The Sandal Singers are a friendly community choir of mixed voices, meeting Monday evenings at 7pm at Sandal Methodist Church.
Edward Whelan became the musical director of the Sandal Singers in February 2017, starting the choir from scratch. Hedeveloped his conducting skills with Leeds Male Voice Choir, under the tutelage of Tim Knight.
Edward holds a Bachelors degree in music and a postgraduate degree in musical composition from the University of Huddersfield. He is qualified to Grade 8 level in both piano and violin, teaching piano and regularly performing at weddings whilst composing in his spare time. He has recently started putting on his own piano recitals.
Edward is also the musical director of the Horbury Singers since September 2016, the St. Raphael Singers since 2018 and the Featherstone Male Voice Choir since 2020.
Sheila Asquith was our accompanist from August 2017 - January 2020. She has been heavily involved as accompanist for the Ossett Elizabethan Operatic Society. She never fails to make us smile, and her skills and enthusiasm are invaluable to the choir.
The Sandal Singers started like most good things in life; small but perfectly formed, with a group of enthusiastic members who loved to sing.
We formed in January 2017 when a group of singers, part of a larger choir, were upset to find their MD was unable to continue to run a choir in Wakefield. A meeting was called and Sheila Leith approached Edward Whelan and asked if he knew of anyone who may be interested in taking on the choir. Sheila then secured the venue at Sandal Methodist Church and a meeting was arranged when Edward talked to the group and agreed to take on the role of Musical Director. Hence, Sandal Singers was born.
Sheila, Sue Wells and Jan Briers then formed a committee and took on the role of Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and secured grants to help set up a new choir. Sheila advertised for a pianist and found Julie Mulroy who agreed to play for the choir and was invaluable in the first few months leading up to our very first concert. Unfortunately Julie was unable to continue so we advertised for a regular pianist and Sheila Asquith agreed to play for us.
Our wonderful Community Choir has continued to grow from the initial membership of sixteen to more than forty. During 2017 we organised three concerts and sang for a local Friendship Group at their Christmas Party. The Mayor and Mayoress of Wakefield attended our Christmas concert when we raised money for the Wakefield Hospice. Following our Summer Concert in July we finished the season in style with a great social event courtesy of Jane and Anne at their lovely home when our choir members brought food and drink and we had an amazing summer evening in the garden.
Ruth teaches piano and music theory privately and at Rothwell Music Centre. She is busy as an accompanist and regularly plays the piano for the St Raphael Singers, Let’s Sing 26, vocal and instrumental soloists and for several years was the accompanist for the award winning Carlton Primary School Choir.
Ruth also conducts choirs, and is Musical Director of the Wrenthorpe Village Singers Community Choir and a small ladies' ensemble; the Parkside Singers. Ruth is the musician at Rothwell Methodist Church and also sings alto in the eminent Wakefield based Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir.
Ruth is delighted to be part of the Sandal Singers musical team, and joined as accompanist in January 2020.