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Derek Barsham RIP

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  • Derek Barsham RIP

    Telegraph - 14 February 2020

    Derek Barsham, boy soprano whose rendition of Land of Hope and Glory was broadcast by the BBC on VE Day – obituary

    A recording of him singing I'll Walk Beside You with the Boys Brigade was given to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding present

    Derek Barsham, who has died aged 89, was a wartime boy soprano whose rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, sadly now lost, was heard on the wireless on VE Day, May 8 1945, following Winston Churchill’s announcement that the war in Europe was over.

    The recording had been made the previous year, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Leslie Woodgate, at a studio in Bedford.

    Barsham’s career as a professional boy soprano had started 18 months earlier as a member of the Boys Brigade. Dr Leslie Ridge, captain of the First Enfield Company and a collector of recordings by boy sopranos, heard him singing the hymn Father Who Hast Made Us Brothers at a Sunday-morning Bible class.

    “That very morning he came back to my house and asked my parents if he could, at his expense, take me to a voice trainer and see what he thought,” Barsham said.

    They worked on his breathing for a couple of months before Ridge wrote to Derek McCulloch, the Children’s Hour presenter at the BBC, requesting an audition. “Uncle Mac replied, and in November of 1943 I went to Studio 3a at Broadcasting House,” Barsham recalled. “He seemed to like my voice, and I made my first broadcast on Christmas morning 1943 on the Home Service.”

    Over the next four years Barsham took part in more than 50 radio broadcasts and made nine recordings for Decca....

    Note: The full obituary is available only to Telegraph subscribers.
    Last edited by Maurice; 14th February 2020, 09:26 PM.