Alone among Northern vocal groups, Overgate Hospice Choir maintains the rich historic traditions of annual Sings or Hymn-sings centred upon the lively, stirring sacred songs arising from the heady days of the Evangelical revival and developed continuously during the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by differing Christian denominations. The publication of the Wesley brothers Foundery Collection in 1742 – a collection of tunes, many of which survive in regular use today – did much to spur on the tradition of hymn-singing and the landmark publications of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861 and The English Hymnal of 1906 changed the course of English hymnody forever. Each of these tomes has been accorded special attention in theme-based Hymnsings by Overgate Hospice Choir over the past twenty-two years.
Donald Maxwell-Timmins, co-founder of Overgate Hospice Choir in 1991, instituted the Hymnsings and some of the earlier performances were impromptu, utilising Hymns and Psalms and the particular choices of choir members. Most presentations in this long-establish genre have included printed programmes with all the texts and details of the hymns to be sung. There have been acclaimed special vocal and instrumental solo appearances by guest artists and the involvement of the highly distinguished guest conductor, Dr Gordon Stewart, Organist of Huddersfield Town Hall and for many years one of the leading directors of BBC TV’s Songs of Praise, has been hugely appreciated.
The Hymnsings, for long sponsored by David and Julia Wilby [Concept Merchandising], have been actively supported for a generation by successive ministers, stewards and staff of Brighouse Central Methodist Church, to whom substantial and grateful thanks are due.
Overgate Hospice Choir Music Director Dr Simon Lindley is a director of the English Hymnal Company and joint musical editor, with the late Michael Fleming, of New English Praise, the supplement to The New English Hymnal published in 1906.