Renowned singer Marjorie dies, 85

Date published: 29 September 2008

AN Oldham singer who went on to become a renowned classical vocalist has died aged 85.

Marjorie Thomas began her singing career as a member of the choir at St Paul’s Church, Ashton Road, Oldham. She went on to sing for royalty and performed a concert at the Vatican for Pope Paul VI.

Mrs Thomas was born in Sunderland, but moved to Oldham with her family as a young child.

She attended Hulme Grammar School for Girls and received piano lessons from Sir William Walton’s brother Noel, later winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music.

As her career took off, Mrs Thomas became the first person to make an album in stereo for the record label EMI. But it was her concert performances that won her the most enthusiastic reviews.

In London she became a star at Covent Garden and in Manchester she performed with the Halle orchestra, but she always came back to Oldham.

Mrs Thomas’s performances at Union Street Methodist Church, Oldham, were always well received. Retiring in 1973, she held a ‘swansong’ concert at Oldham Town Hall.

She had taught music at the former Waterloo Council School before her rise to fame, and she returned to teaching after retirement, becoming head of vocal studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Mrs Thomas said a highlight of her career was singing at Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales, at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.

Her husband Edwin died in 1982. She is survived by a daughter.