Cumbria Rural Choirs 2008
Cumbria Rural Choirs History
an anecdotal memoir
The first concert of the Cumbria Rural Choirs was given in 1951 at the Pavillion in Keswick as part of the North Lakeland Festival of Britain celebrations and a performance that included Act II of Orpheus by Gluck. The orchestra then, and on many future occasions, was the Lemare Orchestra, the first conductor Cryril Gell.
That first Concert was the fulfilment of the driving ambition of the first Concert Secretary Hilde Orme to bring great choral music to the rural communities in Cumberland. Mrs Hilde Orme was herself a musician, a vicars’ wife and a great stalwart of the Women’s Institute (WI) movement. In her visits to the various WI’s in Cumberland (as it the was) she had realised how little music there was available but also realised that there was much interest. She enlisted the assistance of Lionel Nutley who became the first Chorus Master and Lord Inglewood who was to be the first President.
That first programme was chosen by Mrs Orme and Lionel Nutley who would then go round to all the small local choirs teaching and coaching
I first met Mrs Orme in 1960 on my first evening in Loweswater WI. She sat opposite me, turned me inside out and knew my life history in 5 minute flat – we both had associations with Petersfield and I think she had taught music at Bedales. She was a fantastic musician and choral trainer – totally inspirational. She persuaded her friends, such as Iris Lemare to come to Cumberland to accompany an unknown little choral society with her orchestra (The Lemare Orchestra). Within a very short time big names were travelling to Cumberland - Herbert Bargett, Alan Wicks, Anthony Hopkins, David Wilcocks, Charles Groves and note how many of the early concerts featured the Lemare Orchestra.
When Mrs Orme handed over to Dorothea Ramsay (so she told me) she said, "Now Dorothea, you have to take over – just remember we are the last of Gussie’s Girl’s". Both had been taught at St Paul’s school by composer Gustav Holst.
Cumbria Rural Choirs
Cumbria Rural Choirs are one of the largest amateur choirs in the country which celebrated their 50th year in 2001. Cumbria Rural Choirs perform with the finest conductors, orchestras and soloists each year in their annual concert in venues throughout Cumbria, after rehearsal throughout the winter months under the direction of their individual choir directors and at joint rehearsal with Chorus Master Ian Hare.
Registered Charity No. 502074