(Please enable JavaScript to view this email address)
  • the Choir
  • Jean Lang
  • Bill Evans
  • Richard Sloan
  • Who next?
Meet Jean Lang

Meet Jean Lang

Treasurer. Joined: 2005 Voice: tenor

What brought you to Dorset?

Initially it was my husband David’s enthusiasm for Thomas Hardy. Shortly after we were married and following a trip to Wessex the previous year we bought at auction a holiday cottage in Shroton. By then we were both practising law in London, but the appeal of Dorset grew too strong, so in 1981 we took the plunge, resigned our positions and set up as country solicitors.

And some music to remind you of that time?

We were – and still are – fond of the early symphonies of William Boyce. We had an LP of them which we used to play on a Saturday morning during breakfast!

Had you always been involved in music?

I grew up in south London where I had piano lessons and was a member of our High School music society and choir; we visited the Proms regularly and happened to be in the Arena on the emotional, never to be forgotten occasion when Rostropovich played the Dvoràk ‘Cello Concerto on the evening the Russians  invaded Czechoslovakia.

Later I sang with the Royal Choral Society. The  RCS were between conductors so that there were lots of guest conductors including Sir Adrian Boult and Paul Steinitz. It was also the RCS’s centenary so I got to meet the Queen at St James’s Palace.

With our law practice’s expansion we eventually came to Dorchester and found ourselves living next to the Sayles. I enjoyed going out into the garden to listen to Christine practising! Through that connection and on hearing that DCS were about to sing one of my favourites – Haydn’s Creation – I auditioned. By that time my singing range had deepened from soprano to tenor and it’s with that voice-group that I’m happily installed in the choir now.

Let’s pause for some music that’s inspired you.

An easy choice, remembering Rostropovich. The Dvoràk Cello Concerto.

Were you always destined for a career in Law?

No. I read History at Aberystwyth and then took up a graduate traineeship offer at the Bank of England, where I researched the economies and banking practices of Canada and the Caribbean. Working at the Bank was great fun I made a number of life-long friends but I was not totally convinced that my numeracy skills would support a career in Threadneedle Street. By that time I’d met David, who was already a lawyer, and so I undertook three years’ legal training with a firm in Lincoln’s Inn.

Our Blandford solicitors’ practice grew organically – I specialised in divorce law – and through mergers into Blanchard Bailey, which eventually brought us to Dorchester. I retired from my position as consultant there three years ago, having become a Tribunal Judge in Wales and the South West in cases concerned with state benefits; I preside in Tribunals from Cornwall to Portsmouth and throughout the Principality.

Time for some more music.

The Missa Papae Marcello by Palestrina. I love plain song and early church music

Somehow in addition to a very full legal career you do a great deal in the community.

When we first came to Dorset we had no children and I expected that being a country solicitor would leave me with some time to spare so, responding to a general call for committee participation by women under forty I put in an application. It wasn’t until after our daughter Eleanor was born and the practice had become pretty busy that I had a response, an invitation in 1986 to sit on the Gas Consumer Council, which I did for ten years. That led to an appointment as an independent member of the newly re-organised Dorset Police Authority, for which – among other matters – I oversaw the PFI project to build the new Police Headquarters in Weymouth. My other involvements have been as a director of the Primary Care Trust, Chairman of Governors first St Osmunds (where I am about to start back again) and then at Thomas Hardye School and a Non- executive Director at Poole Hospital There is no virtue I am just curious about how organisations work and I quite enjoy committees!

Then six years ago I received a letter from HM the Queen’s office asking whether I would accept the appointment as a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset. This is a role that gives me much pleasure as I tend to be asked to represent the Lord Lieutenant at functions and get to see some of the amazing work both professional and charitable that goes on in Dorset.

A pause for breath; and some more music.

For many years I was a member of the Dorset Summer Music Society and one of the most enjoyable SMSD concerts was Alfred Brendel playing Beethoven; but as an encore he played a Schubert Impromptu, and that’s what I’d choose.

On top of all this you are the Choral Society’s treasurer. Is it this or other aspects of the choir that you most enjoy?

I get great satisfaction from my role on the committee and very much welcomed the understanding that members have shown about our financial position and needs for the future. Apart from that I do enjoy our rehersals. It’s the way Christine, with her professional skills, is teaching us to project our voices, both tone and diction, to an audience.

Our most recent visit to Lübbecke was very satisfying too. The Kantorei are great company and I especially enjoyed singing the Bach Chorales with them in English and German.

More music?

I joined DCS to sing the Creation, so that’s what it shall be.

And finally, of all the choral works you have sung, what is your favourite?

I’ll never tire of the Messiah and I get a real thrill from ‘And we like sheep’. What mischievous energy that has. The sheep really enjoy going astray!

A last piece of music?

David and I try to get to Glyndebourne as often as we can and from their recent repertoire I’d pick the Michael Grandage’s production of The Marriage of Figaro and specifically the Quartet from Act 2.