. SEMVC were simply outstanding. I am very fond of Faures The Cantique de Jean Racine and could not wish to hear better control, diction and variation. It was simply very, very well done (and in sharp contrast to the opening numbers of the Leigh Orpheus who sang well enough in a rough and ready MVC – John, bless him, would have said dismissively ‘Woolpacked’ – way, but simply were not in the same league). But it didn’t stop there; for the rest of the first half the Choir, our Choir, continued to be precise and controlled, perfectly audible when soft and with blended power when the afterburners came on.
After the interval the visitors raised their game, perhaps stung into emulation, but there remained no doubt where the real quality lay.
SEMVC has become an accomplished choir, ready for competition if you fancy that route. Such assuredness does not come without sweat; Mark, the other members of the music team and the choir members themselves deserve rich praise for what has been achieved. You all have my gratitude and admiration for an evening never less than pleasurable and with many moments of delight.
Of course, you understand that, rather like the English Rugby team, your very success means that you will be judged by the highest of standards and that now you have become masters of one style, the demand is that you acquire an infinite variety, that you never allow the audience to know what to expect! But that is a challenge for the future; now is the time for a little self congratulation. Well done – and that goes for organiser John as well.
We know Mum has already written to thank you, but we wanted to extend our own heartfelt thank you to you all. As some of you will no doubt know, Dad joined the choir twenty odd years ago as part of his retirement plan: it was meant to be a hobby to keep him sharp and busy in his retirement; what it became was a lifeline, to both of our parents.
As those of you who were able to make it to the funeral will have heard, second only to family time, Dad loved singing and loved the choir. In the last year or so as his illness progressed, Mum used to say you could see him light up at choir practice. When Dad became ill, no end of choir friends called and wrote with offers of help and support. So many of you helped in so many ways, doing things in the garden, chauffeuring Dad to and from practice, ‘Rob sitting’ as Eddy used to say, and so many other practical bits and bobs.
When he was in hospital in April last year, and he got bored of us weeping around his bedside, he asked us to see if anyone from choir could pop in to see him… for a bit of normal conversation. Not only did you go to visit, but you took the choir to the ward and cheered his spirits with a song. And in October when Mum was in hospital and Dad was being cared for at the hospice; when we had to return to London, we felt dreadful leaving Dad on his own. Although given wonderful care at the hospice, he could do nothing to pass the time except look out the window. Again you rallied around, with several of you visiting Dad each day to keep him company, and probably do the crossword with him! When he got home, you went to the house with some Christmas cheer…that was probably the last time he enjoyed a song himself.
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the funeral – thank you. So many people there commented on how beautifully you sang. It wouldn’t have been right without the choir there singing. We smiled when you raised the roof at the end of the Lords prayer… imagining Dad encouraging you to give it some welly! We’re sorry we didn’t get to speak to many of you after the funeral, but those we did speak to offered such kind words and memories of our Dad, which meant so much.
Thank you: the choir has meant so much to Dad and Mum, in so many different ways. We just wanted you to know how much we appreciate everything you have done, and your kindness and friendship.
We very much enjoyed the concert we came along to in March, and look forward to the next time, and to the choir still being a part of our family.
With warmest wishes to you all,
Claire and Helen Pott