Winthorpe and District Choir

 Winthorpe and District Choir were formed on the 18th November 2002 by Roy Brumpton at the request of Hector Young, both residents of Winthorpe. The aim of the choir was singing for pleasure and enjoyment. Twenty people, many who could not sing or read music, joined with Roy as the Choirmaster and Mrs. Sylvia Lloyd as the pianist. Each member agreed to pay a subscription of £5 to meet the expenses of hiring of the venue and the provision of music. Rehearsals, which were every Monday evening, started in the Community Centre but due to its popularity the choir moved shortly after it was formed to the Village Hall. It was decided to have a break during the summer period for the choir to rest their vocal chords.

 At its beginning the choir used the Women's Institute piano which was many years old. This soon became obsolete and a replacement was obtained from St. Leonard's Church in Newark. 

After nearly a year of rehearsals and the choir had become more proficient, it was ready to perform its first concert. This would be a fund-raising concert for the village and it would also give the audience the opportunity to have a good old ‘Sing a Long.'

‘Come and Sing with the Choir' took place to a packed house at the Community Centre on the 8th December 2003. The roof was raised when the audience joined in with the singing. The proceeds of the evening (£270) going to the All Saints' Church Bell Fund at Winthorpe. This fund, which started in 2001, had to find £25,000 for a major restoration of its six bells. This proved a boost to the Church Bell Fund and to the choir's confidence. This highly successful evening was complete with mulled wine, coffee and mince pies.

Several concerts were planned for 2004, which turned out to be a busy year for the choir's twenty three members.

The first was a ‘Musical Miscellany' spring concert in April in the Community Centre. The programme included well-known light classical favourites and excerpts from the popular musical ‘Oliver.' The proceeds (£263) going towards the Community Centre Funds. The concert ended with cheese and wine.

On Sunday the 6th June (anniversary of D Day) the choir led the singing for the re-dedication of Nos. 1, 3 and 5 bells at All Saints' Church. This was a Service of Thanksgiving for the completion of a 2 year restoration project of the churches six bells. It was the first time the choir had sung in the church and it proved to be popular with good acoustics.

To complete the Village Festival weekend at the end of June the choir performed a ‘Songs of Praise' at All Saints' Church. Several weeks previous to the concert, villagers were invited to submit their favourite hymns. This then gave for the choir time to practice.

The ‘Songs of Praise' has become so popular that it now runs annually.

December proved to be a busy month for the choir. It started on the 6th when the choir, whose membership was now twenty-five, performed an evening of ‘Christmas Music' at the Community Centre. They were joined by members of the Winthorpe Primary School Choir. This proved highly successful. Mulled wine and mince pies were served which helped to make the Christmas concert very enjoyable and successful. The proceeds of the evening went to the Choir's Funds.

This concert was followed by a carol service at All Saints' Church, again with members of the Winthorpe Primary School Choir. A few days later some of the choir members joined with the school children singing carols around the village.

An enjoyable time was had by one and all.

For a brief period in the early part of 2005 Roy was unable to continue as Choirmaster due to ill health. Winthorpe resident and the village church organ player Alan Stone stepped in and deputized.

Alan was the Choirmaster for the spring concert in the Community Centre with the proceeds going to the Village Festival Fund.

In July the choir sang at All Saints' Church for the blessing of the churches new entrance gates. These gates were replacing the original ones that had been stolen in July 2002. Roy was in the congregation at this service and how proud he must have felt in hearing his choir's performance.

Towards the end of 2006 Roy informed the choir that due to other commitments he was unable to continue as Choirmaster. The choir was unable to find a replacement and so the choir sadly folded up after providing music to the village for nearly four years.

The choir's fund was divided between All Saints' Church, the Village Hall, the Community Centre and Winthorpe Cricket Club.This proved a boost to the Cricket's Club fund raising programme, as they had lost their pavilion, due to arson, in November 2004. 

Thank you Winthorpe and District Choir for bringing pleasure to many.

Pat Finn.

March 2008.

FOOTNOTE

Roy Brumpton has been involved with music since the age of 9, when he was a choir boy at St. Peter's Church, Dunston in Lincolnshire. His mother attended the local chapel, but Roy recalls joining the church choir because they had superior Sunday school outings by train to Skegness.

Later he was Choirmaster at the church in Washingborough, and became conductor of the Washingborough and District Choral Society. For many years he took part in the annual Lincoln Music Festival, winning awards for his bass solos. He was a member of Lincoln Cathedral's voluntary choir and later was appointed deputy conductor of the Lincoln Orpheus Male Voice Choir.

He then took over the North Hykeham and District Choral Society. Initially this was a temporary arrangement, due to their conductor's illness. But Roy remained there for 11 years. During that period, they put on several large choral works, culminating in a prestigious concert in Lincoln Cathedral in aid of Oxfam's 50th anniversary.

Sometime after moving to Winthorpe, Roy sang with the Southwell Choral Society and after several years, became their chairman. Leaving Southwell, he joined the Newark Choral Society, and sometimes sang with the voluntary choir at Newark Parish Church.

Before being asked by Hector Young to form the Winthorpe Village Choir, Roy had retired from music. He enjoyed the few years with the village choir, and was very proud of their achievements. Sadly ill health prevented him from carrying on. It is hoped that one day someone else will bring them back to life again!

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