A Review of the 2016 FCOCA AGM

Many thank to Colin Charter for attending the AGM on behalf of the Association and providing us with a most detailed report.

FCOCA. Federation AGM 2016, Saturday 7 May

This year the Wakefield Old Choristers’ Association celebrates its Golden Jubilee and held a celebratory Choral Evensong and Dinner in the Nave of the Cathedral on the Friday evening prior to the Federation AGM on the Saturday. An invitation was made to all Federation members attending the AGM to extent their visit and join the WCOCA Reunion on the Friday evening. This was an opportunity not to be missed as I and my daughter could venture north a day earlier and include visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Bretton Hall, Nostel Priory and the Wakefield Hepworth Gallery.

The Golden Jubilee Evensong was sung by the Senior Boy and Girl Choristers and Lay Clerks and included the Introit: To mercy, peace and love by Richard Shephard, the first performance of Preces and Responses set by John Holt a founder member of the WCOCA and Lay Clerk, and Canticles to the setting in D minor by Percy Saunders, Organist and Master of Choristers when the Association was formed. An Anthem: ‘Sing a song of Joy’ was composed for the Jubilee by Simon Lindley, also included was the Anthem: ‘Behold O God our defender’ by John Scott, a former Wakefield Old Chorister and Assistant Organist, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral and St Thomas’ Church, Fifth Avenue, NY. John Scott’s life and untimely death were remembered in the prayers. The service concluded with the Organ Voluntary: Allegro Maestoso – 1st movement, Sonata No 1 in G by Edward Elgar.

In the Cathedral, Project 2013 had seen extensive renovations in the Nave, where the Victorian pews had been removed, the floor completely re-laid with under floor heating and incorporating a stone labyrinth following the pattern of that in Bayeaux. Project 2015 saw the redevelopment of the east end and the Crypt with the loss of use of the Quire, the high Altar and the cathedral Organ. This work had just been completed but it was now found that the organ could not be used due to dust having accumulated in the blower system. However the electronic replacement organ was still on site and so was put to good use.

So after the Voluntary we then adjourned to the refurbished Crypt for a Drinks Reception before returning to the Nave for the Golden Jubilee Dinner. More than eighty former choristers and guests were served a superb meal and were suitably entertained by the guest speaker, Neil Collier, the managing director of Priory Records. The cathedral choir had recorded CDs for Priory in each of the two preceding years.

The programme for those attending the AGM on the Saturday started with Registration and refreshment in the Crypt, then a guided tour of the cathedral followed by a Drinks Reception and Welcome by the Dean before Lunch, served in the North Quire Aisle. Delegates then adjourned to the St Mark’s Chapel in the refurbished Crypt for the AGM whilst those visitors not attending had transport provided to go to the Wakefield Hepworth galleries.

The main issues arising from the AGM were:

  • There were no nominations for the positions of Secretary or Publications Officer both who were stepping down. All other officers were re-elected. The Chairman and Vice Chairman will deal with secretarial matters for the current year.
  • Michael Barry, the Editor of the Once a Chorister magazine had died during the year, (Memorial Service at Guildford Cathedral 17 September 2016).   This year it is planned to produce a magazine but to put it on the website so that it can be downloaded and printed locally for the numbers required. Cost could be lower. The Federation would not pay for printing and posting, and would lose the income from sales ~ £1400 in 2014, ~£1200 in 2015.  Richard Watts, Westminster Abbey dealing with the website and compiling the magazine.
  • 2017 Festival at Norwich Cathedral 9th – 11th June. See FCOCA website
  • 2017 AGM at Christ Church Oxford 6th May.  A provisional programme includes Lunch, a visit to the University Museum of musical instruments, the AGM, and the combined collegiate choirs of Christ Church, Magdalen and New College singing Evensong at 6.00pm.

Tea and cakes were then provided in the Treacy Hall before attending Choral Evensong. The music included Preces and Responses set by John Holt, Canticles: Wood in F ( Collegium Regale) and the Anthem: O clap your hands, Vaughan Williams, and the final Voluntary: Carillon Sortie by Mulet.

Colin Charter
May 2016