Hello, I’m Jacqui and have been a member of Gainsborough Choral Society since 2016.
Recently, I have taken over the role of Librarian from another Jackie, I hope to keep up all her good work.
Always having a love of music but never performing it other than in school productions, my singing experience had been limited. By chance a few years ago, a friend persuaded me to join Gringley Church choir, they were looking for new members particularly in the Alto section. Having no experience at this, they still welcomed me and I began to learn.
As the years progressed my ability and confidence grew, with their encouragement I took the big leap and joined the Choral Society.
I am so glad I did. Who knew I would have the chance to sing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in the mighty Lincoln Cathedral just 2 years later.
It is great to have the challenge of learning a new piece of music, have the satisfaction when it all clicks into place and then to perform it with an orchestra. It is good for the soul and one of the great joys in life.
Music has always been part of my life. My mother sang in choral societies wherever we lived, so it seems it rubbed off on me! I sang in school choirs and learnt to play the violin from the age of 7.
After school, music took a bit of a back seat, while sport, which had also been important to me at school, took over, but in later years I began choral singing, first at Doncaster Choral Society, and then at Gainsborough, and for a period I managed to sing in both.
Over the past 15 or so years I have also run our small village choir in Gringley on the Hill.
Deirdre - Hon. Secretary
Deirdre joined the Choral Society as an alto in September 1987, within two weeks of moving up to the Gainsborough area from Hampshire. A year later, she joined the committee, and the following year became Hon. Secretary, a post she has held since, apart from stepping back for one year in the mid-nineties.
Deirdre’s passion for singing began at an early age as her extended family were very involved in their local church. At the age of six, she found that she had been volunteered for the church choir, the first girl to be admitted owing to a lack of boys! At that time, the choir sang in four-part harmony, and she learnt to read and sing plainsong, psalm chants, anthems and excerpts from various sacred cantatas and oratorios. She continued in the choir until her mid-teens.
By her mid-twenties, Deirdre eventually found herself living in Hampshire and became reacquainted with singing through her village church, in a local choir and as a member of Overton Choral Society. (Deirdre had auditioned for the Waynflete Singers in Winchester, the audition being taken by one Martin Neary, then organist and choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral and subsequently at Westminster Abbey. His advice was to join a local choral society to polish up her rusty sight-reading skills and to then reapply. However, having found the first audition nerve-wracking enough, she stayed put at Overton Choral Society!)
From September 2005, Deirdre has sung in the tenor section of GCS and continues to enjoy the many challenges of choral singing and concert promotion. She currently also sings in All Saints’ Church choir, Bishop Grosseteste University Chapel Choir, The Lincoln Singers and occasionally with the Isle Chamber Choir. She also loves taking part in the informal Shapenote singing group in Lincoln and visiting folk clubs and festivals.
Donna - Treasurer
I’m Donna, and I have been a member of the Choral Society since 2011, and became the Treasurer a couple of years later. I am responsible for the finances for the Society, which includes membership subscriptions and concert budgeting.
I have been involved with amateur theatre and performing since the late 1980s, having performed in many shows, with various companies across Lincolnshire. I have also been lucky enough to perform at the Royal Albert Hall on a few occasions, as part of “The Really Big Chorus”. My singing passion is the works of “Gilbert and Sullivan”, and some of you may remember our “Night at the Savoy” concert back in March 2019; a truly special evening.
Thank you for your interest in Gainsborough Choral Society. I, along with my all of my Committee colleagues, are happy to answer any questions you may have about being a member of our Society, becoming a Patron, our social media platforms, or any general enquiries about concert tickets. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
I am not exactly sure how long I have been a member of Gainsborough Choral Society but it is over 30 years. We used to go to Carols for All when our sons were in the High School Choir. This inspired me to join the Choral Society when Philip Ainsworth was the Musical Director and I have never regretted it.
As time went by the Librarian felt unable to continue and a new one was being sought. I volunteered!! The librarian was automatically a member of the committee. I have enjoyed being the Librarian despite the difficulties it throws up at times and am now happy to pass that mantle on and let someone else offer their passion to the role.
The singing has brought me great pleasure with such a wide variety of works being performed.
I joined GCS in January 2011, after I finished my headship in Bedford and returned to this area. I had been Head of Sixth Form at Queen Elizabeth’s High School in the mid-90s and had sung with the school choir and joined GCS for ‘Carols for All’ at that time. In the autumn of 2010, having just finished a 30-year career teaching and leading in six different schools (where I always sang with the choir, in addition to being a member of various choral groups outside school) I was missing singing, and it was wonderful to start again as a member of the soprano section in Gainsborough Choral Society.
I am an avid user of Twitter for networking in education, and was happy to work with Clare Larden to set up and make use of a GCS Twitter account to promote what we do and to connect with other musical individuals, groups and organisations. Clare and I were co-opted onto the GCS Committee in the light of this in 2021. Please follow us! @GainsChoralSoc – currently around 300 followers, but growing all the time!
Thanks to Hugo, I joined GCS in January 2017 not long after relocating ‘up North’ with my husband and two boys. After a few years of wonderful singing, my enthusiasm for getting involved and having a say saw me co-opted onto the committee last year! I am a piano teacher by day and music is my life….
I am now in charge of the Society’s website so do let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see included or amended (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Born in Lincolnshire, Alex was a member of both the Lincolnshire Youth Wind Orchestra and the Lincolnshire Youth Symphony Orchestra. He was also a member of the Grant Maintained Schools’ National Orchestra, now the English Schools Orchestra. He went on to study music at the University of Huddersfield, majoring in performance on Bass Trombone and Clarinet before studying for an MA in conducting, studying with Barrie Webb.
Since 2000 Alex has worked for Lincolnshire Music Service as an instrumental tutor. In 2007 he took over conducting the Lincolnshire Youth Concert Orchestra until 2017 when he was appointed as conductor of the Lincolnshire Youth Wind Orchestra. As well as being a busy orchestral and pit musician in the local area, Alex also conducts the orchestra and teaches the clarinet and saxophone at the University of Lincoln.
We welcomed Alex as our new Musical Director in September 2020.
I started singing pre-teens in the church choir at Hallgate Congregational church, Doncaster; that’s when I wasn’t required to hand-pump the organ bellows – we’re talking 1950’s here! This lasted about 3 years then I didn’t do any more singing until I went to see a GCS concert where my daughter Natalie, a QEHS student, was taking part. This was around 1999/2000. I noticed in the programme that new members were being invited to join and when I saw that no auditions would be needed, I thought that I was in with a chance. The rest, as they say, is history – most of it ancient! I am also the society’s Making Music representative.
Music has been part of my life since the age of 8 when I played my paternal grandfather’s 78 record of Rachmaninov playing his Prelude in C sharp minor. I became totally obsessed and I can still hear all the crackles and pops every time I hear the piece played.
It wasn’t until I attended QEHS Gainsborough and studied music under Philip Ainsworth’s inspirational tuition that the nuts and bolts of music made sense. I went on to study O and A level music, and joined the Choral Society in 1984. I had already helped out “behind the scenes” during my schooldays.
I was elected onto the committee in the late 1980s and took on the role of publicity officer for 10 years until work commitments forced me to step down. Sadly, I left the Society in 2005 due to ongoing work issues. I am now happy to have returned after such a long absence and following a career change. I was inspired to return by hearing the first performance of David Fawcett’s cantata A Sure Refuge in November 2021. David is an exact contemporary of mine from my QEHS days and we both studied music under Philip’s direction.
Music has remained a lifelong obsession, one that I am glad to say I won’t be relinquishing. I have a passion for collecting vinyl LPs despite the amount of storage space that they require. I attend music festivals such as Buxton, Cheltenham and the BBC Proms every year and go to concerts and operas in most UK cities. I listen to everything from Machaut and Dufay to 21st century composers. I occasionally like to indulge in some pop and jazz when time allows. My “Desert Island Disc” is Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony. I used to write concert reviews for Seen and Heard International website and hope to resume writing when I eventually retire in a few years’ time.
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