Musical Director

Val_passport_picIn 1948 Valerie M Chadwick, the Rochdale Festival Choir’s Musical Director, had an unusual start in life by being mistakenly advertised in the births column of the Rochdale Observer as Peter William!

She was educated at the Rochdale Convent Primary and Grammar School and by the age of eighteen had won many music festivals and given concert tours at home and abroad. At twenty one she graduated from the Northern School of Music, Manchester (GNSM) and the Royal Academy of Music, London (LRAM) She specialized in pianoforte, singing, choral work and conducting under Irene Wilde, Maurice Handford and Sir John Barbirolli.

She was later awarded a Higher Degree, the Diploma in Advanced Studies of Education (DASE) specialising in Counselling and Pastoral Care, by Lancaster University. She is also qualified as a registered Diagnostic Tester with the Psychological Society.

For many years she was Assistant Deputy Head in a large comprehensive school. During her teaching career she had also been music critic for the ‘Rochdale Observer’ and had established herself as a popular adjudicator and official accompanist at music festivals.

In 2005 Valerie retired from teaching and administration in education. Her lifelong interest in photography led to commissioned work on behalf of churches, some seeking English Heritage Lottery Funding. Many of her photographs have been incorporated into books supported by biblical text. Recently her work appeared in The Church Building & Heritage Review Magazine, distributed nation wide and in America.

Several years ago Valerie and her friend Freda Jackson became publishers in their own right and together they published nine books, all officially registered with the national libraries of England, Ireland , Scotland and Wales .
Valerie has been the Musical Director of the Rochdale Ladies Choir, formerly the Ladies Lyric Singers, for fifty years and together they have given hundreds of charity concerts in and around Rochdale.

Valerie’s other hobbies include computer photography, reading and travel. She is also a keen supporter of Dementia Care and is the voluntary Chaplain of a local residential home, as well as being a funeral celebrant.

Valerie was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2015 for her work with the Rochdale Ladies Choir, the Rochdale Festival Choir and Services to the Community.

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