Obituary: Kelvin Thomas

A MUSCIAL legend who lead the Bradford on Avon Choral Society to success has died aged 99.

Kelvin Thomas MBE who lived in Bathampton died in his sleep at Bath RUH on June 14.

His good friends and colleagues at the choral society have now paid tribute to the man who developed a love of singing at a very young and grew a group of fellow enthusiasts into a confident choir.

In 1942, Mr Thomas married his wife Megan Jones at Walcot Chapel in Bath, and they went on to have children Glyn, Bronwen, Rowena, Arfon and Rhiannon.

It was in 1986 that the founder of the Bradford on Avon Choral Society, Gaynor Biscoe, a piano teacher in Bradford on Avon at the time, contacted Mr Thomas and asked him if he would be interested in forming a choir, representative of the local community in the town.

After the meeting, Kelvin agreed to be the first musical director.

In his own words: “To be present at the birth of a society is a privilege, but so to have the opportunity of forming such a body is the prerogative of a few.”

The first concert was held in April 1987. Initially the choir, which does not hold auditions for membership, performed part songs, madrigals, spirituals and anthems but as their confidence grew under Mr Thomas’ musical direction, it became a confident ensemble and began performing major works such as Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Brahm’s Requiem.

Mr Thomas was a proud Welshman with experience of eisteddfods and therefore he encouraged the Bradford on Avon Choral Society to take part in the annual local Trowbridge and West Wiltshire Music Festivals where they would perform two test pieces and always get marks at merit or distinction standard.

He resigned as musical director in 1994 but left behind a choir which had developed in musical ability and enjoyment.

He kept in touch with the choir over the years and came to the 25th anniversary dinner in 2012.

Many of the original members of the choir have fond memories of Mr Thomas and his enthusiasm for singing.

On Saturday June 22 the choir held a lunchtime concert in Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon, and dedicated it to his memory.

This is Wiltshire

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