Choir News

News and information for people who are united by a love of singing and a commitment to Overgate Hospice.


Sylvia Graucob, MBE, Obituary and Details of Memorial Service

i Nov 17th No Comments by

We are sad to announce that Mrs Sylvia Graucob, MBE died on 6th November 2017. Mrs Graucob was a major force behind the establishment of Overgate Hospice. A memorial service will be held at All Saints Church, Elland on Thursday 30th November at 1.30pm. The choir will be singing two pieces and are asked to arrive at 12.30. Parking may be difficult, so do arrive in good time. Singers are invited to attend “Berties” for refreshments after the service. Please confirm at rehearsal on Wednesday 22nd November if you able to sing at the memorial service, collecting the relevant music, and if you wish to join the family at Berties – lists on the usual table.


Sylvia Graucob first came to live in Overgate, the family home of her husband Find, when they got married. On the same plot as Overgate stood another house, Hazeldene, with magnificent rose gardens surrounding both.
It was not long before Sylvia fell in love with the house. Many years of happy marriage passed within its walls, and she always found it a peaceful place to be. It was only when Find became ill that the couple decided to move to Jersey. The houses were at this time owned by the company, Nu–Swift, which Find had founded and successfully built up in Elland. Two years later, Find unfortunately died.

When Sylvia returned to the house she spent many hours wandering through its emptiness, and it was at one of these times that she had the idea to do something with the house so it would not be sold and converted to smaller houses, which was the fate of the large property next door.

Sylvia looked into buying the house and gardens from Nu-Swift and was successful in purchasing them. Her first idea was to perhaps have it as an elderly people’s home. While she was thinking about the possibilities it was made known to her that two doctors in the area were looking to purchase a large property in which to create the first ever Hospice for Calderdale.

Finally in 1979, Sylvia met with Dr Quinn, one of the founders, who inspired her with his vision of what a hospice could provide for the community. In those days there were only 60 hospices in the whole country so barely anybody knew much about them. Sylvia recalled her mother saying “you can’t call it a ‘hospice'” not realising they were a rare, but already established, institution in the UK.

Sylvia believed that Dr Quinn and the committee behind him would be able to put her beloved Overgate to good use, and so it was handed over shortly afterwards. Sylvia and Find had once brought a large rusty coloured key home from a Palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice, and with the Halifax Courier present to record the occasion, the key was symbolically handed over.

Dr Quinn suggested the name ‘Graucob House’ but it was thought that might cause many spelling mistakes! Sylvia suggested Overgate instead, thus in-keeping with the old name.

From its beginnings Overgate relied heavily on volunteers to help establish it. In the first ten years Sylvia came once a month overseeing the renovations and there were three particularly committed volunteers Mrs Stephanie Rourke, Mr Philip Taylor and Mr Douglas Calvert, who did a great deal for the hospice. To this day, Overgate relies very much on the goodwill of the community and volunteers who carry out a variety of roles from serving tea to fundraising.

In 1981 the first part of the building to open was the upper floor, which had been the family bedrooms, as an inpatient hospice. At the same time the first Palliative Care nurse post in Calderdale was introduced and it made sense for the nurse to be based at the Hospice. The links between what became known as the MacMillan nursing service and the hospice were forged in those early days. Later, when the MacMillan service became much larger, it moved to the Cancer Unit opened at Calderdale Royal Hospital though both services still work closely together.

Text for ‘Gabriel to Mary Came’ – some Christmas Concert prep

i Nov 2nd No Comments by

English text from Angelus ad Virginem
by W A Pickard-Cambridge [1879-1957]

1. Gabriel to Mary came,
And entered at her dwelling,
With his salutation glad,
Her maiden fears dispelling,
‘All hail, thou queen of virgins bright!
God, Lord of earth and heaven’s height,
Thy very Son shall soon be born in pureness,
The Saviour of mankind.
Thou art the gate of heaven bright,
The sinners’ healer kind.’

2 ‘How could I a mother be
That am to man a stranger?
How should I my strong resolve,
My solemn vows endanger?’
‘Pow’r from the Holy Ghost on high
Shall bring to pass this mystery.
Then have no fear: be of good cheer, believing
That still thy chastity
In God’s Almighty keeping
Shall all unsullied be.’

3 Then to him the maid replied,
With noble mien supernal
‘Lo! the humble handmaid I
Of God the Lord eternal!
With thee, bright messenger of heav’n,
By whom this wondrous news is giv’n,
I well agree and long to see fulfillèd
Thy gracious prophecy.
As God my Lord doth will it,
So be it unto me!”

4 Hail! thou Mother of the Lord,
Who bring’st of gifts the rarest,
Peace to angels and to men
When Christ the Lord thou barest!
Do thou, we pray, entreat thy Son
For us our long’d redemp-ti-on
Himself to win and from our sin release us;
His succour for to give
That, when we hence are taken
We too in heav’n may live.


Dorothy Woodhead, RIP

i Oct 16th No Comments by

Sad news – we have just learned that Dorothy Woodhead died in hospital on 15th October.

Everyone associated with Overgate Hospice Choir sends their condolences to her family and friends.

Her funeral service will be held at Park Wood on Wednesday 1st November at 12 noon. There is a gathering at The Maypole at Warley after the service. Please let Carol know if you will be joining Dorothy’s family at The Maypole, for catering purposes.

Dorothy was a great stalwart of the choir and tried in every possible way she could think of to raise funds and sponsorship. It was all down to her that we were awarded the 1st prize from Grand Central.

“The French Connection” – photos and a message from Simon

i Oct 16th No Comments by

Dear Overgate Friends

Thanks so very much for your great singing at the most recent concert and for a terrific attention to musical detail throughout – it was all most impressive and the audience members were thrilled by it.

As I had promised, the orchestra brought so much wonderful warmth and colour to the musical timbres – not least to the John Rutter editions of the two Fauré works that hold so special affection in the hearts of all involved with them: the Cantique de Jean Racine and the evergreen Requiem. Our grateful thanks go, too, to organist Alan for his entirely magnificent contributions throughout and to Angelina Warburton for her glorious harp playing.

Special gratitude goes, as usual. to Sally Robinson for her leadership, for the wonderfully silken enhancements to the Sanctus and In Paradisum in the Requiem and for bringing such terrific talent with her to grace our endeavours!

The Minster Choristers made a magnificent contribution in Pie Jesu and Quentin Brown’s rich baritone enhanced two further movements – the Offertoire and the Libera me.

Congratulations all!

Now on to the Carol Cavalcade soonest.

Simon Lindley


Christmas is coming

i Oct 15th No Comments by

It’s only mid October, but our preparations for Christmas begin this week at the workshop and rehearsal on 18th October. Please bring your white 100 Carols for Choirs books along.