What people say
What People Say
From our audiences
These are some of the things that our audiences have said about BJC and BYV.
Cliff Watkins - Historian and Local co-organiser of the Clock House Festival 2016 - after the concert to celebrate the history of Clock House on May 7th, 2016
“What was remarkable to me was the way the choirs tackled the range of songs. To listen to music by Novello, Warlock, Bowie, sung with great enthusiasm by all ages was wonderful. And the Youth Voices were quite magical in their interpretation of 'My Heart will go on' made famous by Celine Dion. I was so fascinated by the full company's performance of Judith Watson's 'A la cart' that I have looked it up on the web.”
From Katrina and Richard Burnett, Finchcocks museum of music - after the concert at the Open Day, 27 August 2016
“That was really super- what a lovely bunch of musicians you brought to Finchcocks, - everyone thoroughly enjoyed the performances. Beautifully selected with lots of variety. Please thank everyone concerned.” - Katrina and Richard Burnett"
From Mary Blyton - married to Carey Blyton, Enid's nephew - friend of the choir
“I never fail to marvel how you manage to get so many children together to sing - no glum faces, apparently no notice of the wind and summer (?) temperature.... and they all seemed to home in to the bandstand when it was their "turn". A clever strategy to get the choirs singing alternately!”
“I'm so pleased that I made it from SE Sussex, and not getting lost on the way was a great boost to my navigational skills. I did enjoy being there and thank you for making me feel so welcome. Thank you also Maggie, for the "Recreation Ground Coffee" - not so much nectar to my lips as warmth to the rest of me!”
“I take my hat off to all those grandparents bravely exchanging the June sunshine for thick wooly rugs!...”
- Mary Blyton, after the summer concert, Sunday 9th June 2013 at The Croydon Rec Bandstand
From Barbara and Michael - friends of the choirs - after the Olympic torch relay singing 23rd July 2012
“Michael and I were part of the wonderful crowd at the roundabout this morning. I just wanted to let you know how good I thought the choir sounded. We were standing by the crossing near the dry-cleaners and they came across very strongly as did your introductions. They were very tuneful and you chose a lovely and appropriate selection of songs. We loved it when the huge vehicle carrying Fairtrade bananas coincided with Bananas in Pyjamas! Well done to you all.”
- Barbara and Michael
From Cliff Watkins - long time choir supporter and enthusiast for all things Beckenham
“I have been attending John's concerts for eleven years and the one on Saturday 26th November was one of the finest evenings.
The great joy has always been to witness how the youngest and newest members of the choir develop their singing and their confidence and examples of this were manifest in Emmanuel Church. So during the evening we enjoyed John's latest recruits to the Junior Choir and Camille Rose (solo Soprano) who had joined in 2004).
The Junior Choir was in great form and the soloists showed a maturity and individuality of tone far greater than I have heard before. It was great to see how they are encouraged by John's senior pupils from the Youth Voices. This was manifest the finale Cherry pink and apple blossom white in which Bonnie (trumpet) on trumpet and Sophie (piano) harmonised so well both with each other and the younger children. What a confident decision to conclude the evening with three pieces from the Junior Choir.
The youngsters from Oak Lodge Primary School contributed enormously to the evening performing seamlessly in the opening number, The Wizard and bringing the house down with the Court of Caractacus - a very long, complex piece for young children to perform and co-ordinate the animations of the the cardboard characters waved at precisely the right time by the back row. Helen Griffiths (who accompanied them) is to be congratulated.
This wonderful entertainment was rewarded for a very large and appreciative audience.”
- Cliff Watkins
From our members
“Thank you so much for the time and effort that you have put into my choir lifetime, supporting me and giving me solos since I was 5. This is invaluable to me, as was your decision to round up and organise the 'Singing in the Rain' music that I requested!” - Emma Tolmie
“I am writing to thank you about the wonderful time I have had during the past few years that I have been a BJC member. I have gained even more confidence and have enjoyed myself thoroughly.” - Hannah Knowles
“Thank you so much for all the brilliant years in Beckenham Junior Choir. I have really enjoyed all the rehearsals and especially the concerts!” - Luka Shaxson
“John is very good at giving opportunities. He’s amazing at building children’s confidence to perform in a friendly environment that they never thought was possible. John’s ability to organise has given children the chance to play and make music with other children of similar ages from many different schools.” - Tom Chapman, Pianist
“Playing with the choirs improves your ability to play as a group in a supporting environment” - Emily Chapman, Oboist
“John is just the greatest enthusiast, he's a teacher down to his boots” - Chris Buckley, Guitarist
“My main memories of the choir are how enthusiastic the children were, and how the main aim was that they would have fun through their music. I think the children in particular liked us allowing so many of them to do little solos, even the younger ones and the slightly less confident singers.” - Michael Segal, Pianist
“It was a great experience to combine my love of music with working with the children. John offers such brilliant opportunities and its such good fun with a great mix of different types of music.” - Becky Segal, Pianist
“We are really going to miss Beckenham Junior Choir so much and are looking to join something in Tonbridge (although we realise what you offer is unique). Thank you so much for all your kindness and hard work and for believing in Bonnie.” - Mother of Bonnie
“I greatly enjoyed my time with Beckenham Junior Choir and am pleased to see that they have gone from strength to strength since I left them 7 years ago.&rdguo; - Louisa Abraham, Pianist
“I truly believe that the great fun I had as a young chorister helped to foster my life-long love of music, and for that reason I will always have fond memories of my time with Beckenham Junior Choir.” - Serena Aylward, Pianist
“Its been fantastic to see young children join, very meek and nervous, and then be able to stand up in front of a large audience and sing with the choir. Within a short time they even have the confidence to sing solos. The choir really helps their characters develop.” - Chris Edwards, Mother of Zosia
“We thoroughly enjoyed the concert. The programme was so varied, and we were constantly surprised by the high standard of the solos and then by the power of the whole choir. We particularly enjoyed the Jonah Jazz, as we both remembered singing it ourselves in our childhoods!” - Alison Spicer and Christopher Hinze
A recent review from the magazine of St Swithun's Church, Hither Green:
“BECKENHAM JUNIOR CHOIR AND BECKENHAM YOUTH VOICES CONCERT
George Bernard Shaw said in the late 1920s that "Elgar is carrying on Beethoven's business". Likewise, if we could transport John Webber via the Tardis to the mid 18th century we could say "He is carrying on Bach's business". Organist, choirmaster, teacher, recital soloist and composer: what else is there for him to do,musically?
We at St. Swithun's are fortunate that John, for so many years our organist and choirmaster, retains a great affection for our church and congregation; duly encouraged, he came with numerous forces to present a very varied concert of young talent and enthusiasm.
I had jokingly said that we must leave early to ensure finding a good seat, but since the traffic was so heavy in Verdant Lane, and parking nigh impossible near the church, we arrived a little late and found the church packed .
John has great relationship with young people and can obviously enthuse them and draw out their best. To see small children sing intricate part songs and jazzy syncopated play songs all from memory, was a marvel and a tribute to John's hard work. (And the children's - Ed)
Most of the accompaniment was by amplified keyboard, but a small orchestra did accompany some numbers most proficiently (No scratchy strings here!) More senior members of the Youth Voices sang solos - especially memorable was Simon Kale singing "Maria" from West Side Story, which took me back to seeing the film at a Thursday matinee in 1963.
The Junior Choir and Orchestra rounded off the evening, finishing with "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles", complete with gushing bubble machine.
A full house greatly appreciated the musical fare on offer, and the young choristers enjoyed showing off their talents and hard work.”
- Martin Passande