Back where he belongs - Simon Wookey brings his choir to Bexhill

Simon Wookey with the South Oxhey choir 6_qrmWhwFnmnQnAy1Pqv
Simon Wookey with the South Oxhey choir 6_qrmWhwFnmnQnAy1Pqv

South Oxhey Community Choir makes a return trip to Bexhill having performed successfully here last October.

The choir, originally formed by Gareth Malone for his BBV |TV series, is conducted by Simon Wookey who is himself “a Bexhill boy.”

The group will be performing at St Augustine’s Church, in Cooden Drive, on Saturday October 15 at 6pm.

Rother Community Choir will also be joining the South Oxhey gang in performing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, as featured in the 2009 programme The Choir, and will sing a selection from their own repertoire.

Simon, a dedicated Keane fan, has called the visit The Sovereign Tour and will conduct the Battle group’s songs The Starting Line and Somewhere Only We Know.

Simon said: “I grew up in Bexhill, attending St Peter and St Paul primary school, and Bexhill High School.

During that time I studied violin with East Sussex County Music Service, including being the leader of Hastings Youth Orchestra.

My mother, Gill Wookey, taught for 20 years at King Offa Primary school, and ran the music there, once directing a group of pupils on the beach for a broadcast of Songs of Praise. Shopping in Sainsbury’s takes an eternity, due to all her past pupils who stop for a chat.

My father, David Wookey, was Head of Music at Helenswood High School for girls in Hastings, and also conducted the Hastings Youth Choir, and later the Hastings Chamber Choir.

He was organist at St Augustine’s Church where we will perform on October 15. He died on 1999, and the concert in his memory, which I conducted, attracted an audience of over 500.

I studied at the East Sussex Preparatory Course in Music, in Lewes, and then at Kingston University. During my working life I have taught violin and singing for Harrow Music service, and conducted choirs and orchestra of all ages. I made my broadcast debut conducting at the BBC Proms, listened to by 3 million people. I have taken choirs to all parts of the world, including Venice and Santiago di Campostella. My TV Debut was in 2009 on the BBC show The Choir where I was featured working with Gareth Malone with the South Oxhey Community Choir, whom I now direct.

The choir Has a membership of over 100, representing all ages and social groups of South Oxhey and its surrounding areas. It performs two main concerts every year, and performs to the local community frequently. This year the choir will be making two tours, firstly to Bexhill-on-Sea, and next Easter to Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon, where the choir will meet a community choir from Birmingham, and entertain families at the end of the 10k run.

“I’m hugely excited to be bringing my South Oxhey Community Choir for another visit to Bexhill, my home town. We’re looking forward to meeting and working with Rother Community Choir, singing in the fabulous setting of St Augustine’s church, and enjoying fish ‘n’ chips and some sea air.”