Sat 7th December 2019 ~ Guest Phaedra Brickwood

Monday 9th December 2019 ~ Guest Russell Painter


What a fabulous start to the Christmas season as Penn Singers and their guest soloists entertained a sell out audience with their wonderfully festive programme of Carols, songs, readings and poems. The joy was certainly present on these two concert evenings.

Ben Batt (Musical Director) managed to create a lively mixture of musical pieces both old and new, coupled with audience participation sections which could not fail to ring out the Christmas cheer. Some of the audience adorned festive jumpers and hats enhancing the seasonal atmosphere and the ambience created by the beautifully decorated church setting. Ben is certainly exploring new performance skills with the choir and encouraging different singing styles with acapella pieces and singing in multiple parts. The choir is clearly rising to the challenge.

Included in the Christmas concerts is an original piece written by Maxine Lockhart (choir member) The Gift, sensitively set to music by Ben Batt, and also an original Carol written by Ben called A Baby’s Cry.

Martin Fox (accompanist) has taken on his new role with great enthusiasm and competence. He had a very busy time, not only accompanying the choir, but also playing for the guests who added a further twenty songs to the programme over the two evenings! He was still smiling at the end of it.

Martin Stokes compered the evening with his usual wit and obviously awful Christmas jokes which everyone tries hard not to love.

Although the choir sang the same programme on both evenings, the two concerts were very different. It was noticeable that some of the audience chose to attend both nights.

Phaedra Brickwood, studied Drama at Wolverhampton University and went on to gain BMus in classical vocal studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Phaedra has a vast experience in performing and works privately as a vocal coach. She has worked with The Royal Opera House on their Educational Programme and runs a Community Choir in Telford.


Penn Singers Choir sang :

Star Carol ~ John Rutter

I Believe in Father Christmas ~ Peter Sinfield ass Jonathan Rathbone

Carol of the Bells (acapella) ~ Peter J Wilhousey


What the Donkey Saw by UA Fanthorpe ~ Glo Stocken

Never Again by Harry Webb ~ Dot Forster

Phaedra Brickwood on a theme of Love sang:

Look to the Rainbow

Caro Mio Ben i

The choir sang:

Where are you Christmas (Women) ~ Will Jennings arr Mac Huff

Christmas Medley with the Audience

The Gift (An original prayer) ~ by Maxine Lockhart music Ben Batt

Phaedra sang:

Se Tu M’ami

Gimme Gimme

The choir sang:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing with Audience

The Christmas Song ~ Mel Torme


During the interval, the stewarding team who are so supportive in all aspects of looking after the audiences, served seasonal refreshments of mince pies, wine and drinks while the ‘buzz’ of the Joy of Christmas filled the room.

Second Half Penn Singers:

Sir Christemas ~ William Mathias

Black Country 12 Days of Christmas

While Shepherds Watched (tune of Ilkley Moor) with Audience


Adrian Mole’s Christmas by Sue Townsend ~ Beryl Tucker

Phaedra sang:

Secret Love

Art is Calling

The Choir sang:

A Baby’s Cry ~ Benn Batt (Phaedra solo)

Guard Him Joseph (Men) ~ Sally Deford

Do You Hear What I Hear ~ Noel Reeney and Gloria Shayne

Arr Jonathan Rathbone

Phaedra Sang:

Perfect Year

O Mio Babbino Caro

The Choir Sang:

Silent Night ~ Joseph Meer arr Rhonda Polay (Phaedra solo)

Merry Christmas Everybody ~ Noddy Holder and James Lea

Arr Jonathan Rathbone



Russell Painter gained Mmus at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is a fellow of the London College of Music. Russell is in great demand for his singing voice and his particular interest in Gilbert and Sullivan. He is very much at home in musical theatre and operatic roles which he performs with enthusiasm and flair. Apparently, he also loves Real Ale, walking, is a fully qualified Safari Park guide and a ‘NicFit’ training fanatic. Who knew? So, entertain our audience he did with tremendous energy and fun. Russell wrote new words and topical comment in an hilarious version of A Little List.


First Half

Penn Singers Sang:

Star Carol ~ John Rutter

I Believe in Father Christmas ~ Peter Sinfield ass Jonathan Rathbone

Carol of the Bells (acapella) ~ Peter J Wilhousey


Christmas Dinner by Michael Rosen ~ Sue Morris

Russell sang:

Walking in the Air

Reviewing the Situation

In the Bleak Midwinter

The choir sang:

Where are you Christmas (Women) ~ Will Jennings arr Mac Huff

The Gift (An original prayer) ~ by Maxine Lockhart music Ben Batt

Christmas Medley with the Audience

Russell Sang:

The Song of the King

The Little Boy that Santa Clause Forgot

Music of the Night

The choir sang:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing with Audience

The Christmas Song ~ Mel Torme


Second Half Penn Singers:

Sir Christemas ~ William Mathias

Black Country 12 Days of Christmas

While Shepherds Watched (tune of Ilkley Moor) with Audience


Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou ~ Lisa Steadman & Margaret Broomhall

Russell Sang:

This is the Moment

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

A Little List

The Choir sang:

A Baby’s Cry ~ Benn Batt (Russell solo)

Guard Him Joseph (Men) ~ Sally Deford

Do You Hear What I Hear ~ Noel Reeney and Gloria Shayne

Arr Jonathan Rathbone

Russell sang:

Let it Snow

On the Street Where You Live

O Holy Night

The Choir sang:

Silent Night ~ Joseph Meer arr Rhonda Polay (Russell solo)

Merry Christmas Everybody ~ Noddy Holder and James Lea

Arr Jonathan Rathbone


Without such an amazingly generous audience we would not be able to do this and we cannot thank you enough for your loyal support.

We were able to present COMPTON CARE with a cheque for £1,500 from the proceeds of our October (Voices for Hospices) It Must Be Love Concert. It is such a blessing to be able to contribute towards our great local hospice which we all know does amazing work with patients and families who face serious, terminal illness and often end of life care. Thank you all. We strive to raise money for our other chosen charities throughout the year with concerts, activities, raffles and donations. The Christmas concerts’ proceeds will be for Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital. We were reminded how frightening it is for children to spend time in hospital away from home. Sometimes it can be a short stay for a minor operation but other times it can be for weeks, months and even over years with multiple treatments and surgeries. The hospital endeavours to provide the best medical, emotional, educational and social care for children and their families by creating a happy, caring and safe environment to suit their circumstances. We thank you for your generous support.




Looking forward with 2020 vision. Some of the choir favourites in



Saturday 4th April 2020 7.30pm


Tickets £8.50 from your usual sources or

01902 338570 / 019002 652992


Sat October 12th 2019

Featuring Guest Soprano Sarah-Ann Cromwell


For sure, LOVE was certainly in the air this evening as the choir sang a programme of uplifting and emotional melodies as befits a concert dedicated to our local hospice Compton Care. The work that they do in our community touches all of us in some way. Ben Batt (Musical Director) created an extremely moving evening of favourite music on the theme of love. He demonstrated through his careful choices, how we can contribute to this amazing work by making this October concert especially poignant to the hospice cause while remaining uplifting and positive. The proceeds from this concert go directly to Compton Care.


We welcomed Martin Fox, our new accompanist who has taken up the position following the retirement of Val Sumner. Martin is a very experienced musician working within different genres and settings, and can play numerous instruments including piano, keyboards, organ and guitar. He thoroughly enjoyed his first concert with Penn Singers, we didn’t put him off and we look forward to a long association with him.


Our guest for the evening was Sarah-Ann Cromwell who is Britain’s 1st Award Winning Operatic Comedian. She certainly entertained in a most humorous programme of songs and stories. Sarah-Ann has an exquisite soprano voice that stopped everyone in their tracks during her first number, Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’. You could have heard a pin drop. Sarah-Ann was accompanied by her father who also played Claire De Lune by Debussy.


Martin Stokes compered the evening treating us to his usual amusing observations, easy style and wit, introducing the pieces as follows:


The Choir sang:

Love Changes Everything ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber

For the Beauty of the Earth ~ John Rutter

Yesterday ~ Lennon and McCartney

Sarah-Ann Cromwell sang:

O Mio Babbino Caro ~ Puccini

The Choir sang:

You Raise Me Up ~ Graham and Lovland arr. Roger Emerson

Turtle Dove (with Sarah-Ann) ~ Vaughan Williams

Sarah-Ann sang:

Poisoning the Pigeons in the Park ~ Tom Lehrer

She Moved through the Fair ~ Traditional

The Choir sang:

Only Love – Delanoe and Cosma

What a Wonderful World – Weiss and Thiele arr. Ben Batt


Our audiences often comment upon how well organised the evenings are at our concerts and this is achieved through the dedication of our team of stewards who help to keep everyone safe, fed and watered during the concert and assisting with parking and traffic control on arrival and departure. Without their efforts, it would be a very different story.


In the second half the Choir sang:

Viva Amore ~ Mozart arr. Patrick M Liebergen

Wherever You Are (with Sarah-Ann) ~ PaulMealor

Sarah-Ann sang:

Kal Ho Na Ho (Penn Singers backing vocal) ~ Karan Johar

Manha de Carnival ~ Luis Miguel

The Choir sang:

Londonderry Air ~ arr. Bob Chilcott

A Fine Romance ~ Fields and Kern arr. Benn Batt

Sarah-Ann sang:

Time To Say Goodbye ~ Satorti and Quarantotto

Memories of You ~ Andy Razaf and Eubie Blake

The Choir sang:

This Nearly Was Mine ~ Rogers and Hammerstein

Make You Feel My Love ~ Bob Dylan arr. Jeremy Birchall

As and encore the choir sang an acapella version of

When I fall in love ~Victor Young and Edward Heyman


Our loyal audience showed their appreciation of the evening’s music in a retiring collection of an amazing £509.70 which along with other proceeds will be presented to Compton Care at one of our Christmas Concerts. We thank you for your continued support which our charities benefit from throughout the year.

Looking forward. Rehearsals are already ‘thronging’ if that is a word, with the sounds of Christmas bells and carols in preparation for two wonderful evenings with The Joy of Christmas.



Saturday 7th December 7.30 pm

Guest Phaedra Brickwood

Monday 9th December 7.30 pm

Guest Russell Painter


Tickets £8.50 from usual sources or 01902 338570 or 01902 652992


Please don’t delay in purchasing your tickets as these concerts are very popular and sell out quickly. We Look forward to seeing and hearing you on the night!




Saturday 13th July


Jackfield 10 Piece Band

A kaleidoscope indeed, of constantly changes colours, musical texture and variation. It seems that Penn Singers go from strength to strength. The concert theme provided opportunities to include many different pieces with colours in the title or body of the songs. Ben Batt (Musical Director) playfully invited the audience to join in a musical quiz and search for these colours while listening. It was an evening full of fun and enthusiastic performances which was met with the usual generous appreciation of our audience.

Martin Stokes compered the evening with his competent style and wit, introducing the pieces with humour and flair.

The Jackfield 10 Piece Band, who have been our guests on approximately 17 occasions over the years, retain their marvellous performance standards, being as entertaining and as popular as ever. They brought a programme which delighted our audience, offering a variety of popular tunes and marches promoting much foot-tapping!

Julieann Johnson was accompanist for the evening, demonstrating her skilled musicianship. Julieann has played in rehearsals and undertook the position temporarily until Martin Fox can take up the post in September. Julieann is an accomplished pianist, flautist and singer. Penn Singers are grateful to Julieann and have enjoyed a lovely association with her preparing for this concert.

During the first half the choir sang:

I Can See Clearly Now ~ Johnny Nash arr. Kirby Shaw

Red Rubber Ball ~ Bruce Woodley and Paul Simon arr. Ben Batt

A Whiter Shade of Pale ~ Keith Reid and Gary Brooker

Jackfield Band ~ Introduced by Simon Holland

Aces High ~ Ron Goodwin

Shepherd’s Song ~ Barry Pain, Edward Elgar

Troublemaker ~ Harry Mestyanek


You’ll Never Walk Alone (Men) ~ Rogers and Hammerstein

Only Love ~ Pierre Delanoe and Vladimir Cosma

Jackfield Band

March from the Second Suite in F maj ~ Gustav Holtz

All in the April Evening ~ Katherine Tynan and Hugh S Robertson

Pastime with Good Company ~ Att. Henry VIII


Like a Singing Bird ~ Bob Chilcott

*Bridge Over Troubled Water ~ Paul Simon

*This song was dedicated to the memory of Tim Forster who was a steward for many years with the choir and died recently. It was a favourite of his.


Following refreshments and some summer evening fresh air, the choir continued with:

Yellow Bird ~ Keith, Bergman, Luboff and Frank

Under the Sea ~ Howard Ashman, Alan Menken arr. Alan Billingsley

Jackfield Band

Lily the Pink ~ John Gorman, Mike McGear, Roger McGough

Mood Indigo ~ Irving Mills, Barney Bigard and Duke Ellington

The Pink Panther ~ Henry Mancini


My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land ~ Elgar, Andrew Lang

Mamma Mia (Women) ~ ABBA arr. Ben Batt

Jackfield Band

Can Can ~ Jacques Offenbach

Swedish Folk Song (How Great Thou Art) ~ Carl Boberg

Floral Dance ~ Kate Emily Barkley Moss


Wonderful World ~ David Weiss and Bob Thiele arr. Ben Batt

Make You Feel My Love ~ Bob Dylan


The concert was a huge success and a thoroughly enjoyable evening! The feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly good.

Our charity for the Spring/Summer concerts this year is Promise Dreams. This charity supports children (and families) who have life limiting conditions and terminal illness. It can help a child realise a dream by providing financial support at crisis point. Promise Dreams is a Children’s charity based in Wolverhampton. Dreams can be big or small but hugely important to that child.

We would like to thank our loyal audience who always give so readily to our charity collections. The retiring collection for this concert was an astonishing £648.30. Dan Smith representing Promised Dreams received a cheque for £1,250. It is the wonderfully generous donations from our audience that allows us to give this amount. Thank you again.


We are all off for a summer break now but are looking forward to the autumn concert.


In October we will be performing on the theme of:



@ Penn United Reform Church


Sarah-Ann Cromwell

Saturday 12th October 2019 ~ 7.30pm

Tickets £8.50 from your usual sources orTel 01902 338570 / 01902652992

Proceeds to Compton Care



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


A slightly smaller choir of approximately forty members of Penn Singers performed for a fundraising concert in Sedgley. The evening was arranged by Ben Batt (Musical Director) on behalf of the church, to raise funds to provide a defibrillator for the local community.

The varied programme contained something for everyone including music from different genres and guests in addition to the choir. There were solo performances from Laura Davies ~Soprano, James Perkins ~Piano, BenBatt ~ Piano, and a duet from Anita Morris and Candy Woods, members of Jacantas. Laura demonstrated her range and ability to sing opera, Gilbert and Sullivan and show tunes with ease keeping the audience spellbound. James played two beautiful pieces in addition to accompanying the choir. Ben played three jazz pieces bringing a further dimension into the evening, also providing accompaniment for Laura in her sets. Jacantas entertained with popular show tunes.

The programme was as follows:

Penn Singers

Pastime with Good Company, att. Henry VIII

I Can See Clearly Now ~ Johnny Nash


Love Changes Everything ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber

Can You Feel the Love Tonight ~ Elton John

Penn Singers

Yellow Bird ~ Keith, Bergman and Luboff

James Perkins


Marigold ~ Billy Mayerl

Penn Singers

Moon River ~ Henry Mancini

Laura Davies

Glitter and Be Gay ~ Leonard Bernstein

Just You Wait ~ Alan Lerner and Frederick Loewe

Children Will Listen ~ Stephen Sondheim

Penn Singers

Make You Feel My Love ~ Bob Dylan

There was an interval for refreshments and an opportunity to buy handmade crafts from the craft stall.


The second half continued with:


Penn Singers

Band The Drum All Day ~ Todd Rundgren

Featuring Isaac Batt on percussion


Three Impressions ~ Joseph Makholm

Penn Singers

For the Beauty of the Earth ~ John Rutter


The Way You Look Tonight ~ Jerome Kern

Already Home ~ Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

Penn Singers

My Spirit Sang All Day ~ Gerald Finzi

Laura Davies

The Hours Creep On A Pace ~Gilbert and Sullivan

My Man’s Gone Now ~ George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward

Sunday in the Park with George ~ Stephen Sondheim

Duet with Ben Batt

Penn Singers

What a Wonderful World ~George Weiss and Bob Thiele, arr. B.Batt

Bridge Over Troubled Water ~ Simon and Garfunkel


The evening was very enjoyable, well supported and successfully raised

Over £300 towards the defibrillator fund.

This is the Day

6th April 2019

An extremely enthusiastic audience greeted Penn Singers onto the stage, with an emotional welcome by all for Val Sumner’s final appearance as our marvellous accompanist. Martin Stokes compered the evening with his easy and humorous style, managing the flow of the concert in an enjoyably informative way.

Ben Batt, Musical Director, crafted a wonderfully varied evening programme of songs around the theme of ‘The Day’. His musical talent, moving arrangements and creative leadership is certainly challenging the choir to reach new heights. In addition to his usual role Ben accompanied our guest, by playing the piano for several of his numbers.

Popular guest Russell Painter entertained everyone with his dependable operatic tenor voice which had the audience spellbound. His experience in musical theatre enables him to create a cameo in which to establish the song setting, allowing the audience to believe they are watching the actual character. His performance was a technical and artistic delight, which the audience loved. Russell’s affection and experience of Gilbert and Sullivan was enjoyed in his programme throughout the evening.

Cleo Abbs (choir member) played piano solos. Isaac Batt played drums accompaniment. Roy Pope sang a solo part. It is always a pleasure to be able to showcase some of the talents of choir members. More information is included later in this report, so please read on.

In the first half the Choir Sang:

I Can See Clearly Now ~ Jonny Nash arr. Kirby Shaw

O Happy Day ~ Edwin R Hawkins arr. Roger Emmerson

Memory ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber

Russell Sang:

Oh what a beautiful morning ‘Oklahoma’, ~Richard Rodgers

Is she not passing fair? ~ Edward Elgar

Anthem from ‘Chess’ ~ Andersson & Ulvaeus


This is the Day ~ John Rutter

Teddybear’s Picnic ~ John Bratton arr. Andrew Carter

Cleo played Piano Solo Wedding Day in Troldhaugen ~ Edvard Grieg

Russell Sang:

Love Changes everything from ‘Aspects of Love’, ~ Lloyd Webber

Evermore from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ~ Alan Menken

If I were a Rich Man from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ ~ Jerry Bock


Anything Goes ~ Cole Porter arr. Tina Chin

One Day More ~ Claude Michel Schonberg arr. Mark Brymer

Solo Roy Pope


In the Second Half the Choir sang:

My Spirit Sang All Day ~ Gerald Finzi

Yesterday ~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Russell sang:

A Wandering Minstral I from ‘The Mikado’ ~ Gilbert & Sullivan

Places from ‘Out of Africa’ ~ John Barry

Quanto e bella from ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’,~ Gaetano Donizetti

Cleo played Piano Solo Clair de Lune ~ Claude Debussey from ‘Suite Bergamasque’


For the Beauty of the Earth ~ John Rutter

Bang the Drum All Day ~ Todd Rungren arr. Steve Malloy

Drum: Isaac Batt

Russell sang:

Free from his fetters Grim from The Yeoman of the Guard, G & S

Empty Chairs and Empty Tables ‘Les Miserables’, Schonberg

Oliver Cromwell ~ Benjamin Britten

Nessun Dorma ~ Giacomo Puccini


Moon River ~ Henry Mancini arr. Johnny Mercer

Perfect Day ~ Lou Reed arr. Ben Batt


It was with great delight that the Choir treasurer Gordon Stangroom was able to present a cheque for £1, 500 to the Wolverhampton Samaritans. This was as a result of the huge generosity of our loyal audiences at our two Christmas concerts in 2018. This money was gratefully received by their representatives who were so grateful for the massive cheque.

It is a privilege as a choir to do something we love and at the same time raise money for our chosen charities. However, without our generously supportive audiences, this would not be possible.

Our chosen charity for this and our next concert is Promise Dreams. Promise Dreams is based in Wolverhampton and works to make dreams come true for seriously and terminally ill children and their families.

At the end of our April concert This is The Day, you our audience broke all records!! A massive £651.55 was collected. We know by this, how much you enjoyed the evening and how much you give your support. As a choir we cannot thank you enough. THANKYOU



Isaac is currently studying for his GCSEs, including Music, Drama and Dance. He certainly has a musical pedigree being Ben’s Son, but irrespective of that he joined us showing confidence and he was able to provide a much needed and successful rhythm accompaniment to Bang the Drum All Day. Isaac is gaining experience taking on major roles in performing with local theatre groups and we wish him every success in the future.


Roy has been a member of the Choir for a little over a year when he joined the men’s section singing bass. Roy took the solo part tonight in One Day More. Roy retired from teaching art and is sculptor and artist.


Cleo began piano lessons at school around the age of 7. She continued lessons up to the age of 18 attaining grade 8 piano and enjoyed a classical background through her love of singing and playing. When she finished school, she thought she would like to teach and as she had both the talent and the requisite qualifications for Music and Art, she had a choice. Eventually she decided to teach Art and keep playing and singing when she could. Cleo has always maintained her singing being a member of many different choirs throughout her life and in her 30s found herself studying singing further at Hertfordshire School of Music. There was a time that she couldn’t play the piano as much as she would have liked, as she didn’t own one herself, but she could always sing. Later when she was in a position to own a piano again, her passion for playing was rekindled. Cleo has been a member of Penn Singers for 10 years and is a member of the alto section. Cleo has taught art and is a local artist of some renown most recently working in mixed media. Classical music, listening, singing and playing, has been a huge part of her life. She dedicated Clair de Lune tonight to Val Sumner as Debussey is Val’s favourite composer.


As previously mentioned, this concert was to be the last for our retiring accompanist Val Sumner. The Choir made a presentation at the last rehearsal as we didn’t want the concert to be any more emotional than it was destined to be. Val has been such a huge musical presence in the Choir for more than 20 years, a great support to all with her reliability, competence, musicianship and friendship. We cannot thank her enough and will miss her playing ~ however it is with delight that we welcome her to her new role as Vice President of Penn Singers.


Our next Concert


Saturday 13th July 2019




Tickets are already on sale and will sell out very quickly. Please get yours from your usual source or Tel:  01902 338570 or 01902 652992