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Denis Coleman to be remembered at St John’s Waterloo

London SE1 website team

Members of Chorus Mundi are holding a memorial service for their founder and honorary president Denis Coleman who died earlier this year aged 89.

Chorus Mundi was called the Southwark Singers when formed almost fifty years ago. The service, which includes a singing tribute to Denis, will be at St John's Waterloo on Friday 2 November at 2.30pm followed by refreshments.

Celia Simpson, Chorus Mundi board member, writes: Denis Coleman was from a musical and show business family. He started playing the piano at the age of seven and the organ at twelve. He was assistant organist at thirteen in Wendover, and studied at the London College of Music.

From the age of sixteen he became a cinema organist, and at eighteen formed his own band and orchestra, continuing with various church music performances.

Between 1941 and 1945 he was involved in Army music and became a Band Master. He later formed his own professional group of singers, under the title of the 'Denis Coleman Singers', and appeared in theatres throughout Britain, on radio, in cabaret shows, summer shows and pantomimes whilst always retaining his interest in church music and choirs.

At this time, Denis was also appointed Camberwell borough organist and musical advisor to the council. In 1965 he formed the Southwark Singers, Concert Orchestra and Band. They quickly made a name for themselves in London and around the country.

In 1983 they were included in a union of choirs, with Denis as choir director, and the choir became well known all over the world, singing in the most notable venues, with many famous conductors.

In 2001 the Southwark Singers became Chorus Mundi, and their musical reputation, with concerts around the country and abroad has continued. They travelled to Sydney and Melbourne last summer to take part in a choral festival.

Denis remained Chorus Mundi's Musical Director right up to the time of his death in this June this year, aged almost 90.

Chorus Mundi continues, and regularly rehearses and performs at St John's Waterloo so it is a fitting church in which to hold this celebration.

Denis Coleman, founder of Chorus Mundi; born 28 July 1917; died 22 June 2007.

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