HISTORY OF THE STAFFORD SINGERS

Back to The Stafford Singers Home Page

The Stafford Singers were originally founded in 1962, as The English Electric Company Choir (later The English Electric Association Choir), when the Lichfield Road, Stafford Works was a branch of the English Electric Company. After the merger with GEC, in 1969, the choir was renamed The GEC Association Choir. Following the merger with Alsthom, in 1989, the official title of the choir then became The GEC Alsthom Association Choir. On the formation of Alstom, in 1998, the name of the choir became The Alstom Singers and in 2013 the choir finally became The Stafford Singers.

The choir predates, but has always been closely associated with The English Electric Orchestra (later renamed The Stafford Orchestral Society, then The Stafford Orchestra).


Rehearsals were first held in Stychfields Hall

The first lounge bar was built in 1972, and it was replaced in 1992 by a new lounge and facilities at the

St Leonard's Sports and Social Club, on the GEC Alsthom St Leonard's Meters, Relays and Instruments (MRI) factory site in Stafford. This included a snooker room, entirely funded by the then thriving club. When Stychfields was closed in March 1995 the choir rehearsals and the Annual Carol Concert (the main fundraising event for Stafford Hospital Radio) moved to MRI and this continued under Areva, Alstom, and Alstom Grid until 2013. The social club itself became very popular, and stars such as The Temptations, Ken Dodd, The Drifters, and Little and Large played there. However, in 2013 Alstom was no longer prepared to subsidise the bar at the club, which had been struggling for several years, thus forcing closure. The last opening of the club was on Easter Sunday 2013 for a wrestling night. The club was also home to many local organisations, including The Alstom Singers, which held its last rehearsal there on 15.04.13. This was a matter of regret, terminating more than 50 years of association with the English Electric group of companies and its successors.

Both the choir and the orchestra moved their orientation from company-based organisations to town-based leisure associations, and there are now no links with English Electric or its successor companies. The Stafford Singers are best regarded as a community choir of mixed voices (SATB), about 50 in number, who all love to sing. New members are always very welcome, especially more male voices.

The development of the choir has been as follows:

The English Electric Association Choir 1962 - 1969
Conductors: Leon Bailey (1963-1965) - Grammar School, Stafford;
Heather Coupe (1965-1967) - Grammar School, Rugeley;
Clifford Kershaw (1967-1969) - Hixon School

From 1962 until 1989 the English Electric Association Choir and GEC Association Choir performed in conventional evening dress:
Ladies: White high-necked long-sleeved blouse and black ankle-length skirt
Gentlemen: Black dinner jacket and trousers, white long-sleeved shirt, black bow tie.



The GEC Association Choir 1969 - 1989
Conductors: Clifford Kershaw (1969-1972) - Hixon School;
Martin Brown (1972-1973) - Fair Oaks School, Rugeley;
David Belford (1973-1977) - Lichfield Music Centre;
Leslie Smith (1977 - 1986) - Head of Music at Graham Balfour High School;
Peter Jones (1986 - 1987) - Teacher of music at Coton College, Oakamoor;
Mrs Joy Atkins (1987 - 1989) - Music Centre, Staffordshire Education Department;

Accompanist: Alan Sykes - Organist, United Reformed Church (1971 - 1989)

The GEC Alsthom Association Choir 1989 - 1998
Conductors: Mrs Joy Atkins (1989 - 1990) - Music Centre, Staffordshire Education Department;
Paul Michael Smith (1990 - 1992);
Felicity Theobald (1992);

Musical Director: Dr J. Kenneth H. Rose M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. (1992 - 1998) - Organist and Choirmaster of St Bertelin's Church, Stafford; former conductor of two choirs; former Director of 16 operas, mainly for Stafford & District Operatic Society; soloist and duettist in competitive festivals;

Assistant Musical Director: Mrs Cathy E. Garside, BEd, MA, (1992 - 1998) - violinist with Coventry Youth Orchestra, teacher of music in a Stafford school;

Accompanist: Alan Sykes - Organist, Trinity Church (1989 - 1998);

The GEC Alsthom Association Choir designed New Uniform 1 in 1989:
Ladies: High-necked long-sleeved blouse in white with vertical narrow green stripes, green neckerchief, and black ankle-length skirt
Gentlemen: Black dinner jacket and trousers, white long-sleeved shirt, green bow tie, green breast pocket handkerchief.



The GEC Alsthom Association Choir wore this uniform until 1998.

Purchase of new keyboard 1989

The Alstom Singers 1998 - 2013
Musical Director: Mrs Cathy E. Garside , BEd, MA, (1998 - );

Assistant Musical Director: Mrs Karen W. Smith (1998 - );

Accompanist: Mrs Amanda Wells (1998 - );

Alstom Singers designed New Uniform 2 in 1998:
Ladies: White high-necked long-sleeved blouse, floral waistcoat, black ankle-length skirt, black shoes. The white blouses were later replaced by pink blouses.
Gentlemen: Black trousers, white long-sleeved shirt, pink waistcoat, pink floral bow tie



Alstom Singers wore this uniform until 2007.

Alstom Singers designed New Uniform 3 in 2007:
Ladies: Black round neck top, green jacket, black trousers, black shoes.
Gentlemen: Black trousers, black long-sleeved shirt, green tie



Alstom Singers wore this uniform from 2007 onwards.

A social evening was held on 17th September 2012 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the choir, with many invited guests and former members (play video).


50th Anniversary cake

Chairperson Maureen gives the
address and toasts

Former Musical Director Ken Rose cuts a cake


The Stafford Singers 2013 -

The Alstom Singers in October 2013 changed its name to The Stafford Singers, and its rehearsal venue to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wildwood, Stafford. For concerts, The Stafford Singers continued use of the New Uniform 3 designed by The Alstom Singers. In September 2014 the rehearsal venue was changed to St John's Church of England Primary School, Weston Road, Stafford.

In 2017 the rehearsal venue was changed to Berkswich Methodist Church, Walton-on-the-Hill, Stafford ST17 0LH.

Stafford Singers has a membership of about 50, and has a varied repertoire including favourite pop songs, traditional songs of the British Isles, opera and show excerpts, traditional American spirituals, and classical European works. African and New Zealand items have even been added recently. You will be very welcome to attend, especially if you are a Tenor or Bass.

We meet for rehearsals every Monday evening 7.30pm to 9.30pm from September to June (except Bank Holidays) at
 :
Berkswich Methodist Church,
Walton-on-the-Hill,
Stafford
ST17 0LH

(See map)



Hot drinks are served in the interval, as they are beneficial to the vocal chords.

Each year we perform for numerous charities at various venues and join The Stafford Orchestra for a Christmas concert.

All members pay an annual subscription. A folder of music is provided, for which you will be responsible. This should be returned for updating each June at the end of our season. Later you will be encouraged to obtain one or two of the books from which parts of our repertoire are taken. The dress required for concerts is:
Gentlemen: Trousers, long sleeved shirt, shoes and socks, all black, and a green tie (available to buy from the choir).
Ladies: Trousers, round neck top, shoes and hosiery, all black, and a green jacket (also available to buy from the choir). Small, discreet jewellery may be worn if desired. Handbags, if brought, should be small and will be securely looked after during concerts.

A black folder is provided for concerts. You may also be provided with a stage box to stand on at concerts where there is no appropriate staging. You will be responsible for bringing it along to concerts when requested to do so. Most of our concerts are fairly local, in Stafford and surrounds.

An Annual General Meeting is held towards the end of the season and the elected committee meet as and when necessary.

Throughout the year we try to arrange social events and always end the season in June with a Social Evening. Any ideas or input for events are most welcome.

For information about our current news and lots more, please look at other pages of this website, which has domain name staffordsingers.com or staffordsingers.org

Stafford Singers at October 2015

Musical Director and Conductor: Cathy Garside

Accompanist: Amanda Wells

Soprano: Paula Adams, Jo Bennett, Clare Clarke, Heather Cooper, Jean Exton, Marion Goda, Lynne Harvey, Helen Hepton, Pauline Hutchinson, Heike Loidi, Janet Markwell, Anne Read, Phyllis Reynolds, Pam Simkin, Cath Smith, Lily Walchester, Sue Wilson

Alto: Sue Brown, Brenda Coombs, Dorothy Easton, Min Elliott, Dorothy Hall, Helen Jones, Tina Meadon, Femm Morgan, Jane Rowbottom, Maureen Thomas, Karen Williamson-Smith, Arline Wilson

Tenor: David Bradley, Paul Charman, Cyril Easton, Colin Hutchinson, Ossie Lloyd, John Wilcock

Bass: Ian Carr, Jim Cooper, Ron Dixon, Ted Evans, Michael Harrison, Bob Mitchell, David Moon

Back to Top


Send all comments, updates and queries for The Stafford Singers History Page to John Wilcock


Version: 21 29 August 2017 updated by John Wilcock