It is with great sadness that Hadley Orpheus choristers mark the passing of our Assistant Musical Director Howard Renwick on 22nd June 2018
Howard was born into a Salvation Army family in September 1936 and remained a staunch Salvationist throughout his life. His musical career started early and over the years encompassed playing and rising to bandleader of the Oakengates Salvation Army Band, Musical Director of the RAF Cosford Choral society and was involved in many other musical productions all of which demonstrated his excellent musicianship.
Howard answered the call from Hadley Orpheus for a new Musical Director following the late Bill Holyhead’s decision to step down some 20 years ago and brought his own unique outlook to the choir, introducing more modern music to complement the traditional pieces already in our repertoire. (He always had a soft spot for the piece Nirvana!!)
In the the 10 years or so under his Directorship, we had several weekend trips away, notably Eastbourne in 2000, Sandown in 2002 and Weymouth in 2005, and it was through Howard that we began our association, with the Oakengates Salvation Army band, an association which remains in place today
When Howard decided to ‘put down the baton’ at the Orpheus, it was again through his connections with the Salvation Army that he introduced Robyn Davies to the choir, once again demonstrating his excellent musical judgement
After a few months rest from the Orpheus, Howard returned to us, as Assistant Musical Director working closely with Robyn and also singing in the Baritone line.
During split rehearsals Robyn would take the Tenor group while Howard and Nykko would take the Basses. This gave Howard the opportunity to tell some of his “Groan” jokes , and there was always much laughter alongside the learning, but Howards commitment to thoroughly learning the music was never far away, he wanted the music to be sung with discipline and feeling and worked both himself and the choristers hard to successfully achieve this result.
Howard will be greatly missed by everyone at the Hadley Orpheus, the Orpheus committee, Robyn and Nykko, his fellow choristers, the ladies committee and everyone who has supported and sung with the Choir over the last twenty years.
We can only say thank you and goodbye to a great musician and gentle man