I love to sing! – Phil Robinson

I Love to Sing! – Phil Robinson

Phil is one of the most community minded and public-spirited chaps I know. He has a broad range of interests, a lovely family and a passion for performance. This article tells you more about him and you will decide if this introduction does him justice. Let him take up the story….

Personal background, birth, family, job etc.

I was born near Stoke-on-Trent in 1946 in a farm cottage although my Dad worked as a fitter at a nearby colliery. I am the eldest of three having a younger sister and brother. After leaving school I worked as a computer operator for English Electric which became ICL. Although shift work restricted my social life, I met Win and we married in 1971. In looking for an alternative career, I studied at Crewe and Alsager College and subsequently accepted a job at Shirebrook School as a geography teacher starting in September 1977. In 1985 I obtained a Master of Education Degree following a part time course at Nottingham University. In 1978, after a year in a flat in Mansfield Woodhouse, Win and I moved to Edwinstowe where our daughter Ruth was born; Anne came along in 1981. Both girls attended All Saints School and were taught by Meryl Chambers and sang in the school choir. In 1988 gained a promotion to Eckington School, south of Sheffield, as Head of Department from where I retired in 2006. At both schools I joined in the musical productions taking solo parts in shows such as HMS Pinafore’, ‘Iolanthe’, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, My Fair Lady, and Annie. At other times I played guitar and keyboard in the band and then, in 1979, whilst at Shirebrook School, Phil joined a Ukrainian Dance Ensemble being formed by a maths teacher and former dancer. As a guitarist with this group I went to many folk-dance festivals in Europe with two highlights being a 3-week tour of Canada and North East USA in November 1986 and a visit to Ukraine in 1990. The group ceased performing in 2003.

How did you get informed about the choir?

The teacher of music at Shirebrook School, David Chamberlain, invited me to join The Mansfield Choral Society where I met Ken Rees with whom I continued to sing a range from oratorios to summer concerts and also performed in musical productions. I became chairman of the Society having the honour of presenting a Davy Lamp to locally born, international pianist, John Ogden. Later when Ken and I both became members of the Concordia choir he suggested that I join the Male Voice Choir of which he was a member telling me that Meryl Chambers, the current MD, was keen for me to do so. So, after retirement, I joined the MVC in 2007. Unfortunately, Ken died shortly afterwards.

 Why did you go? 

Concordia ceased performing in 2006 and, as a retiree I wished to continue singing, so I decided to find out about the MVC. I settled in very well as I already knew Meryl, the chairman Walter Pitchford and Brian Kemp both of whom I had sung with in the Choral Society. Sitting with Ken in the bass section, I found that I could pitch and sing the bass line and subsequently I have helped others through becoming the Section Leader.

 Why do you keep going?

I enjoy the challenge of the rehearsal process and of creating a personal contribution to the overall performance of the choir. I enjoy the experience of singing together with others and being in contact with an audience.

What was your best experience with the choir?

I find it difficult to choose one experience. I prefer the smaller, more intimate performances as they give me a greater sense of contributing to the enjoyment of the audience. For example, I prefer singing at St Philip Neri Church in Mansfield to singing at The Royal Albert Hall. Whilst the RAH is an awesome experience, St Philip Neri provides greater contact with the audience which I find more satisfying and of greater importance.

What do you think would get people to come to the choir? 

Any chap who enjoys singing with others and being part of a group which relishes the challenge of creating a sound which moves and entertains both themselves and an audience will find great worth and meaning by being a member of the choir. There is something powerful and attractive about being part of a group with a common aim and that gains satisfaction from entertaining others.

What are your interests outside of the choir?

Family and grandchildren plus a wide range of musical interests including singing with The Dukeries Singers and The GentleMen. I enjoy vocal music from Renaissance to Rolling Stones. Fund raising for The John Eastwood Hospice has been an interest for many years. I volunteer for the National Trust at The Workhouse, Southwell where I am known as the ‘singing pauper’ performing broadsheet ballads and 18th century songs to outside organisations. I also enjoy walking, reading, and piano playing for my own enjoyment, though not all at the same time!


Phil has not mentioned that he successfully takes up the role of Deputy Musical Director for the choir, clearly his talents and sense of giving to others underpins his most valuable contribution. We are proud of his membership and his calm, caring approach.

Phil and baby Ruth (4 ½ months) taken on 31/12/1978.

9 thoughts on “I love to sing! – Phil Robinson


    Phil has hidden depths and great patience when leading the bass section in practices. My favourite memory is of him leading the audience through ’12 Days Of Christmas’! I am proud to be his friend.

  2. Rachael Whitfield Reply

    Mr Robinson was my form tutor throughout my time at Eckington School (1997-2002). He left a lasting impact on me and his final words in my last school report are something I have lived by throughout my life. I have been wanting to let him know this for some time, that I appreciate the support throughout school & where it has led me to in life now, 20 years on. If there is any way for you to show him this, I would love to hear from him. He would know me as Rachael Taylor.

    • Phil Robinson Reply

      Hello Rachael, I was shown your message last night and was both surprised and delighted by the lovely message you have sent. I do remember you Rachael and am intrigued by the comment about my words on your last school report. I would love to know how you went on after leaving school and if you have any news of other former pupils in our tutor group. I am also curious as to how you found out about me.
      Please let me know by emailing me at the address below and we can reminisce a little.
      Thank you so much for getting in touch,
      Phil Robinson

      • Rachael Whitfield Reply

        I’ve emailed you. Might need to check spam as my email address is a weird one xx

  3. John Wakeland Reply

    As a fellow bass singer in the choir, and as a complete ‘rookie’ back in 2009 when I joined the choir, I learned a lot from Phil. He has been my mentor ever since for which I shall be forever grateful.

  4. Lynden Lowe Reply

    Singing with Phil is very easy, as the section leader he is accurate and helpful when learning new songs. A very friendly chap who makes each of us feel welcome.

  5. Victoria Millington Reply

    Hi Mr Robinson!

    What a lovely surprise to find you online, you are the most admirable and inspiring form tutor I had for the five years at Eckington School.

    You made school a joy, also an enjoyable experience! I talk about you all the time even though geography and history are not my subjects your teaching influence had a great impact!

    So I’d like to thank you for your time and your impact on my school life, which helped me thrive in life! Thank you Mr. Robinson for your time and your impact on my and other pupil’s education, and what an amazing teacher and a life long influence you have been on how to treat and respect others. Thank you!

  6. Phil Robinson Reply

    Hello Victoria! Talk about a surprise! It is lovely to hear from you but it’s taking a while for me to get over the compliments you have paid me. Really nice of you you to contact me. I do remember you well and your great friend, Vicky, but I can’ t remember her surname. You seemed to be inseparable.
    Tell me what you are up to now and how life after school has treated you. I am fine at the moment, just having had a hip replacement, and I enjoy singing with several choirs. In 2023 I was contacted by Rachel Taylor and now you. It’s great. Tell me how you found me.
    Hope you can reply, thanks a lot. Its bringing back the memories of a lovely form group.
    Phil Robinson

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