August 2018  Eccles Community Choir will be returning to Luenen, Germany for concerts followed by a concert in BRUGES cathedral and a piece sung at the Menin Gate YPRES during the daily Last Post ceremony.

Harmony ’96 performed ‘Messiah’ again on Good Friday to a packed audience and raised £1,500. 80+ singers and lovely solos from Tim Kennedy and Andrew Charlton alongside other members of the choir. September’s performance of ‘Creation’ was most enjoyable with 58 singers and soloists.

October 2017   I have a performed a few recitals and concerts this year but most of my time is taken up with my two choirs and adjudicating for the British and International Federation of Festivals. My annual 4 day workshop in Keswick in June was possibly the best yet and the annual ‘Christmas starts here’ with students and Anna le Hair will be on December 2nd. I am still teaching but limiting it to one day a week as far as possible.  The Harmony ’96 concerts continue to raise huge amounts for student sponsorship in Kenya through our charity, Rowley Projects. The September concert raised over £1,000.

Harmony ’96 will perform its annual  Messiah  on Good Friday, March 30th 2018.   The September 2018 concert will probably be Vivaldi/baroque – watch this space.               

2017 has been a busy year for Eccles Community Choir with spring and summer concerts, a wedding and a funeral – not four – and a lovely trip to Chester followed by afternoon tea and a concert in St Chad’s church Hanmer, Clywd.  If you’d like to join the choir, contact me or just turn up on Tuesday evenings at Branwood School, Eccles, 7.00 for 7.15. Visit the Eccles Community Choir website for more details. Our Christmas concert will be on December 2nd at  Eccles Town Hall.


September 16th 2015 Eccles Community Choir wowed the audience yet again at SS Peter and Paul, Eccles, where they shared the evening with a student choir from the Czech Republic.

August 2015. Eccles Community Choir  Here’s the translation of the newspaper report by Volker Beuckelmann of the concert in Lünen.

A fabulous concert experience was presented on Sunday to the visitors of the evangelical city church of St George by Eccles Community Choir from our partner town Salford.
From Handel arias to an Abba medley the Salford choir entranced in the city church with a tremendously atmospheric concert.
Music creates harmony and brings people together. “You will hear today a quite wonderful concert from the Eccles Community Choir,” was Reverend Andrea Ohm’s greeting to the visitors of the evangelical church of St George on Sunday. The church was packed full with around 300 people which thrilled the minister and the 30 strong choir from Lünen’s partner town, Salford.
The choir leader, Angela Rowley, had a rehearsal with the 25 ladies and five men and John Stott (he played piano) before the performance. Ms Rowley felt honoured to be representing Salford for the first time in concert at St George’s. “We are delighted to be able to sing in this lovely building and hope you will enjoy the choice of music.” The audience recognised with extra applause that the choir had sung a short programme the previous day in Cologne cathedral – like a rehearsal for the performance in Lünen.

Standing ovation!

Reverend Ohm had not overstated her promise: the songs performed, whether the “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi or the aria “Ombra mai fu” from the opera Xerxes (George Frederick Handel) really lifted the hearts of the friends of the choir. Polite applause quickly turned to enthusiastic ovations.
It became clear to the visitors: Eccles Community Choir possesses wonderful voices and demanding arrangements. Despite the high average age, the performers produced  an impressive sound. The varied programme included three lovely folk songs including one from Scotland, the “Skye Boat Song”, arranged by the pleasant Musical Director Angela Rowley. She announced the songs and is sensitive towards her harmonious choir who had earned a short break after the first third of the programme.
Without further ado, something which wasn’t in the programme, choir-member Julie Carson sang as a solo the movingly beautiful folk song “Pokarekare Ana” (New Zealand). Also the duet “Barcarole”, a Venetian gondola song, perfectly sung by Angela Rowley and Leslie Robinson drew a huge ovation from the happily beaming public. A fantastic Abba medley with “I have a Dream” and “Fernando” was entertaining. The song “You’ll never walk alone” had more than a symbolic meaning.
“I enjoyed it very much, there was something there for everyone.”   “This is brilliant. A bolt from the blue.”







A Tribute to Paul Hamburger

Paul Hamburger

(I’ve kept this because Paul was so special to me.)


I have just been reading yet another glowing obituary of Paul Hamburger, an amazing pianist, accompanist and coach who died on April 11th this year. My tribute to the great man is meagre in comparison except to say I have lost not only a most valued coach but a dear friend from whom I received unstinting encouragement and with whom I shared many a giggle.

I first met Paul at Summer Music International when I studied in his Lieder classes. I somewhat shamefacedly asked if he would coach me and he immediately invited me to spend time in his lovely Somerset home grumbling that it could hardly be called a visit if it was less than five or six days! Food was high on the agenda every time I visited but so was listening to music and sharing stories but what a privilege to stand at his piano and experience him breathing new life into songs and arias with insights not only into the music itself but also the composers and their lives. He would say: ”Sing what isn’t there. He only wrote it like that because of the limitations of musical notation. Sing what it means.” I only hope my interpretations do him justice and in some measure reflect what a great teacher he was.

I miss him very much, although I only really knew him later in his life. There will be memories of struggling to get him into the car to take him to keep a doctor’s appointment or shopping at the local store, ringing to ask his advice and receiving lengthy letters with impossibly long lists of repertoire and he isn’t there to tell me how much he enjoys listening to me (although I understand he says that to all his students!!) but what an encourager and enabler he was. Once , when singing ‘Die Forelle’ for him, he put my tempo at the top of the page alongside ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Janet’ – such exalted company. My treasured possession is a video of Paul accompanying me in a concert in his beloved Austria in summer 2002 when I was in reality in exalted company.