© Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir Registered Charity No 1106045 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Singing from the Heart of the Black Country
We started 2012 with a concert at the Methodist Centre in Dudley Port
Holborne Brass, a local brass ensemble and the choir from Mount Pleasant Primary School, Quarry Bank were our Spring Concert support acts together with compère, Choir Vice-President Philippa Tomson.
Once again we are pleased to report that the concert went exceptionally well, and the audience were treated to awide range of musical entertainment from the participants.
We sent a contingent to celebrate St George's Day with other choirs and entertainers in Birmingham Symphony Hall
We were delighted to host a joint concert in St Mary's Church, Kingswinford with our guest choir, the Tenby Male Choir, with whom we have sung on a couple of previous occasions. Audience reaction after the event was extremely positive, and we are confident that we will repeat the format on future occasions
Warley Male Choir were the hosts of this year’s English Association of Male Voice Choirs concert (on familiar territory in Dudley Concert Hall)
Below are a couple of photographs taken by our own official photographer Ralph Mason - copies of these, and other pictures may be obtained from www.ralphmason.co.uk
As always, we promoted and participated in the annual Dudley Festival Of Remembrance, combining with the Mayor of Dudley and Dudley Metropolitan Borough in preparation for this event, and all of the proceeds were donated to the local Royal British Legion
We celebrated the Royal Diamond Jubilee when we went to Bournemouth for a weekend concert, We performed alongside the local St Luke's Church Choir (Winton Banks) in a Diamond Jubilee Concert.
We appeared at an open gardens event at the renowned Ashwood Nurseries in Greensforge, Staffordshire, and then, as is our custom, at the Bible Class Anniversary at Dixon's Green Methodist Church, Dudley
A strong contingent from the choir sought the streets paved with gold as they went to London to participate in the Festival of Brass and Voices at the Royal Albert Hall in November. This was the third time we have participated in this tri-annual event, which is a significant fund-raiser for Cancer Research UK which raises in excess of £150,000 for the charity
We were part of a mixed choir of almost 1500 voices, singing male-only items, female-only items and some joint male/female choral pieces. The choirs were accompanied by various combinations of brass bands (The Cory Band and Grimethorpe Colliery Band), grand pianos, and, of course the magnificent Royal Albert Hall organ.
The photographs to the right were taken just before the concert commenced - if you look for a few black dinner suits, you might just spot us amongst the technicolour display
On the following morning, we were scheduled to participate in an impromptu concert at "The Scoop" - an outdoor amphitheatre near to City Hall on the South Bank of the Thames, but sadly, torrential rain meant the cancellation of this part of the proceedings, so we clambered aboard our coach, and returned, bedraggled, to the West Midlands
A few days earlier we had appeared in concert in the United Reformed Church in the South Staffordshire village of Wombourne (reputedly the largest village in the country)
Whilst the scale and the setting was significantly different to the London concert, the principle remained the same - i.e. the church was filled to capacity, the choir entertained, the participants enjoyed their singing, the audience went home fulfilled, and a significant sum of money was raised in aid of church funds.
We're not sure what the Welsh is for "entente cordiale" - but there was a lot more of it in September when Aled Jones appeared with us once more as our special guest in Dudley Concert Hall
Aled last appeared with us as our special guest in September 2010 - and we were unable to satisfy the demand for tickets. So we decided we must have a repeat performance, and we are pleased to say that not only was the event repeated but we also had the same problem - too many requests for tickets, and not enough seats to go around!!
Also appearing with us were the newly-formed Classical Vocal Duo - Cripps & Saunders, and our compere once again was Sky Television News Presenter, Philippa Tomson
The Twenty-Teens (Volume 2)
As usual, we had a busy Christmas period - starting off with our popular "Singing Round The Bar" event at the Jolly Crispin in Sedgley
Then as a prelude to the afternoon rehearsal for our Christmas Charity Concert, we had to attend a very important meeting in the Court House pub in Dudley, where we met up with The Sedgley Morris Men, who had been performing in the town's market square. The following picture was snapped whilst we wet our whistles ready for rehearsal.
At our Annual General Meeting, long-standing supporter of the choir, Annie Hodkinson, was invited to become a Vic-President of the choir
Annie has appeared on stage with us as a soloist on many occasions, and more recently, she has added the compèring of our concerts to her repertoire.We look forward to a continuing, and successful working partnership with her
Aled Jones - Special guest at our Spring Concert
Our guests at the evening concert were The Wooley Pritchard Sovereign Brass band, the Jubilate Choir from Jesson's C of E Primary School, and compère Annie Hodkinson
Early in May 2013, Chairman, Pete Hawthorne and Treasurer, Bob Biggs together with 9 of our longest-serving members (with a total service record of 400 years!) attended the Mayor's Parlour to present cheques totalling £4000 to the two charities which we have supported along with the Mayor during his year of office - The Dudley Stroke Association, and Diabetes UK - Stourbridge, Dudley and District Support Group (£2000 each)
Following our very successful Festival of Remembrance Concert in November last year, which was held in conjunction with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, we were delighted to be able to present a cheque for £3000.00 to RBL's regional representative, Bob Townsend. The ceremony took place in the Mayor's parlour.
PRESENTATION OF FUNDS TO THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION
Our first concert in Dudley Town Hall this year should have been our Spring Concert when our special guest was to be our long-standing friend, the finalist from Britain's Got Talent, Jean Martyn. Supporting Jean should have been Susie Riddell (Tracey Horrobin from BBC Radio4's The Archers) and the choir from Cotwall End Primary School. However, some extremely heavy snow landed during the previous night, and Dudley was literally brought to a stand-still, so, reluctantly, for the first time ever, we had to cancel the concert
We were honoured to be presented with the Mayor’s Award in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Mayor’s Civic Awards 2013
We had a brief raid over Offa's Dyke for a weekend trip to join with our friends at Builth Male Voice Choir in a St David's Day Concert in their local Leisure Centre
A contingent of about forty Songsters, together with a similar number of SWAGs (Songsters' Wives and Girlfriends) enjoyed a superb concert, some magnificent Welsh hospitality, glorious weather and some fantastic scenery - A good time was had by all - and here we are singing “Bring Him Home”
Tewksbury Abbey was this year’s venue for the English Association of Male Voice Choirs massed concert
We sang in a fund raising concert at Stream Road Methodist Church, Kingswinford
At St Mark’s Church, Pensnett, we were joined by St Mark’s School Choir and Drumming Group
Blue Moon Harmony Choir from Cheltenham joined us in a concert in St Mary’s Church. Kingswinfor
Susie Riddell finally appeared with us in concert as our compere in the Dudley Festival of Remembrance
Then Christmas came round once again with our traditional Charity Concert
The special guest at our Autumn Concert on was the magnificent soprano, Laura Wright. Both the choir and Laura were on top form, and the performances were greatly appreciated by the audience (judging by the amount of applause at the end!)
In addition to her magnificent singing,and just one week before the start of the new season of "Strictly Come Dancing", Laura introduced a new version of the programme - dubbed “Strictly Come Ducting” - and a sample of the winning couple’s performance appears in the stills below
With over a million album sales under her belt Laura Wright has been one of the biggest selling classical artists this decade, and she is a regular sporting mascot having already performed at many high-profile events over the years. In November 2012 the RFU announced Laura as their first official anthem singer, supporting the England Rugby team at their international and 6 Nations rugby matches, and she certainly was a true English Rose at this concert - and we look forward to singing with her again in the not too distant future
It may have escaped the attention of our 900-strong audience, but we actually did have a visit from Father Christmas during our Christmas Charity Concert - the two photos on the right are there to prove the point - just in case you missed him!!!!