We meet in Hathersage Memorial Hall on Monday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 No requirement to audition. New members always welcome. We hold Come and Sing Days which are open to non choir members.
A Hopeful Return
It was about a year ago when I last wrote that we would no longer be meeting as our first lockdown emerged. So much has happened in the meantime but I guess our love of singing still remains. I hope so anyway. The committee had a Zoom meeting a week or so ago with Kate and Carol and the impetus to start again is strong. We are hopeful for the 6th September as our starting date with the possibility of a "Concert" on the 11th December. There will be changes to our normal way of meeting in order to keep everyone safe and abide by the guidelines. These will become clearer as the summer progresses. In the meantime can you contact Lesley Bentley our secretary as to your feelings about starting again. This will help us formulate our "roadmap" to getting together again. Thank you.
John David Else 1949 - 2021 We were all saddened and shocked by the death of our chairman, David, last January and miss his steadying hand as we try to move forward through the pandemic. Below are comments from choir members and the funeral address that the Rev Paul Bettison delivered which condensed many of our thoughts at the time and since. We want to celebrate David as well as miss him in our choir life.
Art thou troubled? Music will calm thee Art thou weary? Rest shall be thine Music, source of all gladness heals thy sadness at her shrine. Music, music ever divine. Music, music calleth with voice divine.
We should be in no doubt that David heard that voice divine! For music enriched his life. I know that, prior to the pandemic, he valued the opportunity to travel, week by week, to Chesterfield with friends. There he would sing with Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir. I had the privilege of singing with him in Hathersage Choir Not only was he a fine bass, but also for the past few years, Chairman of the Choir.
And what a Chairman he proved to be! Competent in his leadership, unwavering in his support of the choir and masterful in his conducting of meetings. During the pandemic, David has, with a steady pair of hands, held the reins as Committee members grappled with the challenges of when and how we might sing together again.
And what of his performances at the concerts? Not only did David enhance our singing, but he was also adept at expressing gratitude and thanks to those taking part. soloists and musicians, concert manager and staging erectors, the refreshment team and those responsible for the raffle. All received sincere expressions of appreciation and always a word of encouragement for young people.
And I must mention the raffle and David’s drawing of it! To say it was entertaining would be the understatement of the century. I suspect that to witness the spectacle was for some members of the audience the main reason that they were there! His only failing in that department – his inability to differentiate between those tickets coloured orange, and those salmon pink!
We know that David embraced a wide range of musical styles. Whilst it’s quite a leap from Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah to Hail Smiling Morn or Peace over the World. David managed it. When the Hathersage Carollers can grace the village pubs and sing with gusto once again, David will be missed. Thinking about carollers, my mind drifted back to a Hathersage Choir Christmas Concert, what seems like an age ago. We sang The Manchester Carols – introduced to us by Kate, and first sung by the Manchester Carollers. It made quite an impression on Choir members, not least David, who introduced the work to the audience. David commended the work for it’s setting of the incarnation – God with us – in the time and world in which we live. Yes, it would be a miracle indeed If everyone who needs somewhere to sleep Could find a bed; The tired, the lost, the homeless, dispossessed, Somewhere to rest. Yes, it would be a miracle tonight If everyone who stumbles in the dark Could find a light; The weak, the poor, the hungry multitudes, Something to eat. Oh Bethlehem, we would believe it right That it would be a miracle tonight.
It seems that David embraced the vision of that miracle. In speaking of the importance of caring - in the here and now - for the homeless, and the hurting, David revealed something of his nature that sometimes went unseen. But there was much about David that to many of us was out of sight; unless Nick, a former colleague, had told us, how many of us would have known about the seeds he sowed in the lives of all those the youngsters or that he was, in Pam's words, a dab hand at planting vegetable seeds – Broad Beans, Runner Beans and Courgettes? And Mark, he sowed seed in his life when he introduced him to football, cricket, golf. Where would we be without the sowers of seeds?
But back now to music and some words attributed to Schubert; "Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." Franz Schubert
There are many people who would say that David is one such person. His death was both sudden and sad, but he leaves a rich legacy and for that we give thanks. Part of that legacy is the memories that we cherish, part is the way in which our lives and the lives of so many others have been touched by his
In a moment we will have the opportunity to pause for awhile and as Andrea, one time accompanist and Musical Director of Hathersage Choir plays a piece of music well known to David. "The Londonderry Air" It’s a traditional Irish melody, to which several different sets of lyrics have been set. One of those texts is to be found in our Methodist hymn book and maybe it brings words of hope to us today;
I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship, Should set his love upon us, now or then, Or why, as Shepherd, he should seek the wanderers, To bring them back, they know not how or when. But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted, And stays our sin, and calms our lurking fear, And lifts the burden from the heavy-laden, For yet the Saviour, Saviour of the world is here.
And so he is.
So now, let’s be still and let memories of David speak to us.
Rev Paul Bettison
Thoughts from Choir Members David had served the Hathersage Choir as chair for all my tenure as your Musical Director and I will be forever grateful for his support, hard work and determination to facilitate the smooth running of the choir. He will be sadly missed by our small community of music makers, but we will remember him fondly and look back at our shared performances with a smile on our faces remembering ......raffle time! God bless you David. Rest in peace. Kate
He was an excellent Chairman, fellow bass and friend. Peter
I will miss his friendship, his voice, and his ‘down to earth – no nonsense’ approach. Paul
Such very sad news. My condolences go out to his family, his friends in the choir and his many friends in the wider Hope Valley community. The loss of David is a great loss to the choir and he will be missed in so many ways. Joy
I shall miss him hugely - he was always very supportive of the work I did as secretary on the committee. He had a down to earth approach, which we were all fond of, he also had a softer side too and always appreciated and thanked us personally for our hard work, whether it was around concerts or workshops. Lesley
I was truly shocked to hear about David's death he always seemed so fit and well ...like Rosie I remember him striding purposefully along the Hathersage strait perhaps on his way to their wonderful Longshaw nursery which has filled my garden and I am sure many other choir members. Hathersage choir will never be the same without his weekly announcements before warm-up could begin and of course his wonderful performance at the Christmas concert raffle. David will be deeply missed. Jane
He was forthright but friendly, direct but considerate, sincere and straightforward. Margaret
Our sincere condolences to you all. Thanks to David at the helm, I have been a part latterly, of Hathersage Choir, enjoying much pleasure through music. Be assured of my thoughts and prayers for David and your family and friends. May he rest in peace. Dorothy
I am so sorry to get this very sad news. My sympathies to all David's family and friends who knew him so much better than I. What a giver of his time, energy and experience! I often passed him in my car on his long walks to and from Hathersage, his determined steps taking him far afield. Recently I was glad to stop and exchange a few words with David in town. He will be greatly missed. Rosie
Shocked and saddened at David's death' he was a good friend, a great Chairman of the Choir, and a most enthusiastic and dedicated singer. Sadly missed, RIP David. Angie Shocking & very sad. You are all in my thoughts, I had wonderful times with HATHERSAGE choir, & David was at the heart of it. I find it hard to imagine that he might have died. Anna
I did not know David very well but I am aware just how much we depended on him to organize not just our concerts but even rehearsals. We will miss him terribly. Patricia David was one of the founder- members of Hathersage Choir over 25 years ago ( there aren't too many of us left in the choir now) and he has been a strong, reliable member of the Bass Section ever since then. He took over as Chairman about 10 years ago and has done a fantastic job since. He has guided us, kept us in good order for rehearsals, concerts and events and committee meetings - always to the point. He has done many things for the choir behind the scenes too with no fuss, particularly at concert times and he was a terrific master of ceremonies for those concerts. David was a private person, and although I have known him for many years in various situations, I learned so much about him during his funeral service - what a man!! He had a wonderful voice and his leadership was first class. We will miss him so much. Jean