A page for gathering together things of interest and memories of the various editions of the choir
For some years now Gerald Battersby has been creating clever drawings for use in our programmes. He also prints these for us. He made Noteworthy rehearsal files for the choir too. Such are his talents. He has kindly provided some drawings made for our 2016 Summer Concert series 'Iolanthe', directed by Daphne West, accompaned by Mary Ellis. These appeared in the programme & posters for the events.
Daphne West Andrew John Jo
Helen Ray Julie Jan
Hazel Roger Francis
Gerald has this drawing, from our summer concert 2017, as a card for sale in St. Mary's, Dunsford. One for Tim & the altos!
June Squire has very kindly heeded my request for a potted history of the choir
& provided an excellent photo from 2003/4
Singing in Dunsford has been a popular pastime for many years. In the early 1970’s Ron and Janet Smith, both musicians, moved into the village and formed two choirs. Ron directed an occasional four part choir for concerts and events in the church and Janet trained the Dunsford WI choir which sang successfully in local festivals and events.
After Janet’s death in 1992 and the eventual closure of the WI choir its accompanist, Frances Archer, headmistress of the school, invited the husbands of the remaining WI choir ladies to link up and form a new four part choir. This became the Dunsford Singers.
Originally the members were Dunsford residents, happy in the knowledge they could attend weekly rehearsals without first having an audition. This has continued to the present day. As popularity spread more singers from the Teign Valley villages, Exeter and Whitestone were welcomed into the choir. Each year a regular programme of concerts would be rehearsed and given in Dunsford and other venues further afield, eg Exeter Cathedral (Faure’s Requiem), The Mint, St Michael’s Heavitree, Ide, Lustleigh and Castle Drogo. In recent years Kingsteignton, Chudleigh, Dawlish and Teign Valley villages have been added to the list.
Following Frances Archer’s resignation subsequent conductors were June Squire, Catherine Rees-Stephan and Daphne West, each introducing new and unfamiliar works which increased the choir’s repertoire considerably. The present conductor, Tim Pithers, has continued to expand and widen the music bringing it to a high and exciting level.
For over 25 years each Christmas has been celebrated in Dunsford with a Christmas special, originally brought to the village by Rev Norman and Mrs Pat Clarke. “Sing Noel” was a jolly evening of seasonal words and carols, much looked forward to by the local community as it also included the famous supper and mulled wine.
From small beginnings the Dunsford Singers has flourished. The original numbers of 20 members now register 40-50. There are still some founder members in the choir who remember the early days and the fun learning unfamiliar music.
The friendships and camaraderie formed by singing together for all these years have helped to make the Dunsford Singers the choir it is today.
Stainer's Crucifixion performed in Doddiscombsleigh Church 2003/4
Conducted by June Squire
Accompanied by Peter Squire on the organ
There are a total of five Squires family members in this this photo Father Sam Davies is in the front row, on the right