Much Wenlock were pleased to welcome Barrow Male Voice Choir from Cumbria to the town on Saturday 30th September in a joint concert at the William Brookes School. Barrow choir were invited to pay us a visit after our choir visited the lake district in 2015 and met up with Barrow for a joint concert in Grange-Over-Sands.
Barrow is the last remaining traditional male voice choir in the area surrounding Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, an industrial town of of over sixty thousand inhabitants with a proud history of shipbuilding and the town is still home to Vickers, a major company involved in building submarines. The choir was founded in 1931 from members of Barrow Working Men’s Club & Institute and currently performs around fifteen concerts a year. In recent years the choir was represented at the Festival of Sound and Brass, held in London’s Royal Albert Hall and in 2010 hosted the Wagga City Rugby Male Choir from Australia whose singers included the former Barrow and Great Britain Rugby League star Phil Jackson.
The choirs Musical Director Deborah Milledge took over the role following the death of the choir’s previous conductor, her husband Anthony, in February this year and has since led the choir to victory in South Cumbria Musical Festival in April. She also conducts another prize-winning choir – the Ghyll Singers women’s choir, based in Ulverston – and plays first trombone in Dalton Town Band, Dalton-in-Furness.
The choir travelled to Weston Park on 24th June to take part in ‘Fest300’, a celebration of 300 years of Freemasonry and took to the stage to sing some of their best loved songs including ‘The Rose’ and ‘Workin Man’ in front of a large scale audience some of whom could be seen singing along…a number of the festival goers approached the choir following the concert and were very complimentary and the visit has already resulted in a booking for another concert in Shropshire later this year.
The 2-day festival featured a number of acts and events including a full scale re-enactment of the Battle of the Alamo! As the event drew to a close hot air balloons rose majestically and were lit in time to music…… followed by a spectacular firework display to the sounds of the 1812 overture.
The choir at Dudgeley Farm May 2017
On 27th May the choir travelled to Dudgeley Farm, nestled in the countryside close to the Long Mynd outside the village of All Stretton in an area of outstanding natural beauty, to perform at the wedding reception of Bethan Langford and her partner Piran Legg. For those of you who were lucky to have been present at last years Wenlock Festival, Bethan, who is a Mezzo Soprano, appeared in a joint concert with the choir and treated the audience to some wonderful singing. Piran who has a fine Baritone voice also appeared on stage to perform a duet. Bethan began her musical training at Much Wenlock’s Holy Trinity Church and her father is a singer in Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir.
The choir performed a number of well known pieces including Gwahoddiad sung in Welsh, when they were joined on stage by one of the wedding guests for a solo performance of the second verse with the choir acting as backing. There was a great audience reaction to the songs and many compliments were paid by the guests, some of whom were drawn from the professional music scene.
The choir travelled to Oswestry on Saturday 13th May at the invitation of Debbie and Colin and gathered in the large parish church of St Oswalds to sing at their wedding as the guests arrived. The wedding party were treated to a mixture of love songs and the registers were signed to the sounds of ‘When I’m 64’! The ceremony went off without a hitch and the sun shone as the choir and congregation posed on the lawns outside for photographs before adjourning to the Wynnstay Hotel where the reception was being held. Many of the guests expressed how much they had enjoyed the choir’s songs including the bride who messaged the choir to say ” We are just happy, happy and still in bliss from our wedding, we had a super day and wanted to send this email to say what a major part you all had in making our day so special, and to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”
This weekend the choir travel to Dudgeley Farm near All Stretton to perform at the evening wedding reception of Bethan Langford and Piran Legg. If you have a special occasion coming up why not book the choir? Contact our secretary Harry King on 07852991910 or mail email@example.com, alternatively message us on this site.
The choir held a ‘Fun Race Night’ at the Priory Hall in Much Wenlock on Friday 24th March. The event, staged to help raise much needed funds, was the third one of its type that the choir have put on, two previous race nights were run in 2007 and 2011 and like its predecessors this one exceeded all expectations, raising more than £1000.
The choir wishes to express its heartfelt thanks for the sponsorship of some 50 businesses both local and distant who contributed to making the night such a success and also to the organisers, choristers, patrons and others who took part.
Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir are pleased to announce the release of their latest recording ‘Spirit of the Edge’. The choir’s fourth recording, the album is a mixture of popular and traditional music and includes ‘Hallelujah’ a tribute to the late Leonard Cohen and one of his most loved songs. Musical Director Paul Kelly commented “This album is the culmination of a lot of hard work by the choir in the last few years, which has seen it grow in numbers and develop an individual musical voice. Credit must go to our excellent accompanist, David Fisher, and the brilliant recording and engineering skills of Richard Yeoman-Clark”
Paul Kelly is former Director of Music at William Brookes School and was appointed to lead Much Wenlock Choir in 2010, Paul is also Musical Director of Shifnal Chorale, Church Stretton Choral Society, Shropshire Chamber Orchestra and ‘Random Brass’, a flexible brass ensemble. Accompanist on the new album is David Fisher, a graduate of Trinity College of Music in London and a highly accomplished pianist.
The choirs previous recordings include ‘Singing for Pleasure’, recorded in 1975, ‘Were You There’ recorded in 1980 and ‘On Wenlock Edge’ recorded in 1996, under the leadership of the choir’s former Musical Director Mrs Ceridwen Constantine.
‘Spirit of the Edge’ costs £8.00 and is available to order on compact disc; if you would like a copy mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01952770033 for information. The choir would like to thank Golding Products Ltd from Hortonwood for their production work on the album.
The choir travel to the village of Shipton on Tuesday 11th October at 7.30pm for an open rehearsal at the village hall. If you enjoy singing why not pop along and give it a try – just turn up on the night or give Dick Langford or Harry King a call for more information (01952728758 / 07852991910):
- No need to be able to read music
- Wide repertoire of songs – popular,classical,traditional from musicals etc
- Meet a sociable friendly group of fellow singers
Oyster concert – one of the choirs loyal supporters joining in the fun!
A rain soaked day did not dampen the choirs enthusiasm at the Summer Music Spectacular in Broseley held one Friday afternoon in late August. The concert put on by Oyster Communications who are based in the town featured a number of acts and raised a total of £500 which was donated to the ‘wooden spoon’ childrens charity. Oyster would like to thank all the guests and all those who purchased raffle tickets, donated or supported the event in any way.
The choir are due to travel to South Wales over the weekend of Saturday – Sunday 9th October for a joint concert with Abertillery Ladies Choir. Abertillery are Wales’ oldest established ladies choir. The choir was founded in 1911 and competed in many Eisteddfodau, including Llangollen on five occasions. From the 1970’s the choir became more involved in community and charitable events and like Much Wenlock has toured a number of places at home and abroad, in recent years performing at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff and the National Botanical Gardens of Wales as well as touring Ireland and Germany.
Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir have returned from a successful trip to Enfield, Middlesex, where they met up with Three Valleys Male Voice Choir at St Andrews Church on Saturday 16th July for a joint concert which raised £700 for the St Andrews restoration fund.
The trip included visits to St Albans, Waltham Abbey and Oxford and choir patrons Rita Cresswell, Audrey and Tom Colebatch said “thanks to the choir for the wonderful concert and for arranging a marvellous weekend away”.
In October the choir travel to South Wales for a joint concert with Abertillery Ladies Choir and are also planning a trip to Ireland next year.
Choir Chairman Tom Thompson and wife Margaret at Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, Three Valleys Tour.
On Thursday 16th June the choir will be appearing at the Wenlock Festival, sharing the stage with Mezzo Soprano Bethan Langford. This promises to be a very special event.
Bethan, who comes from Much Wenlock, is currently studying on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she has been awarded the Susan Longfield prize and the Paul Hamburger lieder prize. She is a Samling Artist, a Concordia Artist, a Les Azuriales Young Artist, and as the winner of the Concordia Founders’ Prize gave her debut Wigmore Hall recital in April 2015.
Recent operatic performances include cover Proserpina Orfeo (Royal Opera at the Roundhouse), Noble Orphan Der Rosenkavalier (Glyndebourne Festival Opera and BBC Proms), Prince Orlofsky Die Fledermaus (Clonter Opera), Nancy Albert Herring (Mid Wales Opera Young Artists) and Hansel Hansel und Gretel (Guernsey Symphony Orchestra). In spring this year Bethan performed the role of Lucretia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Guildhall Opera to great critical acclaim. She is excited to be returning to Glyndebourne for the Summer as an Apprentice in Wagner’s die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Recent and future concert work includes recitals for the Oxford Lieder Festival (broadcast on BBC Radio 3) and Aldeburgh Festival, Deruflé Requiem with Cambridge Philharmonic and Galas at St George’s Hanover Square and Clonter Opera. Bethan’s studies are supported by an EMI Music Sound Foundation bursary, a Tutton Award from Help Musicians UK and the Worshipful Company of Skinners.
Bethan began her musical training at the Holy Trinity Church Choir in Much Wenlock, and is very excited to be returning to her home town to perform with the Male Voice Choir, and to be sharing the stage with her Dad for the first time! Tickets for the event which starts at 7.30pm cost £10.00 and can be bought from Penny Farthing Gifts & Crafts in The Square, Much Wenlock, online at www.wegottickets.com/event/346698 or pay at the door.