About us

The West Cumberland Choral Society  making music since 1969

The choir was established in 1969 having originally started out under the auspices of the Lowther Street Methodist Church choir conducted by Mr Pape.

 

In fifty years, it is encouraging to know that music still plays a large part of so many people's lives. Our membership is in excess of 35 active members and for several years we also were fortunate to have Junior and Intermediate Choirs. In September 2009, Hugh Turpin took up the baton as Director of Music with Frank Bowler as accompanist after Dorothy Edger retired as Director of Music for the adult choir and Alan Redhead as accompanist following a total of 60 years service between them.

 

We had a wonderful 40th anniversary in 2009 with a gala concert which featured locally born and internationally acclaimed soprano Joan Rogers.

2019 is our 50th anniversary year and one of our

celebrations is a performance of Handel's Messiah with an augmented choir and soloists from the Royal Northern College of Music. Click here for details.

Director of Music

Originally from Yorkshire, Hugh has been intensively involved in local music for many years as an orchestral and choral conductor, pianist, singer and composer. He has taken a number of leading roles including that of Iago in Verdi’s Otello and the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. He appears as recitalist and concerto soloist with local orchestras and is currently involved in recording the piano music of Medtner, Scriabin and Sorabjii.

Hugh was co-founder with Anthea Bremner of Lakeland Opera and was Director of Music at St. Bees School for almost thirty years. Hugh took up the baton as Director of Music for WCCS in September 2009.

Official Accompanist

Frank Bowler, an honours graduate of the University of Birmingham, gave his first recital at the age of 13. The following year he accompanied Faure's Requiem (organ only) and has since played for the Derbyshire Singers, Cappella Novocastriensis and many other singing groups. Playing many of the major works in the choral repertoire. Whilst in Newcastle he conducted the Northern Praeclassica, introducing many new works into their repertoire. In his time at St. Bees School, the choir sang in various cathedrals and on tours abroad. In Blackburn he both sang in the cathedral choir and accompanied their Youth Choir. He was also repetiteur for the Blackburn Gilbert and Sullivan Society also appearing on stage in several G and S works. He is currently Organist of the Priory Church in St. Bees.