A warm welcome to our new chairman, Alan Wilson, who will be captain of the ship from March 2020.

Alan, having spent a lifetime working in both academic circles and as a professional musician, is now officially retired – but in word only!

Born and bred in Eastwood, he is now firmly rediscovering his roots.

He still lives in the London/Kent area and is dividing his time between the two centres. He comes from a mining family going back several generations, although his father was a framework knitter at Aristoc in Langley Mill (now defunct). There was much ‘genetic’ music in the family passed on to Alan, and he left Eastwood to take up a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in London followed by a further scholarship to do a specialist Early Music course in Amsterdam studying with one of the leading musicologists and performers of that time, Gustav Leonhardt.

In education he has been Director of Music at Queen Mary College, University of London and performing organist and choral director at both the London University Church of Christ the King, followed by the famous ‘Bow Bells’ Church of St. Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside, London. He has also made many broadcasts on the BBC, as performer, choir director and composer. As performer he has played in many of the leading Early Music ensembles, and as a published composer has been very active throughout his life.

Now in his retirement he is Director of Music and Organist at the iconic church of Holy Trinity, Eltham, with its fine Gallipoli chapel (near where he lives), and during the last two years has played a major part here in Eastwood. Several concerts based on local themes have been devised; absorbing his fascination for heritage based sociological and historical research. He loves meeting up with people, both young and old - gathering up information, as well as delving through archives at the libraries. He has also discovered some neglected names from the past, especially the musical entrepreneur Arthur Linwood, and is combining his own composing and performing skills with the output of such newly discovered gems.

There is something deep and profound about revisiting one’s childhood; in the 1950s Eastwood was not so different from the time when Lawrence lived there. Many parallels can be drawn from similarities in family upbringing, social conditions, religion, inner searching, exiting Eastwood - underpinned by an adoration of the local countryside.

Alan regards it very humbling to be the new chairman, following the steps of Malcolm and all the great leaders beforehand. He has got to know Malcolm very well, and through all the old journals and newsletters has now been learning a lot about the previous chairpersons.

He is looking forward to taking the Society forward into a new chapter of adventure, drawing on the legacies of the past and working with a superb team of creative and talented people both on the DHLS council and in the wider community. 

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