Shropshire Star

Stylistics' Russell Thompkins to front Shropshire border choir

Singers from Shropshire and Mid Wales have signed up for a weekend with the self-proclaimed Patron Saint of the Tone-deaf.

Russell Thompkins

Choir Camp is held annually to bring singers of all abilities together to make music and new friends.

It is organised by conductor Matthew Jones, the self-titled Patron Saint of the Tone-deaf, who believes anybody can learn to sing, and has trained complete beginners to play such venues as the Royal Albert Hall and record with the likes of Boy George.

Choir Camp 2022 will take place from June 17 to 19 at Dunfield House, near Leominster, across the Shropshire border in Herefordshire.

Special guest Russell Thompkins, Jr, the lead singer emeritus of The Stylistics, will be travelling from Philadelphia.

He will front the choir, an honour that Sheila Ferguson, Kiki Dee and Peter Straker have carried out in the past.

Thompkins' transatlantic hits include Can’t Give You Anything (but My Love), Funky Weekend and You Make Me Feel Brand New.

Having provided the soundtrack to many an amorous encounter, the group’s 1971 single Stop, Look, Listen (to Your Heart) was covered by Diana Ross nd Marvin Gaye and used for the famous ‘granny pants’ scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary.

He went solo in 2000 and later formed The New Stylistics.

Duly complete with matching suits and slick moves, they ‘took to the float’ before throngs of fans in 2019 at America’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in their hometown of Philadelphia, and recently joined Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson on tour, continuing to delight audiences the world over.

The 19th-century mansion stands in some fifteen acres of rolling Welsh Border countryside near Kington.

Requisitioned during World War II for US forces, Dunfield House was a bolthole for Winston Churchill for high-level meetings and elaborate dinners.

Nearby Hergest Ridge inspired Mike Oldfield’s 1974 album of the same name and, according to local folklore, the chilling legend surrounding its Court was drawn upon by Arthur Conan Doyle for his classic The Hound of the Baskervilles.

With over 80 singers already signed up, the Camp next month will be its biggest yet.

Anybody interested in taking part should call 0121 401 1380 or email

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