Chris was a member of the West Midlands Barbershop Harmony Club between 1993 and 2006 having joined following his attendance at a show held in Sutton Coldfield Town Hall, where his daughter was singing in a children’s choir on the same bill as Anvil Chorus.
Quite apart from singing in the Chorus Chris took an active interest in the management of the Club and eventually became Chairman between 2002 and 2003. 2003 was memorable as it was the year we decided to take the Chorus abroad, to Ireland, for IABS Convention for just the second time, having sung in the Dutch Convention back in 1990. The Chorus sang really well and came away with the Silver Medal falling just three points short of the All-Ireland Ladies Chorus. There were two major achievements on that trip – winning the Silver medal but then managing to get home at all, as our return ferry was cancelled, which meant that everyone arrived home well into the Monday morning instead of Sunday evening.
Chris was a lead singer and a regular attender at our events wherever they took place and sang with us in the various Conventions we attended around the country at the major Conference Centres. I mention this because as Chris’s medical conditions became more severe the taking part in Conventions which usually entails being on the feet for a couple of hours, became more difficult to handle but Chris saw them through.
In 2001 Chris was awarded Anvil’s Sides Family Trophy [Barbershopper of the Year] which is given by an annual vote amongst the full chorus membership to recognise exceptional service to the Club.
A few weeks after Chris’s terminal prognosis was given in the autumn of 2015, he asked if the quartet in which I sing, Classmates, might go over to his home and sing a few songs for him which we gladly did in the early part of 2016. Another member of the Chorus with whom Chris had struck up a close friendship, Mike Hendrickson also came along with us for what we all agreed was a memorable afternoon. It was clear that although he could no longer be active in our hobby, he retained an enthusiasm for our style of music and was still familiar with some of our repertoire, as well as well-known choruses and quartets around the country and beyond.
Chris gave sterling service to his hobby and the Club and we pay tribute to that commitment and that of his wife Pam who actively supported both Chris and the Chorus so well.
Chris himself designed the Thanksgiving Service which several members of the Chorus attended, and true to his sense of humour, although the service began by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Vocal Majority singing ‘How Great Thou Art ‘ it concluded like no other service with ‘The Laughing Policeman’!
Chris leaves Pam and his two daughters Belinda and Fiona.