Another in our occasional series about members of Clarion, Dan Keeler talks to Doreen Baggett:
My earliest musical memory was singing solo, aged 5 or 6, in a Sunday School Festival.
I grew up in a mining village in County Durham, so I am nearly a Geordie! I sang in the village Junior and then Senior choirs, both well regarded in the north east in concerts and festivals in the days before television. The Senior choir was chosen to represent Northumberland and Durham in the opening concert in the Festival Hall in London for the 1951 Festival of Britain.
In the 1980s, I was singing as part of an informal madrigal group. One of the singers invited me to Katharine Thomson ‘s Mozart “soiree” in Moseley. This was an annual event, celebrating the birthday of Mozart, and bringing together some talented and esteemed musicians, such as Jeremy Ballard. Katharine suggested I go along to sing with Birmingham Clarion Singers, for a concert for their then president, Alan Bush.
I have been a member of several choirs, including the Birmingham University Choir, for many years, enjoying their great classical choral repertoire. Clarion offers songs of social and political significance to influence and inspire audiences, as well as providing enjoyable music.
One funny incident I remember from my early Clarion days occurred during a semi-staged production. The details are hazy, but we must have had to remove our shoes, and Irene Rickman and I realised sometime later that we had picked up each other’s shoes!
A more recent memorable event was the mass sing with about 900 singers in the open-air at the Kendal Street-choirs festival.