Our Patron – The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John
Dr. Jeffrey John was born in Tonyrefail in South Wales in 1953. He studied at Hertford College, Oxford, where he gained a first in classics and modern languages in 1975. After reading Theology at St. Stephen’s House, Oxford, he served his first Curacy at Penarth, in the Diocese of Llandaff.
He returned to Oxford in 1980 to read for a doctorate in Pauline theology. In 1984 he was appointed to a Fellowship as Dean of Divinity at Magdalen. In 1991 he became Vicar of Holy Trinity, Eltham in Southwark Diocese. Dean John’s previous post was as Canon Chancellor and Bishop’s Adviser for Ministry in the Diocese of Southwark.
Dr. John’s interests include learning and reading European languages.
President – Dr Peter Hurford OBE
Born on St. Cecilia’s Day 1930, Peter Hurford studied at the Royal College of Music before moving to Jesus’ College Cambridge in 1949 where he was organ scholar until 1953 and from where he graduated in music and law. Peter undertook National Service as an officer in the Royal Signals from 1954 to 1956 after which he became Organist at Holy Trinity Church, Leamington Spa.
In 1955 he married Patricia Matthews. Their two sons Michael and Richard were both Woollam’s Scholars in the Cathedral Choir; Michael also became Head Chorister. Heather, their daughter, was unable to sing at the Cathedral as there was no Abbey Girls’ choir at the time.
While Master of the Music at St. Alban’s Cathedral, from which he retired in 1978 after 21 years’ service, he raised the standard of the Choir to be comparable with the best Cathedral and Collegiate choirs in the UK. Peter also initiated the famous “Choir Camp” at Luccombe and in 1958 he brought together many parish church choirs from Herts and Beds for the first Biennial Diocesan Choirs’ Festival.
In 1963, Peter founded the International Organ Festival and was Artistic Director until 1978. He has been President ever since. Peter Hurford’s recital career spans 41 years and he is one of the most recorded instrumentalists of the past twenty years. As a freelance organist from 1978 until 1998 he became particularly well known for his interpretation of Bach’s complete organ music and in 1988 he published his book ‘Making music on the organ’.
In 1997 his career culminated with 15 concerts of Bach Organ Works at the 50th Edinburgh Festival.
From 1980 to 1982 Peter was President of the Royal College of Organists and Visiting Artist-in-Residence to Sydney Opera House. He is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Music and of the Royal School of Church Music.
In 1984 Peter Hurford was honoured with the O.B.E. and in November 2007 he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Herts., his third.
Vice President – Andrew Lucas
Andrew Lucas has been the Master of the Music at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban since 1998.
His career began St Paul’s Cathedral in 1980 as organ student and he became subsequently Assistant Sub-Organist (1985) and Sub-Organist and Assistant Director of Music (1990–1998).
Born in Wellington, Shropshire in 1958, Andrew studied organ at the Royal College of Music with John Birch, and composition with Herbert Howells. He graduated with a BMus from the University of London and continued his organ studies after college with Peter Hurford. The award of the W T Best Scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Musicians then enabled him to study with Piet Kee at the Sweelinck Conservatoire, Amsterdam.
As an organ soloist he plays concerts throughout the UK and has given recitals in Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Bermuda and the USA.
In 1997 he spent three months on sabbatical as Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.
As conductor, Andrew has been Chorus Master of the London Concert Choir, Assistant Conductor of the City of London Choir and deputy chorus master with the Royal Choral Society, the Brighton Festival Chorus, the Academy of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields Chorus and the Philharmonia Chorus.
In 2007 he directed the annual Choir Directors’ Course at St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York.
Since Andrew took up his position as Master of the Music the Cathedral Choir has toured Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Rome and the Eastern seaboard of the USA, made several broadcasts (including Choral Evensong on Radio 3 and morning service on ITV) and sung at the late Queen Mother’s 100th birthday celebrations.
Andrew was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians in 2006.
Honorary Life Members
Malcolm became Chairman of the Ex-Choristers’ Association in September 2007 following the Inaugural Reunion in July and held the position until June 2018.
Malcolm was an alto Lay Clerk from 1971 to 1982 singing with Dr Peter Hurford and Dr Stephen Darlington. He left the Cathedral Choir to move to New Zealand with the Shell Group of Companies and thereafter to Indonesia, Thailand, Scotland and Oman.
He now sings with The Wingrave Singers, a group he previously directed and, when he can, as an Honorary Lay Clerk with the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir in Aberdeen for their main festivals and choral events.
Malcolm and his wife, Luanda, now live in Aston Clinton, Aylesbury.
Chairman – Richard Lilley
Richard was a Chorister when Stephen Darlington was Master of the Music, becoming a probationer in 1979 and retiring as Head Chorister in 1984. With fond memories of Choir Camp he maintained contact for many years, often taking holiday to coincide with camp.
Richard and Gill (coincidentally with family ties to Minehead) were married at St. Mary’s, Luccombe during choir camp in 2000. They still live in Hertfordshire with their two children who attend school in Harpenden.
He sings Tenor with St. Albans Bach Choir, and was elected to the ECA management committee in June 2016. At the AGM in June 2018 he was elected as Chairman.
In the early 1980s Richard’s father, Bryan, was instrumental in initiating, and presided over, an “Old Choristers’ Day,” attended by over 50 former choristers and where messages from Her Majesty The Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury were read. Following this meeting “The Association of Former Choristers of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban” was established.
Honorary Treasurer – Jeremy Meager
Jeremy first started singing as a boy at St. Mary’s Church, Nottingham before joining the Abbey Choir in 1975, where he went on to become a Woollam Scholar. Even though he’s always been passionate about the English Choral Tradition, it was a chance invitation by John Clough to turn pages one Sunday morning that really ignited his love of the organ and of accompanying choirs. He remembers the piece as being Procession of Palms by Malcolm Williamson. Following organ lessons with Stephen Darlington, Harry Bramma and finally with Peter Hurford, Jeremy left school to attend the RNCM in Manchester, but left after deciding that a full-time career in music was not what he wanted to do.
For the past 25 years Jeremy has worked full time in the digital organ industry, and for the past 10 years has been Managing Director of Viscount Classical Organs Ltd based in Bicester. He still maintains a busy part-time music career as both accompanist and recitalist.
Honorary Secretary – vacant
IT and Communications Manager – Tony Price
Tony Price is a business and IT consultant by profession but is also a Lay Clerk, singing alto in the Cathedral Choir. His wife, Marie, conducts the Parish Singers and Parish Junior Singers at the Cathedral and his three children have all been choristers – two in the Abbey Girls’ Choir and one in the Cathedral Choir.
As a treble, he was once a finalist in the Chorister of the Year competition (1980).
Representatives for the Cathedral Choir
For the 1950/1960s – Trevor Jarvis
Trevor joined the Abbey Choir as a probationer in 1957, under Peter Burton, and was made a chorister a year later under Peter Hurford and continued until 1961, when his voice broke. He went on the first Luccombe camp in 1958.
Trevor studied music in London and at Southampton University, and was latterly Director of Music at Buckfast Abbey, until taking early retirement in 2007. Since then he has worked part-time on the staff of the Royal School of Church Music in Salisbury, running choir-training workshops.
For the 1960s – Nicolas Gibbon
Nicolas was a chorister through most of the late 1960s and continued his interest in the Cathedral after that, until university, family and career took him away from Hertfordshire. Time spent in Germany and Sweden led to Brighton and finally London where he now ekes out a living in the dark world of political consultancy.
Sadly, nature has seen to it that Nicolas should never sing again in an environment where anyone will hear him, but nostalgia for the music, the good times, the great people associated with the Choir, not to mention the beautiful city, cathedral and football club of St Albans have all brought him back to the Association.
For the 1960s – Peter Jeffs
Peter started singing in St Julian’s Church Choir in St Albans before joining the Abbey Choir in Autumn 1959 where he became a Woollams Scholar before leaving in April 1964. Graduating in Physics at Newcastle University he settled in Leeds to pursue a career in engineering and finance before running an education charity in Yorkshire & Humberside.
Throughout his life he has sung in church choirs, a madrigal group and Leeds G&S Society. He currently sings with Guiseley Parish Church which has visited St Albans on a number of occasions to sing during choir holidays.
For the 1970s – Nick Coleman
For the 1980s – vacant
For the 1990s – Paolo Baroni
Representatives for the Abbey Girls Choir
Helen was a chorister, and subsequently head chorister of the Abbey Girls Choir, under Simon Johnson. She has been one of the very few girl choristers to have been invited to sing alongside the gentleman lay clerks. She studied music at Trinity College, Cambridge where she held a choral scholarship for three years.
Now in demand as a soloist, Helen appears regularly with orchestras and choirs worldwide. Most recently she has appeared as the alto soloist in Handel Messiah with orchestras in Perth, Adelaide and Seattle, and made her debut at Cadogan Hall singing Schoenberg Lied der Waldtaube with the Facade Ensemble.
Helen is also an experienced consort singer, appearing with many of the UK’s finest vocal ensembles including the Tall
is Scholars, Alamire, the Gabrieli Consort, and her own Amici Voices, which she founded in 2012.
Born and educated in St. Albans, Laura Hicks was a chorister at St. Alban’s Abbey from 1996 until 2003, as well as attending Junior Guildhall as a singer and flautist.
Whilst studying Physics and Chemistry at Durham University she sang with many of the chapel choirs and also the University Chamber Choir, Durham Cathedral Consort and the Rodolfus Choir. Having graduated with a first class degree she is now teaching science, alongside maintaining her love of music by singing with many church choirs in London, and has appeared with chamber choirs including Philharmonia Voices, Surrey Voices and Mosaic at venues around the South-East including the Festival Hall, St Albans Cathedral and many others.