The Foundation

As a composer, an arranger, a conductor and as an enthusiast who inspired young people to love singing together, Gwyn Arch leaves a legacy which is clear for all to see. 


We want this legacy to continue.  And to ensure that it does we are setting up the Gwyn Arch Foundation.  Its purpose is simple - it is to support the development and performance of choral music by and for young people within the Thames Valley.


We will invite schools, community groups, choirs and music centres to tell us what they need to help them progress.  It might be a workshop or masterclass with an experienced choir leader, it might be the cost of hiring a venue, it might be help to buy a set of music scores, it might be funds to commission a new work, it might be help with transport to get to a festival or competition, it might be help to pay for a percussionist to turn an ordinary performance into something special.  Just let us know what you need.


The Foundation is on the way to becoming a registered charity, with a bank account, so that donations can be gift aided.  There are six trustees. 


How can you help?  Please sign up to our mailing list or send us an email and we will get back to you with the latest progress on the Foundation, including how you can help, by giving money to the Foundation and by spreading the word to young people’s groups whom we would love to help. We will keep you in touch with what we are doing and how your funds are being used.  Do it now, do it tonight or do it tomorrow, before you forget, and help us keep Gwyn’s legacy alive and well.

Thank you

Gwyn Arch


Gwyn Arch was born in 1931. He won a scholarship to Ipswich School and then went to Selwyn College, Cambridge to read English. After graduating in 1954 he went to the Education Department of Oxford University. He then went on to teach English at Rickmansworth Grammar School for nine years, becoming head of a six-strong department, but also taught Music to A level students and was the pianist for the Girls’ Choir conducted by the Head of Music. He obtained a FTCL in Composition at Trinity College of Music.


In 1964 he cheekily (according to him!) applied for lectureships in teacher training specialising in music (having failed to get accepted as an English lecturer) and was successful straight away, becoming Head of Music at the newly opened Berkshire (later Bulmershe) College of Education in Reading. He moved with his young family to Sonning Common where he spent the rest of his days. Gwyn quickly formed his beloved award-winning Bulmershe Girls’ Choir. He retired from Bulmershe College in 1985, but not one to do nothing, he formed (at Simon Salisbury’s suggestion) the Central Berkshire Girls’ Choir in 1986. That was soon followed by a choir formed from their parents who did not want to waste their Saturday mornings while their daughters sang and played. That choir still exists today and is now called Parenthesis.


In his professional life at Bulmershe Gwyn supervised students in many schools mainly in Berkshire and Hampshire, but his involvement in adult community music also extended to Oxfordshire where he conducted the 100-strong South Chiltern Choral Society for nearly fifty years. He became their conductor in 1965 and remained as their Musical Director for nearly fifty years, only retiring due to ill health in 2014. In addition he formed the Reading Male Voice Choir in 1971 and remained their Musical Director until 2014.


Throughout his working life Gwyn wrote and arranged music for all age groups and many of his works are published and regularly performed internationally. In addition he adjudicated choirs at national and international level and was an examiner for the Associated Board.


Sadly Gwyn died in June 2021.