23/01/2012 Judith Hawkshaw 1953 - 2010

Judith Hawkshaw was a remarkable woman who went through life leaving very little untouched by her extraordinary aura of energy, concern, opinion and love. She was a one-time secretary of Ipswich Choral Society and a long time friend whose last outing with the choir was at the Istanbul International Music Festival in 2006. Although she promised to return to singing Judith never quite made it back, but was in the audience at all but a very few concerts thereafter – a person whose Christmas list for relatives, friends and godchildren had to be bought by late summer in order that they should be wrapped and ready for dispatch in time for the big day, and whose workload devising housing schemes for, it seemed, most of East Anglia would have made Samson blanch, had a long list of priorities with her own leisure a long way down it .

Sadly ICS never quite made it back into her ridiculously crammed schedule.

Judith was however a truly generous friend. It was rare that there was not time for a late night coffee after rehearsal or an opinion on one’s next move. You didn’t have to follow Jude’s advice, you weren’t judged for that, but it would be given nevertheless. Similarly I expect that there were many more than me who had a copy of her front door key, to crash out when the need arose - and you never quite knew who else was going to be there, Judith was top of the list of landladies for visiting thespians, designers and musicians working at the Wolsey Theatre, and one ran into the most interesting folk queuing up to use the bathroom.

Life in Judith’s company was never dull. Memories include her haranguing dignitaries trying to open art galleries, at the Blue Mosque going to great lengths, but respectfully so, to get the right angles for some phenomenal photographs, or, on her own doorstep, pleasantly keeping canvassing politicians of views opposed to her own talking for hours to prevent them moving on to more fertile pastures.

So now we honour her memory by using her bequest to commission a piece from Stevie Wishart in homage to the great Benjamin Britten, one-time president of Ipswich Choral Society and nephew of a past conductor of the choir. Judith Hawkshaw would be thrilled that we are making such creative use of her gift.

23/08/2010 Irene Brunning 1943 - 2010

Irene will be sadly missed within the Choral Society and our deepest sympathy goes out to her husband Peter.

Her contribution to the society was huge. Irene had a genius for organisation, which she brought to bear when she took on the role of publicity and advertising for the choir and transformed the organisation and style of ICS concert publicity and PR. With her eye for design and colour, together with her attention to detail, she created great posters, produced the programmes and tickets and organised all the publicity.

She was so generous with her time and commitment. Those of us who worked closely with her on the committee were all encouraged and spurred on by her infectious enthusiasm and by her gentle but determined ability to keep us all to deadlines.

Above all, Irene's charm and her open personality, always ready with sympathy and advice and a friendly chat, will be much missed.

As one of our new members said, "Irene was one of the first people to chat to me when I joined the choir and within minutes I felt like I belonged. She had that special ability."

Her heroic courage in her battle with cancer, always cheerful in spite of the pain she was suffering while still carrying on with rehearsals and choir publicity, particularly for her last concert in Grundisburgh church, remains a poignant memory. Irene has been an inspiration to us all.

20/05/2010 Christopher Newman 1941 - 2010

It is with sadness that we announce the loss of Chris following a prolonged period of illness.

Chris took up singing after his retirement with enthusiasm and determination. With no early formal tuition he had however, a deep love of music, - all self taught- from reading music, listening to records and concert going. Initially singing with the Orwell Park School Choir which was a small, friendly group and later, when he felt confident enough, he joined Ipswich Choral Society. Even in retirement, he wanted to improve his singing skills and technique, receiving professional tuition from Barbara Windsor who teachers a number of the choirs members. He was very proud to be a member of Ipswich Choral Society and really appreciated the camaraderie and support of its members.

He will be greatly missed.

23/04/2010 Martin Nightingale 1938-2010

If ever there was an exemplar of a choral society member, Martin Nightingale was it. Not necessarily because of his musical ability or the quality of his voice, although he was indeed gifted in both respects, but because of his approach and attitude towards being a member. His membership was about commitment and dedication; it was about giving his time, energy and enthusiasm; it was about using his skills and experience to the benefit of the society and its members.

Martin was very much aware that the success of a group is always going to be determined by the contribution made by each individual member, and therefore improving as a whole depends on each member increasing their own contribution. He also recognised the enjoyment and satisfaction that can be achieved by each person when they know that they've done their best. Martin lived this philosophy by investing in himself: he did this by taking singing lessons in order to harness his natural ability. But he was also generous with his ability, often helping others to increase their contribution: sometimes directly with a quiet word to the person standing next to him, sometimes allowing himself to appear uncertain in order to obtain support and guidance for the section or choir as a whole.

However, it wasn't just his musical ability that he shared and used for the good of the society, it was also his wealth of skills and experience that he had acquired throughout his professional working life. He brought a mature understanding of people and relationships, along with a clear and solid approach to planning and organisational management. He used these skills to great effect in leading the society, as its chairman, for four years. During this time Martin encouraged the society to revisit and reinforce its aims and objectives, establishing new education and training initiatives, and continuing to create opportunities for members to explore new territory, both musically and geographically. Following his time as chairman, the society continued to benefit from Martin's organisational skills as he took on the challenge of project managing a revitalised and somewhat more complex Christmas concert in 2007 and, building on its success, for the following two years.

But maybe the reason we miss Martin most is not because of his musical or management skills, but because of his personality: the smile, the wink, the wit...the light that turned on when he entered the room...the encouragement, the support....the cheeky quip from the back row...helping to make rehearsals fun (as well as productive!).

Yes, if ever there was anyone that you could hold up as a shining example of a great choral society member, then Martin was that person. He may not be physically amongst us any more as we rehearse and perform, but he will be an inspiration to many people for many years to come; and if we can just retain within us a little of what Martin stood for....working hard, having fun & helping others....then we will be better society members....and, more importantly, better people.

Thank you Martin.

By using the links below Ipswich Choral Society will receive a small commission.

Saturday, 2 December 2017, 7.30pm

Britten's Ceremony of Carols
The Great School
Ipswich School
Ivry Street
Ipswich IP1 3QW

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Goodall's Eternal Light: A Requiem
Corn Exchange
Ipswich IP1 1DH

Tickets direct from:
ICS Members
ICS Ticket Line
01473 625 208
0759 705 2572
Music World,
Queen Street,
Ipswich IP1 1SS