Two long-standing choir officials have stood down from their posts after more than a decade of unstinting service. Dick Diplock has retired as stage manager after fourteen years and Dave Bannister steps down after twelve years as concert secretary.  They are succeeded in both roles by Stewart Robinson  - like both Dick and Dave, a member of the baritone section.

Dick, who directed the choir to its places at more than 200 concerts, including five mass-choir events at Fairfield Halls, said it was "time for someone else to have this wonderful opportunity of interacting with so many buddies - so I won't be selfish and stand in anyone's way."

Diplock: renowned for his irony

Dick was renowned for his stern sergeant-major approach to recalcitrant choir members but performed his duties with a keen sense of irony that endeared him to all. "I wish to record my thanks to everyone for getting things right and tidy on most occasions," Dick says. He correctly notes that audiences often praised the choir's professional appearance and confident stage presence.  He was the star of the choir's DVD depicting the 2012 Fairfield Hall concert, doing his patient utmost to corral 400 singers into their allotted places.

Choir chair Kimball Ormond has thanked Dick for his "unstinting, conscientious dedication to telling us what to do. To get some sixty blokes to listen, with bated breath and eager anticipation, to his commands is a remarkble gift.  His fierce  adherence to formality and a rigid line-up is a lesson to us all.  His gentle humour, perspicacity and careful cajoling left even the most sensitive soul with a warmn glow, basking in the knowledge that Dick just loved him."

Bannister: legendary knowledge of Croydon churches

As Concert Secretary, Dave was tireless in his pursuit of venues that could accommodate our ever-growing choir, always inspecting them and being ready to reject them if he deemed them below his exacting standards. His knowledge of churches, whether large or small, to be found in and around Croydon is now legendary. He steered us to such memorable locations as the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, where for several years the choir took part in Remembrance Day commemorations. 

Dave also acted as stand-by stage manager, stepping in for Dick when necessary. Banners retains a place on the choir committee, where he is now the choir members' representative;

Kim also paid tribute to Dave. “In his twelve years as Concert Secretary Banners has carefully and considerately led us astray. He has sorted out and inspected venue far and wide – some huge and some tiny, always cajoling venues to sell tickets and tune their pianos – not always successfully! Often accompanied by Dick, they also took on the onerous task of finding a local hostelry to accommodate the après – well, someone had to do it.”

Robinson: hard acts to follow

Stewart is already planning for his work ahead as concert secretary, and will be looking to add to the concerts currently on the choir schedule.  Stewart says:  "I am not sure I have the presence of Banners or the non-PC humour of Dick but I will do my best."

Stewart feels that his experience as an active rugby referee will serve him in good stead - though admitting that while players call him 'Sir' to his face, he does not know what they call him behind his back.  He adds that Dick has recommended the choir carries out homework on how to tell left from right.

Kim has extended a warm welcome to Stewart as he steps into his demanding dual role. “These are hard acts to follow but I’m sure you are up to it.”

The double switch follows a previous significant change, with patrons' secretary Bernard Maguire stepping down last year after a lengthy and productive stint, to be replaced by bass member Tim Ramskill.

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