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WALTER WHITBREAD
WALTER

1973 - 1978

Walter Whitbread was a Methodist Minister.  In 1943 Walter Whitbread was assistant secretary of the Methodist Home Mission.  In April 1949 the Reverend and Mrs Whitbread together with their family moved to Canberra when he was appointed the new minister of Metodist Church, Canberra, after completing a ministry of outstanding success at Lithgow.  Music had always been integral to the life of the Canberra Wesley community since the first church was opened in 1930.  At that time the Reverend Walter Whitbread was superintendent of the Canberra circuit and commissioner of a national appeal to raise money for what was then the Methodist National Memorial Church.  His strong interest in music was carried forward by his son, Don Whitbread, founder of the Woden Valley Youth Choir, and grandson, David Whitbread, who was appointed General Manager and Artistic Director for Canberra Youth Music.  Walter believed sacred music could be defined very broadly as any form of music which is uplifting, enjoyable and enhancing. We don't put boundaries around music.  We want to reach out to people through music.

In the 1960's Walter was the General Superintendent of the Wesley Home Mission Department.  In the 1970's Walter's took up a ministry on the Central Coast of New South Wales where he established the  Tuggerah Lakes Circuit Choir in January 1973.

Rehearsals were initially held on Friday evenings but then changed to Tuesday evenings at TheEntrance/Long Jetty Methodist (Uniting) Church Hall.  Vi Rylah was the pianist to begin with then Meg Foster and Olive Nowland took turns.
In 1975 the choir sang at the Central Coast Eisteddfod held in Gosford, N.S.W. and gained first place in the Choral Championship. This result encouraged our singers to attempt music of a more ambitious nature.  The repertoire of the choir included items from Handel's Messiah, as well as full scale cantata works such as Stainer's Crucifixion, Maunder's Olivet to Calvary and Bethlehem.  The more modern composers such as J.W.Peterson are represented in his Night of Miracles and Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

From a small beginning it had grown in numbers and musical ability.  By 1977 there was 60 members who came from all sections of the community in the Tuggerah Lakes district.

In August 1977 the choir gave its first radio broadcast on the National Network.  This was the long established Community Hymn Singing session presented each Sunday night.  From this broadcast our supporters encouragement led us to produce our first LP record With The Voice of Praise which you have been listening to since the introduction.

During Rev. Whitbread's final year he united Tuggerah Lakes Circuit Choir with his son, Don Whitbread's, Woden Valley Youth Choir to present 'The 9 to 90 Show' to aid the children's leukaemia foundation.  It was performed at The Entrance High School 'Dolphin Theatre' on Saturday evening the 12 August 1978