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Hazel Photo

Hazel Wickham (1st June 1935 – 11th March 2019)

 

Hazel Wickham was at the age of 16 accompanist for the North Devon Choral Society.   She graduated in music and Classics at Bristol University where she performed as soloist in many concerts.  It was at university she met her husband Geoff Wickham.   Then followed a long career as a pianist and teacher.

She was accompanist for the BBC West of England Singers notably in Bristol Prom performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Haydn’s Creation and has worked with conductors such as Meredith Davies; George Hurst; Bernard Keefe and Stanley Black. 

She was Conductor of the Bristol Ladies Choir for twenty-nine  years and had conducted them many times in the Colston Hall and also in Bristol Cathedral, St. David’s Hall, Cardiff and taken them on tour to Norway.   The choir raised several thousands of pounds over the years in their charity concerts.     For three years she was conductor for the Laetare Singers- a small mixed choir – in their annual concert at Corston with Leslie Crowther and his wife taking part.

She was the accompanist for the Yate Choral Society for over forty-seven  years until her death in March 2019 and enjoyed the friendship; varied musical life; the trips to France and the social activities. For forty-seven years she was also the accompanist and répétiteur for the Bristol Opera Company working on operas such as Carmen; The Marriage of Figaro and the Flying Dutchman plus several less familiar ones  such as Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes and Menotti’s The Saint of Bleeker Street – including playing it for the composer.     Her favourites were the many Verdi operas including Aida which the company took to Valetta in Malta.   In addition she was accompanist for the Bristol Cathedral School Choral Society and had played the organ in Colston Hall and many of the churches in the Bristol area including the Victoria Methodist Church Clifton where she was resident organist.

She taught Music and Classics to A level for many years latterly at Clifton High and Cotham Grammar Schools.      In 2002 she was awarded the Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Medal for her contribution to the Musical Life of the city – one of only two musicians to receive this award.

However what gave her most pleasure was her family: her two daughters and five grandchildren whose progress she watched with great pride.

Her friendship, personality and above all musical skill was invaluable to the members of the choir and it is with sadness that we record her passing in early 2019.