Birkenhead Choral Society
Patron: Dame Lorna Muirhead DBE,
Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside
Musical Director: David Holroyd Chair: Collette Byrne
Rehearsal Accompanist: Jon Barton
Choral music since 1956
Reg Charity No 1004202
We wish Jim Wrightson a happy retirement as he completes his period of office as Director of Hoylake Choral Society and moves on to other musical work across the water. Please see this page for information about Jim's last concert with Hoylake. Jim's successor is David Bebbington - Hoylake Choral Society proved the following infomation:
"David has worked across the musical spectrum as a professional soloist, accompanist, vocal coach, conductor, musical director and teacher. He gained a BMus (Hons) degree from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where his principal study was piano and second study voice. He was awarded a scholarship as Director of Music for Cardiff University Church Choir. His previous work includes artistic director of Cardiff Style Ladies Barbershop Chorus, conductor/accompanist of the Newport Chorale, and musical director of Cardiff Male Choir. David is currently Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer for MA Popular Music at The University of Chester. "
Our performance of the Messiah was a sellout with last minute ticket purchasers having to be squeezed in at the very back of the church! The concert was well received with a standing ovation from a very appreciative audience. Read some of their comments here.
Charles Scarratt Music Award - anyone is welcome to attend this annual competition on Friday, 7th March, 2013, at 7:00pm at Birkenhead High School Academy. You are guaranteed an enjoyable evening of music from talented young musicians. Proceeds go to support the Music Fund which encourages young local musicians and commemorates the name of our founder, Charles Scarratt. You may pay at the door.
We have just obtained photos from our "Singing in the Rain" at Oxton Secret Gardens in 2013 - see here!
The choir were represented in force at the wedding of Jon and Jane Barton at Our Lady's Church, Birkenhead on Dec 7th 2013. Congratulations Jon (our accompanist) and his wife and we wish them every blessing on their future together.
There are a number of informal pictures taken inside the church which give an idea of its grandeur.
Click here to see the slideshow
We are pleased to have our first entry in the Cheshire Life magazine and you can see a flavour of our future plans here.
We are sorry to hear of the death of one of our long standing Friends, Mrs A Haywood, from Greasby.
Our sympathy goes out to members of the family, including one of our choir members. Her support has been much appreciated.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Charles Scarratt Music Award - full details here -
Congratulations to Richard Blundell (bass) and his wife Julia (alto) on the birth of their daughter Silvia Beatriz.
Helpline - 0151 643 9766
At the Annual General Meeting on Oct 1st the choir thanked John Mansley for the year he had supported us standing in as Chairman. Collette Byrne was elected to the Chair and made an encouraging statement of the way forward as she brought the meeting to a close. We are all grateful to outgoing Committee Members for their hard work, for those elected for the coming season and to our Musical Director, David Holroyd, for his professional leadership supported by Jon Barton, our accompanist.
We had a surprise contact via our website from a gentleman, Alexander Camilleri, in Malta who had a badge from Birkenhead Welsh Choral in his collection. Kay Scarratt tells us a bit more -
"The Birkenhead Welsh Choral Society is, I think, the choir where my parents first met in the 1920s when he was the accompanist and she was chief contralto. The conductor then was Mr. D R Jones. I don't know how long the choir lasted. I know that they rehearsed in Beechcroft Hall in Whetstone Lane. The Hall was on the opposite side from the YMCA, but a little further up the hill, just about on the first bend. The badge is similar to the Birkenhead Coat of Arms which father started using in the Male Voice Choir, then later with the BCS so it's possible/probable that he got the idea from the Welsh Choral."
Superb news! We are pleased to announce that Dame Lorna Muirhead, DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside has agreed to be our Patron. Many of you will have heard her supportive comments at our recent concert and we know that both choir and audience members will be pleased with this news
Well done to everyone who has advertised our website and thanks to all our visitors. Notice the counter has recently turned over to 10,000.
"I've just updated
the just giving website with pictures of the entire team on each peak -
some of whom were crazily waving flags at our jubilee concert!
Please can you pass on my thanks to the rest of the choir for their
support and words of wisdom! Have a wonderful summer and
see you in September. Claire"
. . . and it's not too late if anyone else wants to add to the sponsorship! DH
Further to a tidying up of the website please email me if you find problems. No page names have been changed so any bookmarks / favourites you have stored should still work. If you are looking for the Michael Hamm tribute pages please click here. The other way of finding information is to look at the sitemap.
Further to our highly successful Jubilee Concert I am pleased to report that the poster and programme will be stored by the Bodleian Library, Oxford as part of their Jubilee archives.
Congratulations to our accompanist from yesteryear, Ged Callacher, on his ordination to the priesthood: Friday 22nd June at St Monica’s, Bootle, at 7.00 p.m. It's as pity we can't all be there!
As a result of the superb support we had for our carol concert we have been able to donate £200 to Children in Need
We were delighted by the turnout at our Carol Concert on Dec 17th. Thank you to all those who supported and to the children of Tafelmusik Young Voices who sang some of their Christmas music. It was good to mix with the audience over refreshments and we were grateful to all those who supported in the background to make it possible. In his supportive message our Chairman concludes - "I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year - John Mansley"
We are very sorry that one of our long standing sopranos has had to
withdraw due to her husband's illness. Maura sends this message to
all our members:
Thank you very much for the lovely card you sent to me. I was very touched by all your little messages and am missing you all, and the singing. I wish you all great success in the forthcoming concert and for the remainder of the season, with love, Maura
The entry form for the Charles Scarratt Music Competition for 2012 is available here. The competition will take place on Friday 10th February 2012.
The winners of the Charles Scarratt Music Award have issued a cd in aid of the fund - details here.
Please visit the web page giving our concert details for the coming season which are now finalised
Congratulations to 'Father Ged' on his Ordination as Deacon - Ushaw College 11th June 2011. Ged Callacher was for several years our accompanist until he moved to Durham. A full report appears here . Wonderful pictures appear here with thanks to the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
Our sympathies are extended to the family and friends of Brian West (tenor) who died after a short period of illness. His friendship and musical ability will be missed.
We are saddened to hear of the death of Horace Hancock, a long standing singer and latterly supporter of the choir. His funeral was at St James' Church, New Brighton, Thursday April 28th attended by many of his friends and colleagues. We extend our sympathy to his family.
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is facing dramatic cuts in funding. See how you can help to support world class music here.
Our concert at the Philharmonic Hall with Elin Manahan Thomas was a great success. Thank you to everyone who supported it.
Congratulations to the three winners of the
competition for the Charles Scarratt Music Award
Kay Scarratt is pictured with the Adjudicator, Gareth Green, and prizewinners Anna Nielsen-Scott, Martin Kupllas and Chris Sullivan. Chris Watson is Director of Music at Birkenhead High School.
On Friday February 11th we joined with members of Hoylake Choral Society and family and friends of the late Michael Hamm to celebrate his friendship and contribution to our musical life. Thank you to all those who made it such a successful evening. The full programme is available here. A review of the evening appeared in the Wirral Champion for March 2011
January 10th 2011
We have just received news from Grace and David, members of our choir, of the birth of their son. Our warmest congratulations. We hope to reserve a place in the tenor or bass section for him to take up in due course.
December 11th 2010
Thanks to all those who attended our Carol Concert at St Saviour's Church. It was a pleasure to welcome singers from St Saviour's CE Aided Primary School to take part.
November 22nd 2010
We are delighted to have received a message from Zillah Beaumont in Greece, whose father and uncle were in the original Birkenhead Male Voice Choir. The picture below shows Charles Scarratt rehearsing the choir during their lunch break in St Mary's Church, Birkenhead.
November 7th 2010
Thanks to all for supporting our concert at St Hilary's Church Wallasey. We were delighted to welcome back the two soloists - Jocelyn Somerville and Stuart O'Hara who gave a very impressive performance.
September 25th 2010
September 25th 2010
As an experiment programme notes and Youtube (c) sample videos are being added to the 'future concerts' page. This is to give you some background before the concert and to help make your experience more enjoyable. Please note that the arrangements may differ in detail, for example the YouTube (c) video may show an orchestra where we are using the organ or vice versa.. In most cases the notes come from Wikipedia (c) so you get a variety of opinions.
We are very sorry to hear of the death of Michael Hamm, a committed past member,
ex vice Chairman and supporter of the society.
Click here for an appreciation of his life and music
In case you missed the front page look at our concert programme for the coming season:
Click here for news of our superb concert programme
ELIN MANAHAN THOMAS
Congratulations to the three winners of the
competition for the Charles Scarratt Music Award
First Prizewinner, Selim Ungut (Piano), with 2nd Christopher Sullivan (Alto Sax), and 3rd, Anna Nielsen-Scott (Piano), shown with Adjudicator Edward Warren and Kay Scarratt, daughter of Charles Scarratt.
Dec 19th 2009
As a result of our Christmas Celebrations we have been able to send £110 to BBC
Children in Need.
Thank you to those who supported the raffle or made a donation instead of sending Christmas cards.
Nov 14th 2009
We had a great turnout for our performance of Rutter's Requiem and Hummel's Mass in B flat at St Saviour's Church, Oxton. In addition we sang the Hallelujah Chorus by Handel and our soprano soloists, Jocelyn Somerville, sang an aria, also from the Messiah.
As a result we were able to donate an extra £119 to the Children in Need Appeal.
Oct 10th 2009
The society were delighted with the turnout for the 'Come & Sing' Messiah in aid of the Charles Scarratt Appeal . Everyone had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening at St Saviour's Church, Oxton. We were pleased with the performance which was enhanced by local soloists Jocelyn Somerville, Imogen Garner, Peter Bates and Stuart O'Hara, accompanied by Jon Barton on the organ and under the baton of David Holroyd. All profits are to be donated to the Fund and so far we have given over £900.
Oct 5th 2009
At the AGM tonight Birkenhead Choral Society were pleased to elect their new Chairman, Brenda Losekoot. We are also pleased that Jon Barton has accepted a permanent position as our rehearsal accompanist. We hope you will hear him playing at many of our concerts.
Congratulations and thank you to all the people working on the new Committee. Thank you too for all the support I have had as Chairman for the last 5 years - DH.
June 29th 2008
The performance of Vierne's Messe Solennelle and the plethora of other French music on June 29th was greatly enhanced by the hire of a digital organ from the Lancashire firm of
This was made possible by a grant from Wirral Borough Council’s ‘Culture for All’ fund. As a result we had two organs and three organists which made for a lively and memorable evening.
Looking ahead to the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Charles Scarratt, founder of Birkenhead Choral Society, first details of the Charles Scarratt Music Award Fund have been announced. This is intended to provide three prizes each year to young musicians from Wirral.
Fuller details are available here. We hope to have a special event next year in conjunction with this.
January 30th 2008
Shirley Potter (Chairman, Formby Choral Society) and David
were welcomed at the Al-Ghazali Centre, Liverpool
by Farhan Abu Hassan.
Farhan intoned the Muslim Call to Prayer in our performance of "The Armed Man" in April 2008.
Thank you to all those who helped us to support the Children's hospice, Claire House:
November 24th 2007
An excellent concert at St Saviours, Oxton using the new staging
Sept 8th 2007
More good news as we learnt that Wirral Borough Council, in their support of community initiatives, have granted us a significant sum towards the cost of our new staging. We are grateful to the areas of Heswall / Pensby & Thingwall, Greasby, Frankby, Irby, Upton & Woodchurch, West Wirral and Oxton / Prenton, who all supported the donation in recognition of the number of singers and audience who come from those areas.
Sept 1st 2007
We enjoyed sharing in the celebration of David Williams' wedding to Ruth at Hoylake. It was a tremendous occasion and 30 of us formed a small choir led by David Holroyd.
On June 18th we were delighted to hear from Awards for All that we had been granted 50% funding for our new staging. The current staging was well worn and may have been responsible for some unusual musical effects as we strove to balance on an increasing wobbly base. It will be much safer and more versatile so that access for disabled people can be facilitated. It is modular in construction so that we can have different arrangements in different churches to suit the situation.
A recent photograph shows how the back rows of the choir disappear from view and we hope you will find the new system a great improvement.
We are pleased to acknowledge our gratitude.