Choir History

Rev’d Robin Phillips, the then new Vicar, was walking along the path to Church one day in 1968 wondering how a choir could be started.  He met a man and a boy coming out of Church.  Roy and Warwick Taylor had just come to live in Mellor. Robin chatted to them and mentioned his thoughts about a choir.  Roy had been connected with Holy Trinity, Coventry, and had been an organist and choirmaster. Within a very short time Roy had been appointed to Mellor and he set about recruiting a choir of boys.

Their first sung service was on Advent Sunday 1968.  By spring 1970 this choir was singing to a high standard.  Then in September 1970 three men joined, Chris Downes, Harold Gwyther and Richard McLean.  Bob Norris replaced Richard just before Christmas 1970 when Richard decided he could not continue at Mellor. Roy’s ethos for the choir was that “only the best is good enough for God,” an ethos that continues.

Roy Taylor left the district in November 1981, and was followed by Sue Bailey who led the choir from December 1981 to the end of December 1982.

January 1983 saw Duncan Eyre take over the reins until the end of July 1984.

In September 1984 we were fortunate enough to appoint Peter Harle who led the choir to great achievements until his retirement on Easter Sunday, 27th March 2005.  During his time with us Peter developed the choir’s abilities, and instigated many trips to Cathedrals where the choir stayed for the full weekend and sang at all the services during that stay.  The choir has sung at Manchester, Coventry, Wells, Cartmel, Worksop, St.Asaph, St.David’s, Lincoln, Durham & Hereford Cathedrals

During the ‘Choir weekends’ at Champion House in Edale each year, they also sang at either Sheffield or Derby Cathedral, also Bakewell, Tideswell or Buxton Churches at the Saturday evensong service.

Peter also arranged singing trips to France on a bi-annual basis for the trebles and young adults, accompanied by a youth orchestra.  These trips were very successful, and were hugely enjoyed by the choristers, as well as building up their self confidence and abilities.

Following Peter’s retirement, Marc Hall was appointed Director of Music. Marc was an ex-chorister who had ‘come up through the ranks’, and has proved to be a more than able Choirmaster and Church Organist. Among his many achievements were several very successful concert tours including Belgium and Germany.

The choir flourished under Marc’s leadership in both numbers and ability.  After five successful years under the control and tutelage of Marc, work commitments at a University in South Wales meant that he had to relinquish his position as Director of Music for Mellor Church.

In 2010, St Thomas was very fortunate to secure the services of another talented musician: Jonathan Lo is now conducting and directing the musical life of Mellor Church for the foreseeable future and church music is thriving in Mellor.   Recent tours have included residencies at St David’s and Ripon, and singing in Lincoln and Blackburn Cathedrals.  In the summer of 2015, the choir went on a tour to Belgium, singing in Brussels, Ghent and Ypres Cathedrals, and finishing with the moving last post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

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