We have engaged a new Music Director in Richard Childress. Richard hails from Chicago, Illinois in US so this will be an interesting departure from the norm for us. He lives in Winchester and, in addition to being an accomplished musician and teacher, sings in the renowned Winchester Cathedral Choir. We are hoping that Richard can help refresh our repertoire and add some more modern material which perhaps will attract new, younger members.
With much regret our music director Nigel Howard has resigned with immediate effect. The search begins to find a replacement. In the meantime Dave Richards has kindly agreed to stand in and lead rehearsals in the run up to our next 2 concerts in April and May.
We now rehearse on a Tuesday evening at the United Reformed Church in London Street, Basingstoke. Additionally the choir now benefits from having an assistant accompanist Rev Michael Kenning who shall be helping out at rehearsals and concerts.
September 6th, 2016
It has been confirmed by the solicitor of the late Derrick Harpham (who was a long standing member of the choir) that we have been left a considerable amount of money by Derrick. Our posthumous thanks to Derrick and may you rest in peace in the knowledge that the choir is extremely grateful for your kind bequest.
July 26th, 2016
Tickets now available for our Autumn concert which promises to be entertaining and different with our guests ‘3 Tenors (and a Bass)’ who are a performing trombone quartet. See posters for details or contact us via this website.
June 22nd, 2016 – BMVC Golf
The BMVC Golf Society enjoyed its second outing to Weybrook Park Golf Club. The weather was typically British summer with high winds and overcast sky but this didn’t deter the hardy golfers (well not all of them anyway!). The day was superbly organised by Mick Woodage, starting off with bacon rolls and coffee. The golf followed and the day concluded with a meal. The prize winners were:
- Overall winner – Malcolm Gallani
- Longest Drive – Nigel Howard
- Nearest the pin – Mick Woodage.
A good day was enjoyed by all 9 participants – maintaining the social theme to the choir!
May 2016 – Plea for New Members
Keeping the Dream Alive
In 1964 Basingstoke’s local traffic ‘cop’ PC Idris (Taffy) Roberts realised his dream of creating the sound of his native Wales here in Basingstoke. The Basingstoke Male Voice Choir was formed, albeit in embryonic form, with 10 members at the first rehearsal. Four years later they numbered 35 choristers and were performing concerts and raising money for charity, even coming second at a Welsh eisteddfod. It seemed that Taffy’s dream was well and truly alive.
By January 1986 the choir was 75 strong and made their TV debut, performing with Harry Secombe on the TV Show ‘Highway’ . They were also touring in Europe, appearing in Holland and also singing at Basingstoke’s twin towns of Braine l’Alleud in Belgium and Alencon in France.
In the following years they continued touring, visiting Canada and the USA and also became recording stars, releasing a number of CD’s. The choir numbers peaked at 98 – just failing to make the magic 100 members.
Harry Trott, still a member of the choir after 35 years, and chairman in those heady days, said ‘It’s my one regret that, as chairman, I wasn’t able to see the choir grow to over 100 members!
Over the years they have performed in prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall and the Tabernacle Chapel in Swansea, home of the world renowned Morriston Orpheus Choir.
Sadly as the years have passed the numbers of choristers has declined. In 2014 when BMVC celebrated its 50th anniversary in St Bede’s Church, Popley they could muster only 34 choristers on the stage.
At our last concert in April 2016 the choir numbered 26 on stage – a far cry from the 1970’s and 80’s when a choir of 70-80 was the norm. Illness had deprived us of 7 voices yet the concert was reckoned by those who attended as an excellent performance – even with only 26 choristers. Deputy Mayor Cllr Mrs Jane Frankum said it was ‘marvellous’.
The problem is a common one – many male voice choirs across the country find it difficult recruiting new members. Even with television’s Gareth Malone championing singing as a healthy pursuit! (Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting and also psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels … – so says Professor Graham Welch of the University of London.)
We have a new, dynamic and enthusiastic Music Director in Nigel Howard and we’d love to harness his enthusiasm with a larger choir….but has Taffy Roberts’ dream run its course?
Malcolm Gallani (Chairman, BMVC) said …’We have proved that we can still deliver a quality performance with relatively few choristers. In addition we continue to attract new members – in the last 12 months we have added a further 5 to our ranks. Many of our choristers have been members for a long time and it is becoming increasingly difficult to produce concerts with numbers so low. We’d like more flexibility so that we can increase the number of concerts we perform.’
Help us ‘keep the dream alive‘ – come along to our Monday evening rehearsals (7:30 at the United Reformed Church in London Street). You’ll be assured of a warm welcome! Whilst previous experience and an ability to sing is a bonus it’s by no means a prerequisite. Many of our choristers cannot read music and had not sung before joining the choir. Alternatively visit our website (www.Basingstokemvc.org.uk) or our Facebook page (Basingstoke Male Voice Choir) – you’ll not be disappointed.
April 2016: Spring Concert – Press Coverage
April 2016: Joint Concert with Basingstoke Ladies Choir
An excellent concert marked the debut performance of Nigel Howard as the new MD. We delivered balanced range of numbers starting with a traditional MVC set (Gwahoddiad, Llanfair, Morte Criste and Speed your Journey) and moved through some more contemporary numbers before finishing with a choir favourite Anthem from Chess. Nigel rated it as an excellent evening and stated he was proud of the choir’s performance. A good start to 2016!
Feb 2016: Trip to Andwell Brewery
A few hardened souls from the choir braved the sub-zero temperatures to make a cultural visit to the Andwell Brewery in Nately Scures near Hook.
Jan 12th, 2016: New Music Director
Basingstoke MVC has appointed Nigel Howard as MD to take over from PeterAllen who left at the end of 2015. Nigel is an experienced MD, probably better known in the Brass Band world. He is currently MD of Beech Hill Band and also lead trombone with Lydbrook Brass Band. His father (Brian Howard) was MD of Chepstow MVC for 10 years. We look forward to long and successful partnership.
Dec 22nd, 2015: Great Christmas Concert
The 2015 Christmas concert took place on Dec 21st at the URC in Basingstoke. With 220 people in the audience it was a moving and fitting end to peter Allen’s tenure as Music Director. The leaving collection raised £992 which was donated to St Michael’s Hospice.
June 10th, 2015: Annual Summer Concert
The annual summer concert will take place in the United Reformed Church on July 25th. Tickets will be available from the end of this week from our ticket office (call 01256 327033) or visit Dawsons Music Store in Basingstoke.
May 16th, 2015: Give as You Live
We have linked up with ‘Give as You Live’ which facilitates raising money for charities through everyday shopping transactions. See the following web link for more details:
April 2015: Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival 2015
Basingstoke Male Voice Choir are participating in this years festival over the weekend of May 1st-5th. We shall be performing concerts at Porthleven Chapel, Eden Project and Pendennis Castle. Many other choirs from all corners of the globe will be participating in what appears to be a really great series of concerts!
April 13th, 2015: BMVC Concert Proceeds benefit Naomi House
Basingstoke Male Voice Choir made a presentation to Naomi House & Jack’s Place with proceeds from their last concert. The picture shows Vice Chairman, Malcolm Gallani on the right, presenting a cheque to Paul Morgan, Naomi House fundraising manager. The hospice for children and young adults near Winchester is in the middle of a huge project to develop the facility and costing some £4.5 Million. Our donation will go some way to helping this appeal. The presentation was followed by a short tour of Jack’s Place to see the wide range of facilities.