FRIENDS and colleagues of Langcliffe Singers’ musical director Nigel Waugh came together for the first time in 16 months to wish him a happy retirement.

Around 30 members of the choir met outside in the Covid-safe Miss Victoria’s Tea Garden, behind Settle Victoria Hall, for a celebration of Nigel’s 12 years as musical director.

He was presented with various gifts and a cheque to enable him to buy more music CDs to add to his already substantial collection.

Choir members also gave an a capella rendition of Mozart’s Ave Verum, before Nigel’s ceremonial cutting of his celebratory cake.

Tribute was paid to his enthusiastic leadership of the choir through a wide-ranging repertoire of choral works, opera, Gilbert and Sullivan, and songs from the shows.

In the past, Nigel sang as a chorister in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, conducted by David Willcocks.

He gained a Bachelor of Music degree at Edinburgh University and sang as a lay-clerk in the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. He has sung in choirs and as a soloist for most of his life. A singing teacher with North Yorkshire County Council, he has also written a book on sight singing.

A spokesperson for Langcliffe Singers, said: “The day was made particularly special as this was the first time in 16 months choir members have been able to meet in person because of Covid restrictions, although Nigel has kept the choir going through online rehearsals.

“Obviously he will be missed but the choir are delighted to announce that he will be succeeded by Darren Everhart, who has recently been re-appointed as director of music at Giggleswick School after spending the last eight years teaching in Italy.”

Langcliffe Singers are now looking forward to restarting live rehearsals in September and are always happy to welcome new members. No auditions are held and the ability to read music is not essential.

The choir is based in Settle, is a registered charity and raises money for its music making through ticket sales, choir membership fees and events.

The choir is divided into four voices – soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Numbers vary but usually has between 40 and 50 members.

The fundraising Langcliffe Teas, including home made cakes and refreshments made by choir members, is due to take place in Langcliffe Village Institute on August 8 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm .

For further details of the choir, visit the website at: langcliffesingers.org.uk and/or its Facebook page.