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The history of the Choir

The Choir is one of the longest-established clarinet choirs in the country. It evolved from a course in Clarinet Playing taught by Christopher Hooker at the Kingston Adult Education Centre in 1972 and was formed in September 1973. In 1975 it changed its name from the cumbersome Kingston Adult Education Centre Clarinet Choir to the Thameside Clarinet Choir. In its early days the Choir held many residential playing weekends at Little Benslow Hills in Hertfordshire.

Following a major change in work commitments in 1980, Chris Hooker left the Choir which continued as an evening class for one more year following which rehearsals took place in a member’s home.

From 1985 to 1998 the choir was directed by Peter Morris who introduced Playing Days which continued regularly until fairly recently. The following year saw the beginning of the Choir's relationship with Kneller Hall as the next three conductors were all student bandmasters.

Chris Hooker rejoined the choir as a player in 2001 and two years later was invited to conduct. Over the next four years he produced many new arrangements for the Choir. In 2006, it started giving public concerts and has performed in St James's Church, Hampton Hill, and the YMCA Hawker Centre in Ham.

The current musical director, Martin Hinckley, joined the choir as a player in 2005 and succeeded Chris in 2007 on his retirement from the Choir to concentrate more on playing and performing.

Around 2010 the Choir started entertaining the pensioners at the Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond by performing afternoon concerts and also put on charity concerts for the Greenwood Centre, Hampton Hill. Martin has added several new compositions and arrangements to the TCC's growing repertoire and the Choir has grown in numbers.

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