|FOLKESTONE CHORAL SOCIETY||
President: Dr David Flood
When he retired from Canterbury Cathedral at the end of 2020, David completed just over 42 years of service in Cathedral music. Having been Organist and Master of the Choristers there since 1988, he was previously Organist and Master of the Choristers at Lincoln Cathedral 1986-8 and Assistant Organist at Canterbury from 1978: his first post straight after university in Oxford and Cambridge.
While many recordings were made with the Cathedral Choir, to great acclaim, tours to America and Europe and concert and broadcast performances when the opportunity arose, it was always the daily sequence of services which was at the forefront of David’s attention. The regular performance to the many thousands of visitors and pilgrims was a great joy.
Having studied with Gillian Weir and Jean Langlais, he now finds more time to give to the organ, which is a great pleasure. Although, this is shared with the time to spend more time in France and visiting as many of the places he has longed to see.
He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by the University of Kent in 2001 and he is an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University and a Visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham. He is an examiner for ABRSM.
While missing the daily performance, David is so grateful not to have to write any more Risk Assessments!
Honorary Vice President:
Dr Berkeley Hill
Berkeley Hill was Musical Director (MD) of the Folkestone Choral Society for forty seasons, starting in autumn 1976 and finishing at Good Friday 2017. He had previously been the Society's accompanist for five years. During his time as MD, during which the FCS regularly had more than 100 singing members and peaked at about 120, the Society prepared and performed a wide range of choral music, including not only the standard repertory, many several times, but also less well known works by great composers (such as Mendelssohn's Christus. Elgars's The Light of Life and Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem) , pieces by less familiar names (Hummel, Zalenka, Bryan Kelly etc.) and some specially-commissioned titles (such as the Gloria written by Michael Lewis to mark the Millenium). There was a conscious policy of always using the scale of orchestra that the composers had in mind. Sometimes instrumental music was included in concerts, such as overtures and concertos.. The list of works performed at concerts is available on the FCS website. On leaving the Society, Berkeley was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the 2018 New Year's Honours List for contributions to music in Kent.
Berkeley took his first regular organist post in Swindon (Wiltshire) aged 14, and later studied organ playing with John Webster (University College, Oxford) and Dr Allan Wicks (Canterbury Cathedral). At school he also played the double-bass and gained valuable experience as a member for five years of the National Schools Orchestra under conductors such as Sir Malcolm Arnold, Sir David Wilcocks and Trevor Harvey. He moved to Kent in 1970 to take up a lectureship at Wye College (University of London) where he soon became responsible for training the college choir and conducting its opera society.
In 1972 Berkeley was appointed Director of Music of St. Leonard's Church, Hythe, a post held for almost 50 years, and where there are three choirs (boys-and-men, girls, and mixed adult.) In 1976, Berkeley founded the Shepway Singers to be a versatile chamber choir of about 24 semi-professional and good amateur singers. The Shepway Singers has provided the semi-chorus for several performances by the FCS of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius.
From 1970 to 2005, Berkeley's `day job` was as Professor of Policy Analysis at Wye and Imperial Colleges (London University), where he remains in an Emeritus position. He has acted as consultant for government and international organisations on statistics for agricultural and rural policy. He has also written extensively, including student text books, research volumes and numerous conference papers.
Accompanist: Tim Parsons
Tim has been organist and choirmaster at Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone since 1993.
He began playing the piano and singing at the age of seven and was taken through his piano grades by Richard Baulch.
Tim started playing the organ under the direction of Berkeley Hill at St. Leonard's Church in Hythe. During his time there he accompanied the Choir on various Cathedral trips including weeks at Lincoln; Bristol; Bath Abbey and Peterborough. In addition to his post at Hythe Tim also directed the choir and played the organ at St. Paul's Church in Sandgate between 1986 and 1992.
Choral Music is one of his greatest interests and with the assistance of Wendy, his wife, Tim enjoys running the choir at Holy Trinity. He has taken the choristers to sing the daily services at many cathedrals including those of Wells, Christ Church Dublin, Rochester, St. Edmonsbury, Ely, Bath Abbey, Lincoln, St Paul's, and Westminster Abbey. Tim has also played for and conducted several combined Deanery and RSCM choirs events in Canterbury Cathedral.
The musical life of Holy Trinity is a busy one and Tim organises several areas including the singing tuition, which is based around the Royal School of Music "Voice for Life" programme; the annual choir concert, usually in July; the organ recital series, promoted by "the Friends of the Music", which runs from July to September each summer; and other concerts that take place in the church. Recording special events and services in the church is another hobby that interests Tim.
In addition to his musical commitments at Holy Trinity Tim is also the regular accompanist of the Folkestone Choral Society and the Shepway Singers, playing the organ, harpsichord and piano.
When not absorbed in music making he manages the marketing needs of a successful Dover business called Ancestors who, among other things, trace family trees.