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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 was our 50th anniversary year and one of our

celebrations was a performance of Handel's Messiah with an augmented choir and soloists from the Royal Northern College of Music.

Like all choirs across the United Kingdom, it has been very difficult for our choir and its members, since the pandemic began, so we are looking for new singers!

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Musical Director

Margie studied music at the University of Durham, gaining a BA Hons. and then an MA. She also has a diploma in singing and plays the piano, violin and viola. Her performances include: Northern Sinfonia Chorus (1988-1989), a founder member of the Cambridge Taverner Choir, (a semi-professional choir of 16, specialising in Renaissance music) including being one of their soloists (1989-2019)), St Martin-in the-Fields Chorus under Sir Neville Marriner, St. Brides Church, London and the Tower of London Chapel Choir (1989-1990), BBC Daily Service Singers (1995-1998),  Cambridge Renaissance Voices, which took over after the Cambridge Taverner Choir “retired” (2019-present). In addition she plays violin in the City of Carlisle Orchestra and viola in the West Lakes Orchestra. In nearly 20 years’ experience of choral training, Margie has directed many large choral works such as Vivaldi’s Gloria, Lotti's Crucifixion, Vaughan Williams 5 Mystical Songs, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (semi-staged) and is known locally for working with St Bees Priory Choir on a regular basis, including their Christmas Carol Service and their performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion on Good Friday. She currently teaches part-time at St Bees School as Head of Singing and Instrumental music. WCCS is looking forward to Margie's musical direction.

Margie Simper

Frank Bowler

Official Accompanist

Frank, 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.

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