Tim Woolford (1951-2012) – Recollections by Tim Daniell

There will undoubtedly be many tales about Tim that can be recalled because he was such an interesting and outgoing character! Although we were both choristers and our paths crossed, as it were, in the cathedral, it was only after leaving school that we became good friends and for many years worked together on musical projects….

Tim was also a great host and for the London and complete première of Malcolm Williamson’s Mass in 1977 there was a real ‘drinkies do’ at his flat in Vincent Square, followed by the concert with interval drinks in a local pub with Cecil Adams, the famous vet, organist and bow-tied singer from Dursley in Gloucestershire.

I was often called upon to be stage manager for concerts organised by Tim and the first, in 1979, was at St.Margaret’s, Westminster. He had a knack of getting top performers for his events and this was no exception. Only two years later he sang and played at our wedding in France (to Marie-Hélène), after having sung the bass solo part in Haydn’s Creation at my school concert in Hertfordshire three months earlier.

A huge Night at the Oratorio was held in Warrington in 1983 – a gala of arias and choruses from great choral masterpieces of four centuries – and entitled Hallelujah! A special guest appearance was to have been made by Dame Isobel Baillie but sadly she was unwell. Nevertheless, Tim had also engaged Elizabeth Harwood and Margaret Cable as soloists, amongst others, and he himself was once again the bass soloist. Somehow Tim had managed superb sponsorship for this from Legal General Assurance who at the time was also involved in Three Choirs Festival support. What a superb reception in Warrington Town Hall after that!

Also in 1983, a fringe event of the Gloucester Three Choirs Festival and held at The Judges’ Lodgings in Spa Road entitled Lutes and Liars was devised by Tim and Phil Evans (who, amongst many other things, wrote comedy for the BBC at the time). The show included some magnificent musicians, including Barbara Courtney King. It was “a whimsical look back through the ages at music which has faced the people and at the people who have faced the music”!!

A year later, another concert organised by Tim – this time as part of the City of London Festival and, as stage manager again, I was lucky to meet Sir George Thalben Ball (with whom Tim had recorded – but not O for the wings of a dove!) at another magnificent reception (again!) afterwards.

Tim’s ventures into the film world were, I think, fraught with problems – financially a difficult area and no one to be trusted…..BUT he did produce mammoth TV shows, including one that had Jessie Norman and the choristers from St. Paul’s Cathedral involved on New Year’s Eve, sometime in the days of enterprise!!

We shall miss your ventures……….

Tim Daniell (Chorister 1958-1961)