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Past Members

    Nicholas Brooks obituary

    Nicholas Brooks
    Historian, archaeologist and authority on the Anglo-Saxons – and a valuable bass chorister! The Anglo-Saxons retain a powerful grip on English imaginations. The discovery in 2009, just south of Watling Street, the ancient trackway paved by the Romans, of gold and silver artefacts that became known as the Staffordshire hoard attracted much attention but raised many questions. One of the few people equipped to propose solutions was Nicholas Brooks, emeritus professor of medieval history at Birmingham University, who was soon appointed to the panel co-ordinating research into the finds. His was the kind of scholarship that reaches out to the public. Among his special interests were Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and warfare, and the payments, in the form of weapons and armour, owed by the elite as death duties to the king and recycled in the form of gifts to warriors. Nicholas convincingly explained the hoard‘s apparently odd composition – only the hilts and ...

    Marian Dawes

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    President Died Sunday 28 October 2004 It is with profound regret that we have to announce the death of our President, Marian Dawes. Marian died on Sunday 28 October 2012 after a long illness. She had a long association with the Choir, working tirelessly over many years on the Committee, then as Chairman and finally as President. Even after becoming ill she spared no efforts for the Choir and for her many charitable activities, remaining always cheerful and supportive. Marian will be greatly missed by all the members and associates of the Choir, not only as a member and officer, but as a personal friend whose advice and encouragement were always invaluable. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Eric and their family.      

    Marie Rogers

    Marie Rogers
    Honorary Vice President Died March 2009 It was with great sadness that Choir members learned of the death of Marie Rogers in March after a relatively short illness. Marie, who sang in the soprano line since 1954 (an amazing 55 years), was an Honorary Vice President of Birmingham Choral Union. She received this honour not only for her singing longevity, but because she had helped to raise thousands of pounds for Choir funds over the years. Her charm, kindness and hard work will be sorely missed. We extend our condolences to her family. Her funeral was held at Our Lady and St Brigid, Northfield, Birmingham on Wednesday 18 March 2009. At the end of the service, members of the Choral Union sang “God so loved the world” from Stainer’s Crucifixion. Marian Dawes.

    Marian Dawes – President

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    In 1988, Eric and Marian Dawes moved to Birmingham and, as all choir members have done, Marian came in fear and trembling to audition to join Birmingham Choral Union at the start of the season. Colin decided Marian could stay and that was the start of her long association with the choir. That November, the then Treasurer died and Edgar Richards and Geoff Brevitt came to their house and invited Marian to come onto the Committee as Treasurer. Then, in 1994, Marian was elected Chairman and now it is time to retire! Teamwork has always been important and working in harmony is vital for all aspects of the Choir! Marian likes to think that this has been achieved most of the time. Colin and Marian developed a special relationship over the years and have always been totally committed to the ideals of the Choir. Marian’s personality may not have suited everyone, ...

    Molly Onions

    Molly Onions
    Died Tuesday 1 February 2005 Molly Onions joined Birmingham Choral Union (Contralto line) sometime after the war, although it may have been as late as 1960. Molly was a stalwart and popular member of the choir, hardly ever missing a rehearsal. She supported all aspects of the choir and could always be found making the tea during the many fund-raising jumble sales which used to be held by the choir. Molly would have been 88 on 2 February. Molly was a first alto and always had a feisty, independent spirit and an infectious giggle! She was a stickler for organisation and was always the first to demand information about forth-coming concerts and events. She was always eager to attend workshops and choral weekends and derived much pleasure from these. She had a fund of anecdotes about Harold Gray, conductor from 1954 until 1974, Richard Silk and David Sadler. It is surprising that she never ...

    Edgar Richards

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    Honorary Life President Died Monday 27 December 2004 Edgar Richards joined Birmingham Choral Union (Bass line) in the spring of 1949, persuaded by his late wife, Betty, who had joined 3 years earlier. In 1997, he inspired the Choir with his singing presence at Betty’s memorial concert – Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem – a rather sad irony, as this is the work that the Choir is preparing for its next concert on 19 March 2005. Between them, Edgar and Betty notched up well over 100 years of service to the Choir. Edgar used to laugh that he was just in time to avoid the introduction of auditioning and had about 6 rehearsals to prepare for ‘Dream of Gerontius’, his first concert with the Choir! In the autumn of 1950, he joined the Committee as Librarian and, like most potential Chairmen, served time in the other Offices. From then until 1989, he served on the Committee! He was also actively involved on the Committee of the ...

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