Charles Oldfield died recently at the age of 83. He was a member of the Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra for many years until approximately 10 years ago and was part of horn sections led successively by Mark Edge and Frank Procter, both former Chairmen of the Orchestra. Like them, Charles was Chairman for several years in the 1980s. One of the high points of this period was the highly successful performance of Berlioz's Grande Messes des Morts in Chester Cathedral on 16 May 1987. The WSO with their conductor and musical director Martin Hardy combined with the Chester Orchestral Society, of which Martin was the Principal Guest Conductor. The performance also included massed choirs, four offstage brass ensembles, 12 horns and 16 timpani. This took about two years of planning with the people in Chester, the WSO and Martin. Charles guided us towards the concert with good humour and practical solutions.
He will be remembered for his laid back, but very effective management skills during difficult but memorable times for the orchestra, a legacy of his professional experience in human resources, as well as his excellent horn playing. A music graduate, he was also a competent conductor and conducted the Poynton Royal British Legion Concert Band for several years. He was predeceased by his wife Ann, a clarinettist in the band, and leaves a daughter Harriet, who was a cellist in the WSO in the 1980s. He will be sadly missed by his friends in the orchestra.