To say that we are passionate about what we do is an understatement, however, sometimes we take our members for granted and don't always appreciate the skills, knowledge and experience that is on offer from our tutors, accompanyists and helpers. Check out some of the biog's below to get to know our team
Mr David Wilkinson
Where to start; I guess from the beginning....
David Wilkinson's childhood was in Oswaldtwistle. As an eight year old he stood up and sang in a speech day in King George's Hall, Blackburn and the bug bit him.
At sixteen, he was invited to join Accrington Male Voice Choir alongside his teenage Bass singing friend, John Tomlinson (now Sir John for his services to singing). They both had singing lessons with John's Aunty Ivy and sang a few duets together. They have been friends "in singing" for more than fifty years, meeting occasionally as their paths cross in opera houses, occasional concerts and other "northern" gatherings such as KVU Singers and others.
David went into teaching, but his mind was always on singing and he decided to teach in London to try and get some better lessons. A Heilbut scholarship, and a sympathetic wife to keep him enabled him to study for an AGSM at Guildhall. David was encouraged by the Italian teacher / mezzo Laura Sarti to go and study with Pavarotti's teacher, Ettore Campogalliani. For six months in 1975, he did, receiving two sessions a day at his studio in Mantova. Mrs Campogalliani requested English lessons from David and his wife Cherry and Campogalliani accepted no payment for his singing lessons!
Returning to England, David sang chorus, understudies and parts at Glyndebourne for five years. He did a similar stint with Kent Opera whilst also singing extra chorus in Aida, Gotterdammerung, Dutchman and Fidelio in five famous productions in addition to Mastersinger at ENO and also on recordings. All this whilst working under many great conductors such as Haitink, Goodall, Giulini, Rattle, Klemperer, all of which are engrained in David's head, but more so than Mr Frank Smith.
During this time, David sang small parts with large companies and large parts in smaller touring groups such as Rodolfo, Ramiro, Don Jose, Alfredo just to name a few!
By this time, David had four children and sang in London restaurants, worked in television and whatever else came along at the time.....a jobbing singer....for money!
For twenty years, David centred his career from London. Using his motorbike to squeeze it all in, he sang in most of the main churches and halls and often deputised on Friday nights at the West London Synagogue for a Welsh tenor friend. He also met the Queen Mother and politicians after singing at a funeral.
In the late 1980's, David, Cherry and children decided to leave London, their hens and allotment behind in exchange for a small holding in Colne (which was almost Wales or Cornwall!)
Now in Colne, David was approached by Frank Royle of Trawden High School to work with Ted Parr to teach and encourage children to sing. Now as a descendant of Nelson Municipal Children's Choir, David runs the PYCC along with other volunteers to continue his passion for music, singing and sharing his talent with others.
David is also currently the President of KVU Singers.
David remains immensely grateful to so many people that he has the privilege to work with and so many others, but none more so than his late wife Cherry.