Harborough choir faced an uncertain future after conductor left in early 1980s

Rod Iliffe
Rod Iliffe

Gill Guest continues to look through the archives of the Harborough Singers as they mark their 40th anniversary

In 1984 our conductor and founder, Barry Clark, decided to leave the choir to pursue other interests.

Barry Clark

Barry Clark

He would go on to become a respected music adjudicator at festivals and competitions around the world, and to start many more choirs.

Still as busy as ever, he now conducts the hugely successful Belcanto Ladies Choir in Kettering.

Meanwhile, with no conductor, the Harborough Singers were facing an uncertain future.

They also had a more immediate problem, since they were about to go to Germany to appear at a festival.

David Beavan

David Beavan

Fortunately, the choir had in its tenor section the very young and talented Rod Iliffe, now Musical Director at Harborough Musical Theatre.

Rod courageously stepped into the breach, took up the baton and enabled the choir to head for Hanover.

A few months later, a professional musician and ex-Swingle Singer, David Beavan, was recruited from a number of applicants as the choir’s new conductor.

David’s first concert with the choir, in the open air outside the Barbican in London, proved challenging: a sudden gust of wind blew all his music away.

Nevertheless, he was undaunted and – in an astonishing feat of endurance – continues to conduct the choir to this very day.