Chuck Sellars – David Challinger remembers…
I remember Chuck SELLERS, and am grateful for the passion for music he instilled in me, although he did once call me a Philistine! I took part in all productions from Iolanthe (1961) up to The Happy Prince (1966). You mention The Magic Flute, which was favorably reviewed in the Times Educational Supplement! The orchestra of 30 of the better pupil players augmented by 8 or 9 Old Boys coped well with the score. Recently found my programme for the Bartered Bride (1966) and among the cast was Anthony Knowles, present Headteacher of the College as Ludmilla ( a peasant’s wife). Chuck was well known for his outbursts during rehearsals. “This is definitely the last one I ever do” was often heard. A splendid outburst during final rehearsals for the Happy Prince, which I used to have on tape, went like this. The chorus had just come in late. ” I’m going to throw something heavy at you nitwits. There are people coming tonight who have an ear for music and not just friends of yours and relations, so it’s got to be as good as possible”. I suppose this indicates the enormous responsibility and sheer effort involved with these productions for him. SO grateful he made that effort.
Chuck got his MBE in 1991 while at De La Salle. He did some work in N. Ireland during The Troubles when music teachers were hard to get. Rumour has it that was why he received the award. Fully deserved anyway.
Reminds me of my A Level Music Group which was full of great musicians. Nigel Blomiley, who was for abut 20 years Principal Cello in the BBC Concert Orchestra, John Thornley, a violinist who went on to teach at Cambridge University. Iain Fenlon, who retired last year as Emeritus Professor of Historical Musicology at Kings College Cambridge, my younger brother Andrew Challinger, who was in the National Youth Orchestra and has composed and had published a long list of works for recorders / consorts, Stephen Blinkhorn , a viola player and finally me, who sold his cello to buy his first motorbike!
Great group, great memories. Thanks Chuck the mentor