Handwashers’ Newsletter 1st November 2020


It is with deepest regret that we report that Sarah has died following a long battle with cancer. She loved the choir and her singing. A tribute will follow.

 Meanwhile we send our deepest condolences to Alan, her husband, and George and Henry.

(If you would like to make your own tribute to Sarah, please email it to timp470@btinternet.com )

 SAVING THE DAY Andy recalls moments of high stress but all was saved by:


Few soloists are held in higher esteem than those who step in, often at just a day or two’s notice, to fulfil the engagement of an indisposed singer. CCS has had its fair share of late withdrawals – and the associated crisis management! Perhaps against expectations, the stand-ins often shine in performance, reflecting a high level of skill and professionalism. Members who’ve been with us for some years may recall that in May 2009 Andrew Dickinson stood in as the tenor in Mendelssohn’s St Paul:

I remember the embarrassment of my phone ringing out in the Bingham Hall during the final Friday evening rehearsal – but the call confirmed that we would, after all, have a tenor.  The reviewer’s accolade – Andrew Dickinson’s lyrical tenor voice was beautifully controlled through the range in all that he sang – marked him out as someone to follow. We got him back to sing in the Puccini/Rossini concert in 2015. The following year he joined Deutsche Oper Berlin and then launched his own opera company in the city:  Opera@Stone. The company performs in the warehouse space of the Stone Brewery.

Andrew opened with a modern-day interpretation of La Bohème in the summer of 2018, working in collaboration with a choir of refugees and homeless people as well as a professional orchestra and soloists: Stone Brewery

Having a strong interest in community outreach, he had some years earlier resurrected a defunct singing competition in his home city of Liverpool by establishing a new annual festival – the Rainhill* Music Festival – to support young musicians in city.  Andrew, rightly proud of this achievement, is seen here on the left of the winner’s presentation photo: 

*The railway enthusiasts and history buffs among you may recognise the name from The Rainhill Trials where, in 1829, Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive proved its worth.

Here is Andrew performing Thisbe’s aria from Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream:




and from Jane: