Musical Director: Margaret Duckworth
The choir originated as a group of singers, called the “Rockingham Singers”, who arranged concerts to raise money for charity. Over the next few years the group developed into a ladies’ choir who became known in 1979 as the “Govannon Singers”. They won several prizes and competitions over the years but at the beginning of the 1990s became a mixed choir who are now known as the “Margaret Duckworth Singers”, taking their name from our founder and Musical Director, Margaret Duckworth.
Most of our members come from the Dearne Valley but we also have members who are past and present students of Miss Duckworth from the wider Yorkshire area. We are always happy to welcome new members into the choir, which now totals 40, and rehearse in St. John’s Methodist Church, Swinton.
A few years ago the choir were invited by Yorkshire Television (YTV) to appear in their festive music programme, ¨A Yorkshire Christmas¨ which was shown on the Sunday before Christmas Day.
They made a recording in the chapel at Hazlewood Castle of Christmas music and carols, both old and new. “Joy to the World” (see Our Music for more details) became a compilation of these Christmas carols interspersed with readings by Geoff Druett and is now on sale.
In 2003 some tracks of the CD were used as a backing for a video of the famous Lincoln Market where the choir performed in the Castle grounds on the Saturday of the Market weekend.
The initial aim of the choir, through all its changes, was to make music together and from this, raise money for local groups and organisations. These aims have been maintained through the years up to the present day and have helped us to raise thousands of pounds for many local Charities, Hospices, Hospitals and Churches.
The highlight of the year is still the annual Christmas concert to raise money for the Hospice movement. For many years the concerts raised funds for St. Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield, which at the time was the only Hospice in the area. Ten years ago the Rotherham Hospice opened its doors to serve our local community and since then, all funds raised at our annual concerts have gone to to support the Rotherham Hospice (see the section entitled Charity Work for more information).
To date we have raised almost £40,000 from these events, which have become a key date in the calendar of the local community.