History of the Gotherington Singers
The Gotherington Singers have built a growing reputation for themselves since they were formed in 1967 by Margaret Crompton. Starting as a small local WI choir in the village of Gotherington, with only a few singers, some of whom had little musical knowledge, they now have about 25 singers from a wide area in and around Cheltenham.
Under Margaret's inspiring leadership they began to grow in size and ability, and their reputation grew with them. They were soon tackling more ambitious projects, and the decision was made to become an independent choir in their own right.
Since then they have performed successfully in music festivals both in the UK and overseas, and have also raised thousands of pounds singing for local charities. They have been Gold Cup winners at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts, and in 2006 were honoured to be invited to sing at the Thora Hird Memorial Concert at St Martin in the Fields in the presence of Sophie Countess of Wessex.
They have been pleased and proud to have had the well-known broadcaster, Richard Baker, as their Patron for many years. Over the years he joined them for several concerts as reader, compere and raconteur, and remained a good friend to the choir until his death in 2018. The choir's present Patron is composer and musician Gwyn Arch, who is hugely supportive despite health difficulties. He is generous with advice and friendship, and has attended several of their concerts, as well as arranging his own music for them. The choir is pleased to have him as a friend and advisor.
Margaret Crompton retired in 2015, and Jane Ward Watts took up the baton. Jane is another inspiring leader and the choir was delighted when she agreed to join them. Jane took the choir forward for three and a half years despite her incredibly busy work schedule, and the choir has benefited enormously from her skill, expertise and musicality. Jane handed the baton on to Sandra Burne, who took the choir forward with skill and enthusiasm, and has recently left to take up some new musical challenges. The choir are now looking for a new musical director to continue taking them forward.
The choir is justifiably proud of the family atmosphere it has created throughout its life and development, with mutual support for members through good and bad times.