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.
On a busy Saturday morning at the end of May the choir formed up at Pride Hill Shopping centre in Shrewsbury and began singing as shoppers were walking by….many stopped to listen as the choir performed a number of songs including the Louis Armstrong classic ‘Wonderful World’. Shrewsbury Police MVC similarly gathered at the Charles Darwin Centre to create a memorable shopping experience for tourists and townspeople alike.
The whole musical event was staged on behalf of the Air Ambulance who celebrate 25 years of service to the public, and their collectors were on hand to gratefully receive any donations. By the end of the morning more than £300 had been raised and one of the volunteer organisers Gina Constable said “thank you all so much for your time, effort and wonderful voices, you were a joy to listen to….thank you all on behalf of myself and my fellow volunteers and all of us at Midlands Air Ambulance”
Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir are proud to have represented the historic town of Much Wenlock in towns and cities at home and abroad over many decades. The choir are pleased to announce that a small selection of gifts received from the civic authorities of some of those places have been put on display in the Guildhall, with the kind permission of the Mayor . It seems a fitting place for the display and indeed it could be said some of the gifts are a recognition of the town and its townspeople.
One of the items is a salt boat, a gift from Torrevieja in Spain – All made from natural parts – esparto grass canes, cotton thread and the salt crystals of the ‘Salinas’ salt pools that exist in that area of Spain. This is an unusual item and well worth viewing.
The Guildhall itself is a gem not be missed. It is open to the public between April and October on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Various exhibitions take place in the Court Room throughout the year and admission is free of charge.
The choir performed at Cosy Hall in Newport in a St Georges day special with Newport Male Voice Choir on Friday 22nd April, joining with the Newport Choir to sing several pieces including ‘When the Saints’ and the Louis Armstrong classic ‘Wonderful World’.
Cosy Hall is Newport’s Community Building and was fully renovated, restored and enlarged in 1998 at a cost of £355,000, with full facilities for the disabled. The concert was well attended and the audience gave both choirs a warm reception. The choirs are closely linked as Newport Choirs MD Vivian Redfern is also Wenlock Choirs accompanist.
The choir visited the Redwoods Centre in Shrewsbury on Tuesday 1st March for a St Davids day concert performed in the main reception area in front of visitors, staff and patients. The choir was well received judging by the comments from the appreciative audience: “A lovely afternoon of music. Thank you very much”,“A lovely recital. Great singing”, “Wonderful choir. Brought back memories.” “Captivating brilliance. Wonderful!” This was the second visit made by the choir to the centre and may not be the last.
Much Wenlock Male Voice Choir raised almost £5500 for a variety of charities in 2015 after performing at 14 venues during the year. The money helped to support four Shropshire churches, and charities including The Shoebox Appeal, Prostate Cancer, Helping Hand and the Air Ambulance. Choir Chairman Gary Jones said “our choir motto is ‘singing for pleasure’, which is enhanced greatly when our efforts help to raise so much money for worthwhile causes”
The choir held an open rehearsal at the William Brookes School, Much Wenlock on Tuesday 12th January and four new choristers turned up to give it a try; the choir will be holding more open days in the coming year so why not come along and try us out:
- No previous experience necessary
- join a sociable, friendly group of fellow singers
- No need to be able to read music
- A wide repertoire of song – popular, classical, traditional from Musicals and more
- Many new members have joined recently
If you want more information; phone Dick Langford on 01952 728758 (recruitment), Harry King 07852 991910 (secretary) or Gary Jones 01952 727599 (chairman) or pop along to one of our rehearsals held every Tuesday evening at the school 7.30pm (term time, note rehearsal on 26th Jan is at the Methodist Chapel, King St)
Its official…Much Wenlock Choir have launched on Facebook….to see the facebook site simply visit www.facebook.com/mwmvchoir. Why not join facebook and share your thoughts about the choir with other members of the group? There are images of the choirs activities at Wenlock Xmas Fayre and at Bayton Church for you to view.
The choir travelled to the beautiful village of Bayton, near Cleobury Mortimer on Sunday 6th December to sing at St Bartholomews Church, a wonderful mediaeval building perched on top of a hill, with outstanding views of the Shropshire countryside. Organised and compered by Brian Link the concert, in aid of church restoration funds, was a complete sell out. The acoustics of the building added to what was a very special concert, with a mixture of traditional and popular carols and other music to celebrate the festive season.
The choir appeared at the Much Wenlock Xmas Fayre on December 5th, performing with a number of groups under the corn exchange to entertain the large number of Xmas shoppers who had travelled to the town to take part in what has become a very special Festive event.
Under the Corn Exchange, Xmas Fayre
Christmas carol concerts were performed at Lady Forrester and Wheatlands care homes and the choir rounded off a busy month with a Social Evening at The Priory on Saturday 12th December. Entertainment was provided by the choir, Eight in a Bar group and others and festive fayre from the Talbot Inn, in an end of year thank you to all the patrons and supporters who helped to make 2015 such a success.
Much Wenlock joined with two other county choirs for a grand ‘Shropshire Union’ concert at the Leisure Centre in Bridgnorth on Saturday 10th October.
Shifnal, Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock Male Voice Choirs united for what was a memorable evening with the massed choirs singing some classic pieces together on stage.
Joint pieces included African Prayer, Rhythm of Life and Morte Christe while individual choir pieces included Jesus Christ Superstar, Medley from Oliver and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.
Following the concert the choirs adjourned to the Centre’s clubroom for refreshments kindly laid on by the Bridgnorth Choir. Much Wenlock would like to thank the Musical Directors and all the organisers of the event for their hard work and enthusiasm over the months of planning needed to stage the event.