Singing has always been a part of my life. All the La Rivieres sang in choirs, and still do. As a boy I joined the choir at Kenton Methodist Church when I was seventeen. I also belonged to the Kenton Male Voice Choir.
Conducting started with training the children for Sunday School Anniversary. A very big event at Kenton. I also trained and conducted at three Scout Gang Shows. That was great fun.
After we married we moved to Chalfont St Peter, and we joined the Gerrards Cross Methodist Church choir, and The Orchhill Singers, a choir connected to the Parish Church. When we moved to Broadstone in 1966 we had decided that we would go to a church where we felt at home with our two small daughters. The message had obviously got to the Methodist minister at Broadstone, because he arrived on our doorstep on the day we moved in! He was soon followed by the choirmaster who asked us what voices we sang. He was disappointed, the choir needed a tenor and soprano. Nevertheless we joined, and after a year or so, the choirmaster left and I took over. By this time we also had a junior choir made up of young people from our church and the URC. That was great fun. We even entered the Bournemouth Festival on a couple of occasions.
The Nomads Male Voice Choir was also important to me. I joined soon after we moved to Broadstone. The choir had been started by Tom Kingsbury and he conducted it until his retirement. His son, Douglas, who was a very fine soloist, took over for a while, and then handed the baton to me. The Nomads gave concerts in rest homes and churches all over Poole and Bournemouth, and I thoroughly enjoyed the years working with them. But the years had crept on and many of the singers were getting older. At that time young men didn't join choirs so the choir finished. It seems that it is now more popular to be in a choir.
So it is now nearly fifty years since I took on the church choir, and it has been a real pleasure to be part of a very happy group. Together, over the years, we have achieved a great deal, and it has been a pleasure to work with some very talented people, both singers and accompanists. Without our accompanists I would have been lost.
So thank you to all who have been part of this journey. It has been great working with you all.
But now is the time to hang up my baton. But I shall keep singing for as long as my voice allows.