46 years ago, Christopher Dowie founded a choir in Wimborne, to which all were welcome. There was no audition, the only real requirement being a love of choral music and a desire to sing. At the first rehearsal Church House was packed with the many people in Wimborne who did love music and who really did want to sing. And so Wimborne Choral Society was born.
Since that momentous day Wimborne Choral Society has gone from strength to strength, singing most of the classic choral repertoire as well as works by modern composers, including by Chris himself.
During those 46 years, Chris has developed a choir which has grown in confidence and ability. His skill as a musician has become legendary not just locally but nationwide as he has performed in concerts with world class choirs, orchestras and conductors, playing in the Albert Hall and as organist in most of the country’s great cathedrals He is respected and admired by so many musicians, proved by the fact that for our concerts he can call on soloists and on players for Wimborne Chamber Orchestra, all of whom are friends.
And yet he is our Chris. Faced with singers who range from highly experienced to those who want to learn, he has conducted rehearsals with skill, patience (mostly), humour and great kindness, melding together a choir of which we are all proud. His philosophy is always looking forward. If you have made a mistake, move on to the next note! Thanks to him we have experienced musical moments of great joy.
46 years is a long time to wield a baton, (not that he ever uses one), and now Chris has finally decided to retire as Musical Director of Wimborne Choral Society. His last concert with us will be in December 2024. In June of 2024 we plan to hold a concert which will be a Celebration of Dowie with compositions by Chris himself. It will require a very large orchestra, and for that reason we are Crowd Funding to raise money to achieve this special concert. We hope that all who know him, personally or through his music , will want to contribute .
Wimborne Choral Society has been so lucky to have Chris as our Musical Director and losing him will be a great blow, though we hope he may still play the odd note on the organ for us from time to time. We shall miss him greatly. He has been not just our conductor but a dear friend.