From: Vaughan Reynolds <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 16 July 2020 10:58
To: 'Vaughan Reynolds'
Subject: Choirlink for July 2020
I trust you are all well despite all the bad news of every kind that we're bombarded with. As no choirs are active at the present time, I won't be compiling Choirlink, but there is some news I need to pass on.
1. National Council have decided not to hold the meeting scheduled for September. The fact that Scotland, England and N Ireland have different restrictions on meetings and travel doesn't help. A decision has yet to be made regarding next year's Scottish Festival. They may well hold a Zoom meeting later on once the situation regarding large gatherings becomes clearer. In the meantime, Alfred Tarring has completed "Keep Singing 4" (KS4) and it is hoped this will appear on the FMVP Website shortly. He is also digitising other older music books with a view to making them available as PDFs on the Website in the months ahead.
2. Regrettably, Melbourne Choir has taken the decision to close. Geoff Williams, Choir Secretary, sent me the following EMail last week:
"I am writing to inform you that regrettably a decision has been made to disband the Melbourne choir which has been in the Kings business for over 50 years. Our conductor Arthur Coates had been the sole conductor for many years passed away with MND 12 months ago but had taken a back seat in conducting for 2 years prior to his departure to his eternal home. Actually, the choir was commenced by Arthur’s father in 1954 but again due to ill health and eventual death, the choir went into recess from 1962 to 1973 when Arthur picked up the baton. There was a succession of conductors following Arthur’s retirement one of which (Ken Harris) has been in the choir business since a teenager, had an outstanding tenor voice but he too was taken to Glory in recent days
Our story is probably akin to other choirs - ageing population, poor balance both in parts as well as physical issues, lack of success in interesting younger men to join and a general decline in numbers led the committee to a decision to depart on a reasonably high note before it became obvious that we could not maintain an adequate level of presentation. Four engagements to aged care establishments that had been planned for this year were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We would like to continue our association with the UK choirs and keep receiving Choir Link which would enable us to keep abreast of your activities and remember you in prayer."
3. David Kendrick of the Cheltenham Choir sent the following sad news of David Duffy on 19th June:
"It is with great sadness that I write to you this morning to inform you of the homecall of one of our Second Tenors in the Cheltenham and District Male Voice Praise Choir.
I do not have a great deal of information, as I write, since David only went to be with the Lord yesterday morning, after a short spell in hospital, on a ventilator; whether that means he had contacted the dreaded virus, I know no more than you.
David was a fellow Lancastrian, from Liverpool, and sang with the Deep Harmony MVP Choir under the leadership of the late Bill Wootton. My understanding is that he and Maureen moved to Gloucestershire in early 2012 to live with their daughter and Family in Lechlade, when he joined the Cheltenham Choir, together with two other men from that area, hence they have been affectionately known as the ‘Men from the East’. The two Davids and John have been very faithful members of the Choir and their support has been greatly appreciated. David will also be very sadly missed by his friends at Lechlade Baptist Church, where he was an Elder and heavily involved in the leadership of that small Church.
As I write, I cannot believe what I am writing, the news has not sunk in yet, all I realise is that when we are able to reform again as a Choir, there will be a very real air of sadness, having said goodbye to two 2nd Tenors in the last two months. We send our love and condolence to Maureen and her family and pray that they will know the presence and upholding of our wonderful God at this sad time.
On a closing happier note, we can rejoice with David, as he now rejoicing in the presence of His wonderful Lord, whom he has served so faithfully for very many years."
4. Paul Davies from the Bristol Area wrote on 25 April concerning Win Watkins, a former choir member from the Bristol and West area. Win had earlier suffered a stroke whilst visiting family in the USA.
"It is with a severe mixture of sadness, relief and rejoicing that I have to inform you that our dear Brother and friend, Win, passed into the presence of his Lord this afternoon at some time between 5:15pm and 5:30pm our time.
Barbara, and their daughter Leah, called us just after 5:30 to give us the news. Apparently it was very peaceful and in the end he just slipped away. Barb and their son, Simon, had been in to see him earlier at the Hospice and were able to play him some music – The well known Male Voice Praise song, “We’ll all be there” plus his favourite Welsh hymn tune, “Calon Lan” and finally the Welsh national anthem (Win’s mother was very Welsh and Win was always proud of his Welsh ancestry). Barb told us that she detected a tear in the corner of his eye as the music played. Win passed just after Barb and Simon returned home.
Barb has also spoken with David, our Pastor at Whiteshill Evangelical Church who has been a tower of strength for her in recent days. She requests please that we pray for her, Simon and Leah as they face the logistics of what happens next. None of them have had to deal with this scenario before and it is, of course, made doubly difficult by them being in the USA, also in the midst of a Lockdown. At least, having lived there some years ago they do have dual Nationality with American passports which may help."
Paul wrote a futher update on 6 June to say that Barb was back in her new home in Winterbourne, and is setlling in and doing well. She had been able to scatter some of Win's ashes at a local beauty spot called Adams Falls near their former US home, and hopes to scatter the rest at Rodborough Common, near where Win grew up.
5. Prayers are requested for a number of folk who are sick:
Colin Reynolds, for many years leader of the Torbay Gospelaires, and currently with the Exeter Choir, has been admitted to hospital with severe chest problems. Although he has tested negative for coronavirus, he is very poorly and receiving intravenous antibiotics. He has been able to speak to Audrey, with great difficulty, but neither Audrey nor son Kevin can visit in the present situation. Please pray for Colin and the family in their hour of great need.
Ronald Elliott of the Uxbridge Choir has been in hospital for some considerable time, but has finally been able to come home, albeit with a carer visiting three times daily. Unfortunately he now also needs dialysis three times a week in a Windsor hospital. Therefore please can we pray that Ronald's condition will improve so that he no longer needs the regular dialysis and can begin to settle down again and make a full recovery.
Steve Dart, formerly of the Bury St Edmunds Choir and now of the Suffolk Choir, has just been diagnosed with advanced cancer affecting several areas of his body. He has been initially told he may have around six months to live but is to have a liver biopsy, after which treatment options will be decided. His son Andy, who also sings with the choir, asks for prayers that his Dad will be free from pain during the time he has remaining.
Lastly, Elizabeth Hawes, wife of Patrick who was for many years with the Whitstable Choir, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. She is currently receiving palliative care and apparently has little awareness of other people. This is, of course, very hard on Patrick. Therefore please could we uphold them both in our prayers in the days ahead.
6. Finally, two September Festivals have regrettably been cancelled at opposite ends of the country: Bristol and Moray.
None of us knows how long it will be before we can sing again, although as NZ has lifted all restrictions (I think), maybe the Bay of Plenty choir has been able to re-form. I do hope so! In the meantime let us uphold these brethren, widows and choirs in prayer. Our God Is Able.
May the Lord bless you all and keep you well in body, mind and spirit.
Yours in Christ,