Wealands Bell

Wealands Bell was MD for Pinafore 85 and Sorcerer 86, although records show he was also on the committee during Grant Sherwood's chairship 1984-85.

'86 Argument

The Archive contains a letter dates 28/2/86- i.e., show week of The Sorcerer, from Ashley Wilson to Zoe Hughes, presumably on the committee at the time, noting that Wealands "read the letters from James Merryweather and Christopher Small. He automatically exploded into a tirade, denying the accusations, and has threatened to reply to them in the strongest possible terms". Ashley labels this response "arrogant" and says Wealands has "seriously let the society down". It seems that the orchestra were unhappy with their MD this year, although for what reason is unrecorded in the Archive. Ashley recommends an official letter of apology from the committee to the orchestra "in the hope that many of the members of the orchestra who have given us good service over the last five or so years might be persuaded to return". The Committee duly wrote letters to Christopher and James, distancing themselves from Wealands' remarks and noting that "he has not reapplied for the position of Musical Director for the coming year".

Precursors

The minutes from Grant Sherwood's chairship on 15/11/1984 relate an incident called the "Andy Langdon Scandal".
"Wrote a letter to Jonathan Slater complaining about Wealands' language, demanding an official apology. Feels he is not wanted in Society by certain people (not far wrong there). Wealands has written to Jonathan Slate putting in his side. What a petty little fuss! Wealands will apologise in this rehearsal."

Letter of Apology From The Committee

Dear James,

We are sorry that it was necessary for you to have to write expressing your feelings about playing in our recent production. We have noted your opinions and apologise for any embarrassment you may have been caused. We do appreciate your professional experience and your support of the Society. We hope this will not be lost following the unfortunate experience of the show this year.

Any reply you may have received from Mr. W. W. Bell was not written with the prior knowledge of the Committee. He has not reapplied for the position of Musical Director for the coming year.

We hope you will play for us again in the future.

Yours sincerely,

The Committee.

Mystery Remarks From The Minutes

The minute books from this period never confront the issue directly, but there are some wonderfully tantalising skirting-round-the-issue remarks. What Wealands actually did has been lost to history, but we do have:

  • "Chris Boot: in his seventh or eighth year has never felt so ashamed to be part of the society- never been involved in so much backbiting and scapegoating."
  • "Julie Leydon suggested that one of the problems to plague this production [Sorcerer 86] was that the directors/ musical director were not accountable to the committee, and got away with more than they should have- especially the M.D."
  • "As those who attended the AGM [1986] will recall, Zoe [Hughes] received two letters re. our late and very beloved M.D. from one James Merryweather and one Mr. Small, both bassoonists. In reply Wealands wrote what Ashley Wilson describes as "very stroppy" (or was that my description?) letters. This prompted Ashley, a fortnight ago, to write to Bridget Hicks and suggest an 'official' reply to safeguard diplomatic relations, clearly jeopardised by Mr. Bell's actions. Why, then, had this letter not been signed by the committee until tonight? Bridget stressed that the committee had not met as such until this evening. This is clearly very regrettable! Ashley pointed out that no damage has been done re. J. Merryweather, but his concern was for the non-Unversity member. My response to the P.M.T. victim, Mrs. Roue, was made available to committee members.

BUT WHAT DID HE DO??? The Archive Mistress demands to know!

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