Handwashers’ Newsletter 10th January 2021


We very much regret to announce that Mark died suddenly last Sunday. He had only joined the basses in September 2018, but his gentle personality, good humour and fine voice had already endeared him to those of us privileged to know him. We will miss him and send condolences to his wife, Wendy.


THE ROYAL (DIS)CONNECTION Pippa Burgon’s immaculate dress sense denies her a place in history:

In 1969 I was at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. My fine teacher, Miss Jones, had declared this was the best place to read Geography. And I, in my teenage obstinacy, wanted the seaside and the mountains far away from the Home Counties.

In the summer the University choir was invited to take part in the Investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. Imagine my parents’ proud joy at the thought of their daughter participating in such an historic event. But my obstinacy triumphed. On seeing the dull green fabric with which we were told to make the awful sack-like long dress, I said ‘ No way will I wear such a thing’ , and there ended my chance to be part of history. I have since scoured old film of the Investiture to try to glimpse those dresses (and my friends wearing them) but to no avail. When I joined the Choral Society in 2014 this was my first time in a choir since my university days.

Sir Arthur Bliss (Master of the Queen’s Music 1953-75)

My memory sadly does not extend to the specially commissioned piece by Arthur Bliss which I have since discovered was apparently sung. I wonder if there are other alumni of the University of Wales in our choir who might remember the occasion? And the dresses?

Here’s part of the BBC film of the Investiture including Pippa’s less fashion-conscious friends clad in their ‘awful sack-like dresses’:



As the Christmas Season slips away, here is something to enjoy:


DAVID WHITE CCS Conductor 1990-98

Those of you who remember David may be interested to know that his widow, Judy, has written a book about him, A Remarkable Man. Details of how to order a copy are here:  Order Form

BLUMSOMS DEBATE HALLELUJAH Meg and Geoff debate which version they prefer:


or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRhjWdr-LAA


Jane invites us to join her in a new chorus of Hosanna in Excelsheets:

and Sonia introduces Bach and Rossini as you’ve never heard them before: