Dr Warwick Cole - Musical Director and Organist
Writing an article about oneself seems a strange thing to do, and to be perfectly honest it is not something I am very comfortable with. But since I’ve been asked to do so on several occasions by more than one person, I feel I ought to comply.
So where to begin? My youngest daughter cheekily suggested this: ‘I was born in the olden days in the beautiful city of Coventry.’ Both statements are untrue. Sure, Coventry is where I spent my formative years, and where, on Easter Eve 1978, aged 14, I played the organ for my first church service. The church itself was like a lot of Coventry at that time: a rather brutal, brick-built edifice. It is no exaggeration to say that even then I wished for a more congenial setting, somewhere where there was a sense of the continuum of Christian worship.
As a teenager, I learned the cello and harpsichord and spent most of my waking hours dreaming about playing baroque music. After a classical education at school, I studied music at Oxford - where, it so happened, I first encountered a chap called Julian Elloway. (He bought a harpsichord from me in 1986 which he kept until very recently.)
Since leaving university I have done a number of things musically: taught the cello and piano, written a Ph D and other articles on Bach, founded and directed a baroque orchestra and, for more than thirty years, promoted professional concerts. I have played keyboard instruments for a number of orchestras including the BBC NOW, CBSO and Philharmonia, and broadcast on radio and television.
Cheltenham is where I live with my wife Rachel, and three ‘grown-up’ children: Lois (23) who is at Tübingen University, Germany; Henry (21) who is completing his degree in Maths at Oxford; and Sophie (16) who is doing her lGCSEs currently. My spare-time activities include wild camping, cooking, building and plastering, making musical instruments, brewing (and drinking) beer and oil painting.
What else is there to say? In the short time I have been playing at Minchinhampton I have found the church community wonderfully welcoming for which I am very grateful. It is an absolute delight to play the organ there. And, yes, the setting is more than congenial: it is the kind of place that I dreamed of back in the 1970s.