The choir travelled to Cardiff on Saturday taking up an invitation from the Cardiff Arms Male Voice choir to attend and appear in their 50th anniversary concert. The concert took place virtually in the shadow of the Arms Park at St. John the Baptist church. The highly respected Dowlais Male Voice choir had also been invited so we were in good company with about 100 choristers in all combining for three joint sessions as well as each choir doing its own solo spot.
The Three choirs
In terms of solo spots we would like to think they saved the best till last as we were the third choir to sing in the second half of the concert. The other choirs had performed well and got a good reception but there was a clear distinction in the positive audience reaction to our entertaining performance. One audience member amongst many who said how much they enjoyed the concert told me that after our performance of My Grandfather’s Clock he would never see the song in the same light again.
The choir lining up for their session.
The choir performed Y Tangnefeddwyr, Bring Him Home,Ora Me Jay Ka Jo and My Grandfather’s clock. As usual our MC David Blackmore entertained the audience with his introduction to our session and one of our biggest challenges these days is living up to the introduction!!
No weekend away is just about our formal concert, however, and so the concert was followed by an excellent buffet at the Angel Hotel where we enjoyed the customary “afterglow” with all choirs putting on some ad-hoc acts and also singing in unison. To say the least this was a varied evening surpassing many others.
The first surprise was our discovery that there was a high school choir from Mountain View, near San Francisco, California in the hotel and we invited them to “sing us a song”. We were taken aback by their performance which featured three songs the first of which was Myfanwy. These talented young people received a well deserved and prolonged standing ovation for this. We in turn provided them with a rousing rendition of the American trilogy which clearly delighted them. Before the young choir left they sang the Star Spangled Banner and we responded with Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhaddau.
Given the solemnity of those two songs it was little surprise that what followed might not be quite as dignified and certainly dignity was not at the forefront of the minds of five members of the Tenby Male choir who shortly afterwards performed what might best be called an “adult” version of Ghost Riders in the Sky. The Quintet complete with cowboy hats (one looking more like Crocodile Dundee than Roy Rogers) were guitarist John “Tenderloin” Butland, Kevin “I’ll ride them my way” Morgan, Charlie “Chaps” McFee, Phil “Down Under” Mumford and “Flash” Gordon Hughes
For those with a fondness for the sanctity of music it was sad to see the enthusiasm with which the performance was greeted by young, old, male and female members of the audience.
Not to be beaten one of the Cardiff choir then responded with an hilarious take off of this called Ghost Chickens in the Sky and he too got universal applause.
This was the first “away” trip for some of our new members and one of them did say to me on the bus coming home that in many years as a member of a Male Voice choir this was the most enjoyable trip he had been on.
There was a final sting in the tail for us when we arrived at Kilgetty. I am familiar with the phrase “What goes on tour stays on tour” but Sue Williams the wife of our MD “Wilbur” Williams had clearly misunderstood the concept as whilst we had all reached Kilgetty her suitcase was still “on tour” in their Cardiff bedroom. I was out of earshot of the happy couple but I can only assume that in this hour of need our ever mild-mannered and taciturn MD would have said something along the lines of “Never mind dear. These things happen!!”
But there was a good Samaritan at hand in the form of the lady coach driver from Evans Coaches of Milford who said that she had to take a coach up to Cardiff the following Tuesday and would pick up the case. Now that is what I call exceeding expectations.
Today the choir are having their Spring "meet and greet" day out where we hope to take a bit of singing out of the normal confines of a church to various stops in the county. The trip starts with a bus ride from the Arcade, Saundersfoot and will visit Narberth initially for breakfast and then various other towns.
So this is what Male Voice choirs are about. We are benefiting from new members some young and some more senior but we always have room for more people who want to come and get a taste of the enjoyment of singing in its many forms.
New people are always welcome to join our organisation even if they don’t feel able to join in the singing part of it. There is a lot to do in a choir and there is a place for people who want to join in the social side but also help out with the various administrative jobs that go with running a choir. Whether you sing or just support you will always be welcome on choir rehearsal, concert and away day trips or longer tours. For the next few weeks we will be rehearsing at the county club so feel free to come along to watch or talk to choir members.
Our next concert is on Tuesday 10th May at St. Johns Church in aid of Cancer Care (Macmillan nurses Cancer Research Tenby and Tenovus). The concert begins at 8pm.
If you can’t make it to a concert or rehearsal but would like to know more about us then look at our website www.tenbymalechoir.org or Facebook account (just do an internet search for Tenby Male Choir Facebook).
Alternatively our secretary David Stewart-Walvin is always glad to receive a phone call from interested people on 01834 844926.