It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself to you readers formally as the new Choral Director and I must say how incredibly touched I have been by the welcome that I have received here at Huddersfield Parish Church. Canon Simon, our superb organist Steven and continuing members of the choir have been nothing but a pillar of advice and support as I ‘found my feet’, as it were, in those little idiosyncrasies which make this church a particular pleasure to be a part of. I feel, however, that I must express my most sincere gratitude to you the congregation for your warm words of kindness and reassurance, only reaffirming for me that what we as a choir have begun to do makes these services as enjoyable as possible for you and leads your worship well.
A little bit about my history: I began my musical training in Wigan at age eleven as a boy treble, in a church not at all too dissimilar to the Parish, and have really enjoyed being part of a choirs’ routine once again. Around the age of twelve, however, my voice began to break and I progressed from treble to contralto and finally resting in the tenor section. It was at this point that the organist of the church decided that I should begin my keyboard training. After starting piano and organ lessons with him, he began giving me the ‘crash course’ in conducting, which proved useful for our choir, as the organist and I would exchange the roles of Choral Director and Organist frequently. Progressing into college, I began piano, organ and conducting lessons with Richard Lea (Organist at Liverpool Met. Cathedral) and really flourished under him, gaining entry into Huddersfield University in September 2010 to study piano performance. Whilst here, I began conducting the Huddersfield University Singers and began accompanying many local choral groups around Huddersfield. Not before long did I find myself organist at Newsome South Methodist Church in Berry Brow, prior to coming to the Parish. I also run a private teaching practice in Piano, Organ and Music Theory. I graduate with my BMus(Hons) degree in July and will be continuing at the University to do my postgraduate degree. I finally hope to become a Lecturer or Teacher depending on ‘how the land lies’ after my postgrad, but I will most certainly be staying around the Huddersfield area.
Here at Huddersfield Parish Church, I have many aspirations for the development of the choir, and in particular, a general musical uprising. With Easter Season about to leave us, I am sure that you noticed how depleted the choir has been over the Holidays. This is due to the choir being mainly student based – therefore losing them in the holidays – and we are looking towards building a choir of local singers and students alike, (you may have seen our recruitment poster, which is included in this magazine – please feel free to spread this to whomever you think may be interested) so that the choir may continue in the biggest festivals in our calendar.
I trust that you have noticed the augmentation of our choristers inside the term period however, as we welcome five new bodies to our numbers, four of which are students, and the fifth being a local opera singer! With the addition of these fantastic singers, we are beginning work on some new service settings for our morning services and in September hope to begin Evensong every Sunday evening. We are also beginning to look at some of the more challenging choral repertoire for our Sunday Anthems during communion, which should be exciting for all to hear. Besides our regular Sunday services, however, we are looking towards concerts, and the like, for performance by our choir and are also welcoming other groups around the area to come and perform for us. There is talk of the choir putting a choral and orchestral concert on in September and I believe Huddersfield Camerata is returning for an Orchestral Concert at some point in the near future. I, myself, will be bringing the Huddersfield University Singers to perform for you at some point also.
With all this in mind, I am hopeful that we can start, and continue, a thriving musical society here at the Parish; to lead our Sunday worship, in both morning and evening services, and to begin a concert season of our own and visiting musicians, which I’m sure yourselves and the general public would be excited to be part of.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far with you and hope to get to know you all more personally over the coming weeks, months and, indeed, years!
With best wishes and kind regards,
Daniel Roberts – Choral Director