Added on 5 December 2013

As part of the build up to the Gala Concert on New Year’s Eve, we asked Ralph Allwood to tell us a bit about the inception of the Rodolfus Choir, thirty years ago. Here is what he said:

Rodolfus Choir started life as the Uppingham Choral Course Choir. After one of the courses, Rowena Brown, a particularly keen 18 year old, suggested to me that there should be a choir made up of singers from recent courses. I agreed with her that it was a good idea, remarking feebly that I simply hadn’t got round to organising it. She said, “I will.” “Okay, what are we doing first?” I asked. “We’re going on tour to South Germany and Italy, and all you’ll have to do is choose the singers and the music.” “Why South Germany and Italy?” I enquired, impressed. “Because I haven’t been there before.”

I just love enterprise, particularly in the young and wide eyed, so I parried with my choice of repertoire. I chose Howells Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing and Bach Singet dem Herrn.

28 years later another enterprising ex-pupil, Eddy Watkins, now Head of Music at West London Free School, organised a choir of singers from schools in South West London, and asked me to conduct it when I left Eton. I am pleased that it has been possible for both choirs to come together for the Gala Concert. Thank you, Francis Grier, for so generously giving us his new piece for the occasion.

Ralph Allwood