Wandsworth School Choir Reunion – 2010

2nd October 2010

Wandsworth Choir Reunion 2010

Above from left to right are (foreground) – Andy Smetham, Jim Hughes, Mary Lince (with her back to the camera), Keith Eldridge and Cynthia Phillimore. Ex-head boy, Peter Eastwood can be seen on the right and Dr.Solomon’s daughter, Juliet is on the left

Although the attendance was slightly down this year, our ninth choir reunion was as enjoyable as any we have held in the past.

St.Paul’s Community Centre, Inner Park Road, SW19, has become our second home and for the 32 ex-choir members present, and a few ‘other halves’, increasing the attendance to 35, it was business as usual on the first Saturday in October.

It was a pleasure to see Cynthia Phillimore well enough to be able to join us again, but sad that Martin Lince could not attend this year. However, Mary was able to keep the Lince flag flying and hopefully they will both be able to join us again next year.

One amusing story that appeared in the London and national press involved Iain Coombes, a loyal member of the choir who hardly ever misses a reunion. However, he couldn’t attend this year, as his employer had awarded him a bonus trip to Scotland, as a reward for his assistance when he helped to deliver a baby in the back of his private taxi!

Musical commitments denied us the pleasure of catching up with two ‘old boys’ who continue to enjoy their most successful careers in the profession. Adrian Thompson and Eric Crees both had other engagements, Adrian was rehearsing with English Touring Opera and Eric was honouring his position as principal trombone at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Ray Pritchard

Ray Pritchard, with school cap, standing next to David Munden at Choir Reunion 2010

Shortly after the reunion, someone who was unable to attend this year asked me why the events are always held in London. That prompted me to carry out a bit of research and the results revealed some interesting statistics. Only half a dozen or so of the regular attendees have to make long journeys, from places such as Dorset, IOW, Wiltshire, Shropshire, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The remaining 85% live in or
around the London area, which emphasised the reason for the chosen location.

It is always satisfying to hear tributes paid to ex-members of staff and Russell Burgess was mentioned on BBC Radio 3 during an interview with composer John Rutter, on Christmas Day, 2009. To use the word mentioned is a bit of an understatement, as John Rutter described Russell as “the Music Director sent from Heaven”, a description that very few of us would disagree with. We never forget the impact Russell had on our lives and the interview concluded with a recording of ‘When Icicles Hang’, the work that John Rutter wrote especially for us in 1973.

As in the past, we are indebted to the Old Wandsworthians Memorial Trust for the grant that we receive and our sincere thanks were again recorded. It is always greatly appreciated and helps enormously towards the finances required in organising the events. By the time we all left at around 11pm, torrential rain had flooded roads everywhere, but thankfully everyone got home safely and we could all look forward to the 2011 reunion, which is already booked for 1st October.

Wandsworth Choir Reunion 2010

The happy group captured in the picture are (l to r) Peter Love, Les West, Graham Preston, his wife Kathy and Chris Lacey. Mary Lince can be seen sitting at the table on the left, in the background

Ray Pritchard

Attendance list

Chris Cheek, Mike Coysh, Graham Day, Peter Eastwood, Keith Eldridge, Wilf Finbow, Jim Hughes, Brian Johnston, Chris Jolly, Chris Lacey, Mary Lince, Richard Long, Peter Love, David Munden, Michael Nicholls, Geoff Park, Cynthia Phillimore, Graham Preston, Ray Pritchard, Pat Read, Brian Sawyer, Fred Shaub, Andy Smetham, Rob Smith, Juliet Solomon, Nigel Spearing, Mark Stevens, John Tobin, Geoff Wake, Geof West, Les West, Ian York

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