Chorus members turned out in numbers to bid farewell to their outstanding lead singer Bill ‘Chippy’ Carpenter, who has died after a courageous fight against illness.
The chorus joined family and other friends to celebrate Bill’s life at a funeral service at West Herts Crematorium on August 25th.
In a eulogy, former Kings chairman Peter Browell paid tribute to Bill's “great voice and wonderful stage presence”.
“For a singer there is nothing like the feeling when your own voice locks in harmony with another. Singing with Bill was effortless and we had some great sing-outs together in chorus, quartet, trio - and sometimes just the two of us!” said Peter.
“Bill was born and brought up in Harpenden and, as a result, seemed to know just about everyone and everyone seemed to know him!
“One of his favourite pleasures was being seated at the bar with beer in hand, chatting to mates and the publican.
“He was able to combine this pastime with his love of rugby, through Harpenden and Tring rugby clubs, and his love of music, through the the Kings of Herts, where Bill superbly ran the bar for many years. He was in his element!”
Peter recalled: “A friend, Rod McCauley, from both Harpenden Rugby Club and the chorus, related to me the occasion at the rugby club when Bill came to wave off the team bus and they, being short of a hooker, kidnapped Bill, put him on the coach and took him away for four days!”
Peter added: “Although I have only known Bill for a relatively short time I feel as if I have known him all my life. He was the kind of person who had a knack of drawing you in.
“Bill fought to keep singing for as long as he could. He was a fighter with an incredibly strong character, and will always be remembered and admired for these qualities, along with his kindness and concern for others.”
Bill had enriched the lives of all who knew him, said Peter.
The day after the funeral service, the chorus joined together in a musical tribute at Bill’s local, the Oddfellows Arms in Harpenden. It was the first chorus ‘sing-out’ since the Covid pandemic began.
In a covered area in the pub’s attractive terraced garden, the chorus delivered many songs from the barbershop repertoire and then, with audience participation, from a list of pop favourites that were much loved and often performed by Bill.
+ Those who knew Bill are invited to make a donation to ‘Rennie Grove Hospice Care’ - FAO Gemma Ralph Nursing Team, Grove House, Waverley Road,St Albans, Hertfordshire AL3 5QX
Bill Carpenter: pictured with the Thank You trophy presented by the Kings of Herts on his retirement from the chorus.