BLC is well known for its entertaining performance and its imaginative presentation. We are a 55-strong choir who sing all styles of music from secular, folk, show-stoppers to the latest chart-busters. In concert songs are sung from memory. The choir has made broadcasts on television and recordings and has performed with many UK and international choirs both at home and overseas, travelling to Canada, France, Germany and Malta. In 2015 the choir enjoyed a 3 night cruise to Guernsey performing a mini-concert – all unaccompanied- in the atrium of the ship. In May 2016 the choir is travelling to Spain to perform with the Costa Blanca Male Voice Choir.
We meet on Monday nights at 7.30pm and during rehearsals new songs are learnt, known repertoire revised and vocal technique and vocal health instruction is given as we work hard to aim for high standards of performance. Pieces are choreographed and costumes are decided. Concert plans and general management are organised by the committee. BLC raise funds in concerts for many charities and are proud to represent Basingstoke and the County of Hampshire.
History of the Basingstoke Ladies Choir
Taken from "Hampshire, the County Magazine", 1997.
The Basingstoke Ladies Choir started in 1964, a General Election year. The new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, promised a white-hot revolution in technology. It was the era of the Beatles, the axing of the railways by Beeching, and for Basingstoke a continued upheaval brought about by some of London's overspill population arriving in our small market country town.
County and town councils, the workers' educational association and other groups produced reports on integration of "the strangers". Those reports resulted in clubs and societies covering sports, photography, theatre, adult learning, archaeology and music.
One of these was a Young Wives' Club, on the Oakridge housing estate built to accommodate workers at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston. 18 young wives, encouraged by an amateur musician, Cornishman Ken Williams, founded the Oakridge Singers and met in a prefabricated hut used by building contractors. They were often working wives: secretaries, nurses, and teachers. In time, they moved from the prefabricated hut to St Thomas' School for the Deaf, not because of any musical inadequacy but because of the school's proximity to Oakridge!
The young wives' initial aim to relax and enjoy comradeship while improving their singing turned into a wish to raise money for charities by entertaining the public. They were soon entering festival competitions and their popularity, like that of the Beatles, increased but, unlike the Beatles, they never disbanded. Other singing groups from firms in the town, notably Lansing Bagnall, joined them, so a new name was adopted; The Basingstoke Ladies Choir. It grew rapidly, and today with some fifty members the aims still prevail.
Margaret Brackenborough first joined Basingstoke Ladies Choir as a 1st Alto in 1986 after moving into the area. She trained as a music teacher specialising in singing at St Mary's College, Cheltenham and taught in primary schools in Reading before moving to Basingstoke. During this time she continued to develop her musical repertoire singing everything from choral, operatic and secular to religious music. At the same time she took part in theatrical activities, developing her love of musical theatre.
Margaret took over as Choral Director in 2001 and since then the choir has gone on from strength to strength. Successful tours abroad and a reputation for entertaining audiences with fine singing from a range of musical styles continue to enhance the choir’s reputation. Margaret is a member of the Association of British Choral Directors.
Jonathan is invaluable to the Ladies Choir as a talented music arranger and accompanist. He joined the Choir in December 1982 and over the years has arranged a number of popular pieces. He was born and brought up in Basingstoke and started piano lessons at the age of six, continuing for twelve further years. Jonathan works in the paper making industry and likes to spend as much of his time as possible with his wife and young son.
Chairman - Alwyn Brenchley
Vice Chairman - Jackie Schuster
Secretary - Sam Reynolds
Treasurer - Vivienne Shiels
Assistant Treasurer - Barbara Gough
Concert Secretary - Viv Ballson
Publicity Officer - Margaret Allen
Public Relations Officer - Annie Eagle
Stage Manager - Kate Webb
Wardrobe - Agnes Penrice
Assistant Treasurer - Barbara Gough
Librarian - Hazel Green
Membership Secretary - Pam Verdon
Non Executive Posts
Assistant Stage Manager - Jackie Schuster
Assistant Choral Director - Kate Webb
Hospitality - Maria Chung
Magazine Editor - Christine Savage
Fundraising & Merchandise - Liz Boddy
David (Dai) Ogborn
Born in Swansea, a Welshman through and through, David, (affectionately known as Dai) qualified as a teacher at the University of Wales and spent many years teaching in Hampshire. He joined Basingstoke Male voice Choir in 1981 and was their longest serving musical director. He has gone on to lead North Hampshire Hospital male Voice choir and is also involved with the Tadley Singers and Hart Male Voice Choir.
He is currently the President of the Basingstoke Ladies Choir and we are very proud to have him as such.
Thank you for inviting us to attend the BLC Annual Concert. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the two choirs, the contrasting voices and choice of music added a wonderful dimension to the evening.
Cllr Anne Court, Mayor
The Costa Blanca Male Voice choir were joined by guests The Basingstoke Ladies Choir to enthrall a capacity crowd in a choral feast at the salon de Actos Teulada.
Our kind supporters
Basingstoke Ladies Choir Registered Charity Number 1058910 | Website designed by HCT Creative