Remembering Nigel Bateman - Tenor

Nigel Bateman, who died suddenly in February 2003, sang in our choir for over thirty years and had also been a part-time Verger. His memorial service at St Peter’s, following a service at Bramcote Crematorium, was attended by many associates and friends, including members of St Peter’s Choir.

Nigel Bateman joined St Peter’s Choir more than thirty years ago, at a time when his outstanding contribution to the vocal ensemble could not have been more welcome. At that time the tenor section was temporarily low in numbers, and when I received a letter telling me that Nigel was moving to Nottingham from Rainworth where he sang tenor in the church choir, I was overjoyed to offer him an audition and immediately to offer him a place, which he graciously accepted.

Many will remember the most appealing quality of his voice - he truly sang from the heart. He brought to the solos in the various Passions we used to sing every Palm Sunday, very often in the part of Evangelist, all his love of music in a most moving way. In anthem work also, the emotional intensity he brought to “God shall wipe away all tears” and “Thou visitest the earth” to name but two examples, brought a catch to the throat of his listeners. Above all, he was completely without artifice and sang with a natural delight, whatever he was called upon to do.

As a chorister he was totally committed and loyal and showed a friendly welcome to new members, taking an interest in their concerns and often offering a word of help, expressed with humour and understanding. This aspect of his personality, helping others, showed itself in his participation in the great Robin Hood Marathon each year, and in his enjoyment of the cheerful camaraderie in the offices of the Nottingham Evening Post where he worked for many years.

Latterly his work at Wollaton Hall brought him much happiness, satisfying his sense of history and interest in architecture. Those lucky enough to be taken on a tour by Nigel, including the Prospect Room and the roof itself, learned so much. The times when children came, dressed up in costume and ate a meal in the Great Hall, were a great delight to him - The Tudors, he called them. The 18th century Snetzler organ in the Great Hall was a particular source of pleasure for him and when he arranged for me to give recitals there, he would operate the bellows himself.

To me, as to so many others, he showed great kindness in moments of difficulty. To have known him was indeed a privilege. We all extend to his beloved wife, Joy, our utmost sympathy in her sad loss.

Kendrick Partington (organist 1957-94)
© St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 9th March 2003