It all started when a few like-minded musical people met in the choir vestry of Bude Central Methodist Church on 17th October, 1951 to consider forming the Bude Choral Society.
The membership fee was fixed at 2/6d (12.5p) per annum, members purchased their own music. It was decided that the first performance should be Edward German's Merrie England, which was performed in March 1952 in the Headland Pavilion (now closed but previously was JJ's Bar and The Break Night Club).
The founder members were:
Mr George Fitzgeorge-Parker (President)
Mr. H.A. Lomax (Chairman)
Mr. T.S Petherick (Secretary)
Mr H. Walters (Treasurer)
Mrs. F.E. Carter (Conductor)
Miss K.B. Trott (Pianist)
Merrie England, which produced a profit of £10.7s.1d. (£10.35) was followed by Mendelssohn's Elijah and the concert version of Smetana's Bartered Bride. The music was hired from Plymouth Public Library, so that no member of the choir would “suffer hardship on being requested to purchase his/her music”.
BCS has gone from strength to strength, particularly under the leadership of their present Musical Director, John Hobbs, who has been resident conductor since 1969, with a gap between 1982 - 1988. This gap was admirably filled by Ian Garden, who is a past Music Director at St. Petroc's School in Bude; David Perrett, former Head of Music at Budehaven School, and Veronica Jones, who taught music and conducted in Launceston.
During the past 20 years the Choir has joined forces with Torrington, Holsworthy, Launceston, Tintagel and Truro Cathedral choirs.
In appreciation of SYLVIA GOLDSPINK 1933 - 2022)
It is with great sadness that we report the death of our beloved accompanist, Sylvia Goldspink, who died in the Royal Devon Hospital, on 2nd January, shortly after her 88th birthday. Her fine musicianship was well-known to Bude Choral Society for many years before she became its accompanist in January 2009 and we count ourselves extremely fortunate to have benefitedfrom her great experience until the Spring of 2020, when the pandemic put a stop to the choir’s assembly for 18 months. The enjoyment of this liaison was equally shared, and, despite increasing mobility problems, she practised assiduously and was always well prepared to assist the choir’s rehearsals in the preparation of its concert programmes. Her hands remained supple and responsive, but It was not only her keyboard skills that were so highly valued, as, for instance, with her extensive musical knowledgeshe was able to advise on a composer’s intention through having worked with that composer and gained first-hand verification.
Sylvia was a distinguished harpsichordist and toured widely with her Trio, often performing in ‘period costume’. She was also a fine viola player and became a stalwart of the Hartland Chamber Orchestra, with whom she appeared as a piano soloist on a number of occasions. She was an excellent teacher, both of instruments and in the classroom, where she once claimed, incorrectly, at an early interview, that she could play the guitar, as that was a requirement, and then proceeded to undertake a ‘crash course’ upon being offered the post!
Sylvia examined for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, travelling all over the world, including America, Australia, New Zealand and Northern Ireland during the troubles, where, on one occasion, a bomb exploded outside, in the street, during an exam, upsetting the young candidate. Whilst comforting her, Sylvia asked if this often happened, whereupon the tearful girl sobbed, “I don’t know, I haven’t taken an exam before!” She excelled at the role of Coordinator for the ABRSM, when she supported various teams and gave advice to colleagues who were suffering days of ‘poor’ candidates. Telling people what to do came naturally to her, but always with warmth and good humour!
She was known as a ‘good sport’, even appearing as a gymnast in concerts with ‘The Close Shavers’, a close harmony group founded by her husband, Peter, when they moved from London to a Devon smallholding, near Holsworthy, where they kept pigs, sheep, cattle and poultry, under the watchful eye of their Irish Wolf Hound, Tomkins.
David Robinson tells of how he played piano duets with Sylvia for many years. This presented problems, because, with her 'special' figure, she took up most of the keyboard, so he had to lean over her, frequently resting his left arm on her right leg. He pointed this out to her one day, and her response was “What a shame I didn't notice!” He used to telephone her regularly and their conversation always finished in the same way - “Be good!” to which she would reply,”Not a chance!”
Sylvia remained bright and alert to the very end. She always enjoyed her hospital visits, when she would flirt with all the young doctors and crack jokes with her nurses.
What a joy it has been to have known such a lovely, gifted lady, mother, teacher, cook, musician and friend!
David Robinson & John Hobbs, January 2022
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Charity no. 1101044