Hugh Waldock Ipswich School Senior Singing Cup Winner 1995

ISCC practice in Ipswich School chapel 1993

"My music is the love of my life, despite my natural talent for languages," Hugh Waldock.

 

Eton Choral Courses 1995 and 1996

Evensong at Kings College Cambridge 1995

At represented Ipswich School on Eton Choral Courses in 1995 and 1996 after my cup win as a countertenor. The first year we rehearsed in Eton College Chapel and then did a recording for the BBC World Service "In Praise of God" programme, 2 half hour recordings broadcast on 3rd and 10th December 1995 of which I have a copy on tape and am gradually digitalizing. We also sang evensong at Kings College Cambridge that year with Stephen Cleobury. The second year I did it we sang evensong at St John's College Cambridge with Tim Brown. That service was also recorded on tape. Off the back of that I got a few singing lessons from the great countertenor Ashley Stafford of the Monteverdi Choir who helped me with an application to GSMD.

My First Singing Teacher Jane Bagnall

My first singing teacher was the great Jane Bagnall. She taught many great singers having studied under Ian Ray at Trinity College London. She was our resident singing teacher and head of prep school music. Her husband Martyn, a tenor was very active in a leadership role in in local singing circles. She was very, very talented with me because I didn't always concentrate and bring a pencil to mark up a score in those days. However, she got me a very decent grade 5 with 128 points with a 29/30 for Five Eyes by Armstrong Gibbs and a 27/30 for Where'ere you walk from Semele and a 19/21 for the folk song. Aural tests let me down. Under her I won the Ipswich School senior singing cup in 1995.

Ian Galbriath's Chamber Choir

I was also involved in performances with headmaster Ian Galbriath's personal chamber choir. We performed several concerts in Suffolk churches. I did a duet in Handel's Second Passion with the King's Scholar Tim Kiddell our head chorister and I also did Beatus Vir by Monteverdi and a concert with a number of number of other religious pieces. I received a Certificate of Outstanding Contribution to Music and Drama on leaving Ipswich School.

Andrew Leach 1994-1996

Andrew Leach I would class as the poster man of Ipswich School Music. He built an invincible reputation for music at my school. An excellent choirmaster who always gave us plenty to do. He had a real sense of humor and fun. He accompanied me when I won the Ipswich School Solo Singing Competition in 1995 with the aria He Was Despised from Handel's Messiah. He has two great sons who are musicians as well. He was a friend of Ralph Allwood's the former head of Music at Eton College and was part of the 1970s Kings College Cambridge set of which he is a graduate. Rumour has it he got into the the Yahoudi Menuhin school for piano in childhood and in a rather similar fashion to me his parent's refused entry on grounds of the education being too narrow. I was denied access to a cathedral school education for the same reason. In his era we did Chichester Psalms, Paukenmesse at Snape, Ely Cathedral again, St Edmundsbury, all the bread and butter services, Elgar's To the Bavarian Highlands, Messiah highlights in which I was a soloist and the choir tour to Edinburgh in which I was a soloist and we sang at St Mary's Cathedral there. We did 60 performances in total at sixth form at A level and around 240 in the main school in total. I still have the parents letters and worked it all out.

Andrew Wilson's Stewardship 1993-1994

Andrew Wilson was a great choirmaster actually. We were always in tune and in time with him and he was a fantastic pianist and organist who studied at Edinburgh University. The thing the department was deflated by a scandal when William Dore left involving another music master and Andrew just came in to hold the fort. He was severely underrated as a choirmaster because he was genuinely good. I think he really suffered for not being an Oxbridge graduate and he thought it best to play safe and just do St Edmundsbury  and the bread and butter services and do a good job of that rather than risk taking us on tour. I think he should have trusted himself because he was charismatic and one of the best technically. He could give the great Andrew Leach a run for his money on the piano and he passed his FTCL in piano which was very impressive. Largely self taught as well, we sang at his church in Edinburgh where he was an organ scholar in the sixth form.

The William Dore Era 1990-1993

Evensong at Durham Cathedral 1990

William Dore was an Oxford organ scholar at one of the major choral colleges. He was a good and very loyal choirmaster who took over from Orton. I wasn't his absolute favourite, but he did like me and I established myself as one of his stalwarts he could always rely upon. We did a tour to York in 1991, where we sang with his friends in Durham Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral, Beverly Minster and a church in York. We stayed at the Bar Convent with the nuns that presided over the relic of a female martyr and we kept each other awake at night in the dorm playing constant tricks on each other. In his era we sang at St Edmundsbury, and I believe Ely Cathedral as well, Foxearth, Hintelsham, and Rushmere churches too and many other Suffolk churches. We were also given the pleasure of doing our first recording in 1992 at St Mary Le Tower Church for Bethany Records on which I am credited as a tenor called "Te Deum Laudamus" shortly before I became a countertenor. We did the Mozart Requiem, the Faure Requiem, Lobet den Herzen Meine Seele by Schütz at Snape, and a performance of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. The assistant choirmaster and then musician in residence was the very accomplished Stephen Knight who taught harpsichord for GSMD and was friends with Bernard Lanskey the former deputy head of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He played organ on that recording.

Ipswich School Chapel Choir under Stephen Orton 1989-1990

ISCC Tour to Chevreuse Michaelmas Term 1989

Because of the length of time I was in the ISCC (7 years) from year 1 to the U6, I saw many changes, golden eras and some pretty tough baptisms of fire, but the first year starting in September 1989 was one of the greatest choirs we ever had in my era. I found myself touring in my first term with Stephen Trowell (later of the Magnets and brother of my friend Jamie (international percussionist)), Jamie himself, the Seatons Bart and Michael, Simon Wilcox, George Double, Francis Goodhand the stage director, and a lot of very competent singers long since forgotten. It was probably the most professional setup we ever had under Orton. Orton was also the late Ben Parry's choirmaster and a very fine chess player indeed. I entered the Suffolk Junior Chess Championships in 1989 under his stewardship of the chess club, and he said a rating of 1000 for an 11 year old was good. I got one of 978 for beating the girl who came third in a fools mate at the start of the game. Orton was a rehearser and I just remember having to give up the whole of my two week half term rather than just one week, because we rehearsed the whole of the first week and made off on the ferry from Felixtowe to Zeebrugge the next day when we travelled to the town of Chevreuse just outside Paris for my first choir tour. What sheer ambition for his choir though, because if you take a quick look at the programme we did it was remarkable in the time taken. No-one worked us harder. In 1990 in the Spring Term of our first year I took part in the very first Ipswich School at Snape Maltings concert which has become a showpiece for the school's talent in recent years. We also did evensong at Norwich Cathedral.  As well as our bread and butter workload of 2/3 house services per term, a founders day service, a judges services and 2 carol services every year as standard. These took place mostly at St Mary Le Tower in Ipswich although we also used St Margrets for the Lower School Carols. During that time I was also in the lower school choral society and their production of Verdi Requiem with featuring the whole of years one and two.

Widford Lodge Preparatory School for Boys 1986-1989

In 1986 I moved to Witham in Essex and lived in Collingwood Road. Collingwood Road is in the old part of Witham. Olly Murrs (also from Witham) should be grateful to my grandfather Fred Bowker because he was the civil engineer who was responsible for building Witham from a village into a new town. He died in 1983 leaving his four bedroom detached house "Blakenham" (25 Collingwood Road) to his wife, my grandmother Margret Bowker who died in 2013. So, I lived with nana and mum together for three years there. During this time I attended a private preparatory school for boys (sadly no girls again for 10 years) called Widford Lodge Preparatory School for Boys in Chelmsford. Widford Lodge was probably the best school I ever attended academically because they had us doing O Level Geography at the age of nine and I started French at 8.

The music was headed up by James Smith, a graduate of Trinity College, London and his wife Katie Fenn. His choir was his pride and joy. It was so precious to him that I wasn't allowed in at first. I had to be very persistent and earn my place. I cried bitterly about being rejected and then, having got, in was refused a place on the choir tour to Amsterdam and to sing in Amsterdam Cathedral on the grounds that we hadn't been in the choir long enough. The Boys Choir of Widford Lodge, as it was then, was responsible for our Anglican hymn singing at our daily Christian assemblies. We had to be there for practice at 8:30 every day and then do a ten minute assembly on stage. That was our bread and butter. Then, we got to sing at Waltham Abbey, and a number of churches in the Chelmsford area. I believe my first ever proper concert in church was in Great Baddow Church in 1987. Then there was our connection with Chelmsford Cathedral, where we did our founders day and Christmas Carol services. Other highlights included a performance of Lloyd-Webber's Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Ley's School in Cambridge together with all the Cambridge boys school choirs, the first round of Sainsbury's Choir of the Year competition and a singing day at the beautiful Rochester Cathedral. Upon leaving at 11 I was given an unsuccessful audition for the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, but gained a place at the very musical Ipswich School, where I'd done well enough with Mr Smith, to have a place in Ipswich School Chapel Choir from my first term in September 1989 until I left in 1996. James Smith was promoted from primary education to be head of music at Repton.

 

St Georges Hanover Square 1985

I have been a chorister of some description since 1985 when I took part in a trio of "Galloping Majors", in a production at St Georges School, Hanover Square in London for Miss Carey's leaving party. St George's school, which is in South Street in Mayfair was my first school.