Trustees of our Society
Our society is organised in a democratic way by which trustees get appointed yearly in our annual general meeting. As per the definition in our constitution, our trustees are “persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity”. The current committee is introduced below.
Chairperson Richard Ives
Secretary Lee Horne
Treasurer David Hemington
Jill Hemington, Helen Heeley, Prue Brindle, Chris Hollins, Alex Grosse, Malcolm Cocking
Mrs J Bennett, Mr M Bromley, Rt. Hon Kenneth Clarke MP, Mr W Cooper, Miss S Dimmock, Mrs J Ewing, Mrs J Fowler, Mr D Hemington, Mrs J Hemington, Mrs B McKiernan, Mr T Parry, Mrs J Robinson, Mr G Stephenson, Miss C Stone, Mr G Timmans, Miss T Wenn, Mr P Wisniewski
Mr J Morris
Meet our Vice Presidents
Thirty plus years ago there was a WBOS committee meeting held at our house and on the agenda was the need to find a replacement for the Society’s treasurer, Ken Pickering, who was retiring. I happened to be in the garden at that time and could be seen through the lounge window – a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thirty years on I am still “treasuring”. In my time as Treasurer I have seen many Chairmen, Chairwomen and Chairs come and go – starting with Colin Keast and including Alex Rae, Christine Stone, Tom Parry, Ian Thompson, Bill Cooper, Martin Thomas, Julie Fowler and now Richard Ives.
Although not a singer myself (I think I am but Jill says not), I have been closely involved in show weeks at the Arts Theatre, the annual concert at various venues and running the book stall at fetes on the croquet lawn and at Keyworth Show.
I am proud to be one of the founder members of the Mens’ Weekends Away and have not missed one of these, having cooked many a breakfast and having been awarded the distinguished title of Sausage Man. I amalso a regular at the poker school and have been known to cook the odd curry for participants.
Over the years I have made many friends through the Society and have found these to be true friends who I can rely on for support and also enjoy a pint in the pub after rehearsals. For all of this, thank you WBOS.
In April 1945 two important events occurred. One on the 13th, I was born, a few days later the West Bridgford Amateur Operatic Society was born. From the age of eleven I was introduced to Gilbert and Sullivan at school, how this changed my life. I went to see The Yeoman of the Guard performed by WBOS. That was it, a lifelong love began. In 1960, I was persuaded to audition by a neighbour who was a founder member Mabel Scarrott. At fifteen I was too young but I was able to become a non-acting member and sing at rehearsals. When floor rehearsals started, someone dropped out and they said that as I was sixteen a few days before the show I could become a full member. It was Ruddigore, my partner was wonderful Paul Ewing. I'll never forget the kindness and help that I received from the members, for a naive schoolgirl it was wonderful. The principals were real stars, Clarice and Peter Chew, Barbara Hill, John Rockley, June and Paul Ewing, they would have graced any professional group. In those days seats sold out and on Saturday nights there was a ballot for tickets, such was the high reputation of the Society. We even had a professional makeup artist from London, Jules Marten. The Society was so friendly, no cliques, no bitching. After a break I returned in 1981 and became Secretary (twice). During my WBOS career I have met some wonderful people and I thank them for the amazing memories. So much more I could tell but space limits.
On moving to Nottingham in 1987 Sheila and I saw performances by three possible groups, made some enquiries, then decided to join West Bridgford Operatic Society. We were made most welcome and soon realised that we had made the right decision! Since joining I have taken part in every show and concert, apart from the recent “Sweeney Todd”, enjoying both chorus and principal roles. I spent several years on the Committee before becoming Vice-Chairman in 2005 and Chairman from 2006 to 2012, also from 2016 to 2018. For many years I also enjoyed organising concerts that the Society gave regularly for Friends of the Salvation Army, Stanton on the Wolds Golf Club, West Bridgford Bowls Club, and one-off concerts for a number of other organisations and individuals.
What to me is important about the Society, apart from musical and dramatic standards, is its friendliness and inclusiveness. We are a group of friends who make music together and socialise, not least at the annual Men's Weekend. Long may this continue.
My first opportunity to see West Bridgford Operatic Society was when I was about 14. A relative was performing in The Mikado at what was then called the Parochial Hall in West Bridgford. I was absolutely hooked! I was going to join as soon as I was old enough. I became a member with a friend whose parents were the treasurer and pianist. At my audition I was asked if I as a soprano or alto. I didn’t know, so as they were short of altos, that’s what I started as – in The Mikado. Half-way through the show I lost my voice and decided I was a soprano! That was the start of a life full of music and enjoyment. I introduced my boyfriend at the time, and he was accepted as a useful and talented tenor. The rest is known by many of you – two lovely daughters each very talented in their own ways – still playing parts in various shows, Julie here and Claire in Wales. We have all had some wonderful times together and I wish further success to everyone.
Looking back over the last 29 shows, I have performed in 20 of them, directed four and helped out backstage in two. For three shows I did nothing! Unfortunately, I had to drop out of Sweeney Todd but I did paint some scenery, so I was on stage in a way. I've tended (sometimes to my disappointment) to be cast as the funny man, and even when I had the romantic lead in Iolanthe I camped it up. I do enjoy directing because you see the creative process from all angles, and as a bonus you get to play everyone's role vicariously. I'm a complete amateur, so for me it's a big challenge. During my short spell as chairman we did our first non G & S show (Orpheus) and I've enjoyed all types of show - I think I would pick Guys and Dolls, in which I was Nathan Detroit, as my favourite. G & S however is still great theatre and great fun for performers, when it's imaginatively and well produced. I think the great thing about our group is it regenerates with new people regularly and I'd like to think that's because we are cohesive, supportive and not precious about what we do. Vive la WBOS!
I first became associated with West Bridgford Operatic Society when I joined the concert group some 25 years ago. I so enjoyed the company of the friendly members and their joy in making music so much, that I quickly developed my contribution to the society by becoming a member of the Casting Committee. After 20 years on this committee, the last 10 as Chair, I was then elected President of the society in 2013; a position in which I take great pride.
I began singing in a girls’ choir at age of 12 and continued choral singing for the next 50 years as a member of the Nottingham Harmonic Society, the English Sinfonia Chorale, and then as a founder member of the East of England Singers. I developed my solo singing career under the tutelage of Pamela Cook (of Cantamus fame) under whose guidance I also gained an LRAM Diploma in the Teaching of Singing. As a soloist, my work was mainly in the field of Oratorio; light opera, including the G&S Operettas, and also as a member of two quartets. As a teacher, I worked as a vocal tutor on courses at Nottingham Trent University and developed a private practice. I am delighted to use all that varied experience in my input into WBOS; helping with vocal tuition when appropriate; attending General Committee Meetings in an advising capacity; enjoying going to rehearsals and social events further reveling in the genuine lively, warm and friendly atmosphere of the society; and, hopefully supporting everyone in all that they do.
I send my congratulations on the great achievement of 70 years of WBOS, and wish everyone continued joy in their music making for many years to come.
I am very proud to say I have been a member of West Bridgford Operatic Society for 36 years and have served on the committee for 30 years. During that time I have played principal parts in The Mikado, Ruddigore, Iolanthe, The Gondoliers, Anything Goes, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Pajama Game to name a few, and enjoyed them all. I have made many friends and taken part in concerts, carol singing, fete days, weekends away, social events and of course the weekly trip to the pub after the rehearsal.