About Us

Meet the team behind the Mid Wessex Singers

Alice Dicker

Musical Director

Alice grew up in Somerton, and started learning the clarinet age 10. She was one of the earliest members of the Somerton Festival Band, and won the Somerton Arts Festival ‘Young Musician of the Year’ on several occasions. At 13 she passed her grade 8 and subsequently earned a music scholarship to Queens College in Taunton. At 17, while studying for her AS Levels, Alice was awarded the Diploma of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, for performance.

After finishing her sixth form studies, Alice was one of 8 clarinettists accepted to the Royal Welsh College of Music that year. During her time there, she took the opportunity to study many facets of music – from conducting and performance coaching, through to Alexander Technique, and Music Therapy.

After re-locating back to Somerset, Alice played in local bands and orchestras, as well as performing solo concerts including the Somerton Arts Festival, and Music by the Lakes in Thorney. Alice also became the Musical Director for a local concert band, only leaving when she had her youngest daughter.

After a car accident interrupted her instrumental career in 2017, Alice has refocused on the voice. Her students range from beginners to diploma level, currently aged 15 to 76, and she is also the Musical Director for the South Petherton Combined Arts Society Choir.

Alice is delighted to have been appointed as Musical Director for the Mid-Wessex Singers for their 2021/22 singing season, and looks forward to being involved in the Somerton community once again.

Sheena Smith

Accompanist, Committee Member

Sheena graduated with a B. Mus. from Edinburgh University, then P.G.C.E. from Homerton College, Cambridge.  She began her teaching career in Cambridge at the two Sixth Form Colleges, then moved to Somerset, mostly in Secondary music teaching.  Highlights of those years included being Musical Director of very successful school productions, with some challenging musicals such as Blood Brothers and Sweeney Todd.

Later, with the Somerset Music Service, she taught mostly woodwind, but included some class teaching, ages 7 to 17.  Sheena spent many years enjoying being in charge of the musical fun and games for the local Long Sutton Pantomime Society before joining Mid Wessex singers as accompanist.

Pauline Stephens

Chair

I just love to sing, I first sang at my school St Monica’s at Warminster.

I have been farming all my life, My husband and I moved to Somerton in 1995 where we still farm along side other business enterprises with our son Cameron. I joined MWS in 2017 and invited to join the committee in 2019. We are a really friendly choir, so pleased I am a member for the social aspect as well as the singing.

Rowena Wallace

Secretary

From singing in the school choir, and years later overcoming my then toddler’s protestations when I used to sing, I’ve taken part in various Somerton pantomimes and Christian musicals. I was a member of St. Michael’s church choir, becoming a lonely alto when no-one else would sing the part. I was a member of the original Wessex Singers, but left when the singing got too difficult! I eventually joined the renamed Mid Wessex Singers and now enjoy trying to rise to the challenges our Conductor gives us.

David Backhouse

Treasurer

I joined the church choir at St Judes in Halifax as a boy which is where I learned to love music. I was subsequently ejected from the church and school choirs when my voice broke at age 12 and my singing days came to a halt as a youth as my time was devoted to sports. I subsequently joined the RAF in which I happily served as an engineering officer for 30 years. It was during a tour in Germany that I joined a choir to sing some choral concerts which I thoroughly enjoyed. 30 years later I became friendly with a choir member who encouraged me to join the MWS in 2014. My lack of an ability to read music well has not discouraged me and I have thoroughly enjoyed the choir.

Sherrie-jane Jackson

Committee Member, Marketing

I was an original member of the choir in 1999 for about four years and left for personal reasons. I have now re-joined and am very much enjoying my time there. I was in the Luton Girls’ Choir many years ago and over the years have been in various amateur productions of musicals.

I have been a member of the Rotary Club for about 17 years. This allows me to help with various community events, particularly the Forget Me Not Café. It is a memory café in Langport, run by the Rotary Club, but started by me because of my own personal experience of dealing with dementia. I have been in business for many years, and continue to run my own Lingerie and Bra Fitting Service.

Reg Athill

Committee Member

I began singing at school when the music mistress said ‘you will join the choir’! That was many years ago when, against my better judgement, I enjoyed it and have been singing, on and off, ever since. As a teenager I joined the local Church choir and the also the local Choral Society.

In my twenties I married and moved from Berkshire to Dorset where, for some years, I sang tenor in the Wimborne Minster Choir. I eventually had to give that up because of time constraints as I started my own business. During the early days there wasn’t time for singing, when building the business and having a growing family so something had to give. I was subsequently the organist and choirmaster at a number of small churches in the Wimborne area but, again, pressures of work forced me to give it up.

My company is still going, providing specialist telephone equipment for people like Network Rail and Transport for London. Its only since I’ve semi retired to Somerset that there has been time to take up singing, piano and guitar again – all needing a lot of practice and the hopeful recovery of old skills.

When I realised what I had been missing for so many years I joined the Mid Wessex Singers and I found them to be most friendly and sociable group, led by their talented and enthusiastic conductor. I was then asked to join the committee which I did at the 2018 AGM.

Rose Burt

Committee Member, Librarian

I have always loved singing and as a child sang at home and in the school choir.  As an adult I sang in the choir at St Michael’s Church, Somerton and for 26 years taught pre-school children to sing nursery rhymes.  I have been a member of Mid Wessex Singers since 2007 and joined the committee in 2019.

Latest News

Mid Wessex Singers Spring Social

    After our successful and enjoyable Grand Viennese Soiree, we had the opportunity to relax with friends and family at our Spring Social on Tuesday 9 April.  After a delicious buffet meal it was time to sit back and admire some of the hidden skills and talents...

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A Grand Viennese Soiree

A wonderful evening on Saturday 6 April, re-creating the atmosphere of a Grand Viennese Soiree in St Michael's Church in Somerton.  We offered to our full audience a real feast of Viennese music: a taster of Schubert songs, accompanied by Robert Langston on piano, and...

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Summer Singing

Keen singers, you are invited by the Mid Wessex Singers, to experience the motivational guidance of our Musical Director, Graham Coatman, in a summer season of light music. Following our performances of varied and enjoyable music at our Autumn, Christmas and Spring...

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Vienna comes to Somerton

Enjoy an evening of romantic Viennese music in Somerton on Saturday 6 April. The Mid Wessex Singers are re-creating the spirit and splendour of a grand Viennese Soirée at St Michael's Church starting at 7.30 pm. Conducted by Musical Director, Graham Coatman, the...

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A Great and Mighty Wonder

A very enjoyable time was had by choir and audience alike at our Christmas concert on Saturday 15 December 2018.  With a mixture of Christmas music by the choir and with audience participation and readings, some of a more light-hearted nature, we were well into the...

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Singing carols at Heaven’s Gate

Mid Wessex Singers were invited to lead the carol singing at the Animal Blessings at the National Animal Welfare Trust, Heaven's Gate Farm on Sunday 2 December. Here are a few of our angelic sopranos and altos, plus Mr...

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Freedom – we died for you

The Mid Wessex Singers' Armistice Concert on Saturday 10 November 2018 was a moving experience for all involved. We were made welcome by the vicar and PCC at St Andrew's Church in Curry Rivel and attracted a large audience including members of local branches of the...

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Charity sing at St. Cleers Lunch Club

We were pleased to be asked to come along and perform at a Charity sing at St. Cleers Lunch Club in Somerton on Wednesday 26th September. The event went really well and was enjoyed by all. The photo above shows Jane Rose, our chairman trying to get everyone organised!...

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Come & Sing!

  Our 'Come and Sing' day on the 29th September was a wonderful success. We had lots of attendees who all enjoyed taking part in the Workshop Day. Many thanks to Graham Coatman for leading the event and also thanks to all our volunteers who made the day run so...

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