Redbridge Ladies Choir to perform final show after 70 years

PUBLISHED: 09:52 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:55 13 June 2018

The final members of the Redbridge Ladies Choir. Photo: Janet Baldacci

The final members of the Redbridge Ladies Choir. Photo: Janet Baldacci

Janet Baldacci

The Redbridge Ladies Choir has been going since 1948 but sadly after a dwindling membership in recent years the choir will be saying goodbye with a special concert.

Redbridge Ladies Choir is going to close after 70 years, and will be hosting a final concert to say farewell.

The choir was first opened in 1948, and was at the time the London Co-operative Ladies’ Choir, and many of the original members were telephonists at Seven Kings Telephone Exchange.

By 1953, there were 45 members, who were a mix of ages, at this time, Edward Taylor was the choir leader – he was also a local choir church choir master, organist and piano teacher.

In those earlier years, the choir joined in with a big concert every year, at either the Royal Albert Hall, or the London Festival Hall.

In 1953, the choir took part in a special concert at the Festival Hall, celebrating the Festival of Britain.

Also later in the same year the choir took part in a concert at East Ham Central Hall, alongside ladies from Barking and Dagenham and other groups from East London.

Over the years the choir has always performed locally in the borough, and that organised outings to London by coach, and to the seaside so it was a day out for everyone involved.

By 1966, the choir formed part of the Co-op movement of choir, popular at the time, and the title ‘Redbridge Ladies’ Choir’ was introduced.

At this time Edward Taylor retired as choir leader.

Iris Parry became the choir leader, and by this time, choir practices were held in Seven Kings Library hall (now part of a primary school in Kingswood Road, Seven Kings)

Francis Hay led the choir for 14 years, followed by Peter Miller for 22 years. The choir regularly performed two concerts per year during these times.

During the latter part of Mr Miller’s leadership, Janet Baldacci was the choir’s pianist.

In September 2013, Mr Miller and Mrs Baldacci swapped roles. Mr Miller remained as pianist until sadly ill health prevented him form doing so.

Mrs Baldacci has continued to lead the choir single handedly during the past two years, still putting on two annual performances.

In recent years, membership has dwindled considerably, to the extent that the choir is no longer able to be viable.

The remaining ladies very much regret this, and it seems fitting that the final concert will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the choir in its original form.

The Farewell/70th anniversary open evening will be held, as usual, at The Palmer Catholic Academy, AldbSeven Kings, at 7.30pm on Monday, June 25.

The choir is hoping to make this an extra special event, and are hoping as many people who have came to watch the choir over the years can come to share their memories.

Programmes are available in advance from members, or pay at the door with a suggested donation of £5.

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