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Forty years...and counting!

JULY 20: A near-capacity audience in Croydon Minster on Saturday enjoyed a scintillating performance from the Croydon Male Voice Choir as it celebrated its fortieth anniversary.

Our fortieth anniversary concert souvenir programme

Choir musical director Richard Hoyle said he was proud that the choir had risen so superbly to the occasion.  The choir opened with Edvard Grieg’s resounding Brothers, Sing On – the first time it had performed the piece – and more than achieved the full fortissimo required for the opening words.

“I couldn’t believe the power the choir was giving,” Richard said.  “It was quite thrilling.”

Councillor Wayne Lawlor, Croydon’s deputy mayor, was among the civic dignitaries who attended the concert.   During the interval he told Richard, choir chair Kimball Ormond and deputy musical director Darren Wilkins that he felt “overwhelmed” by the singing. 

“He was very fulsome with his praise,” Kim said.  “And I received many plaudits from other members of the audience.”

Ex-CMVC pianist Elspeth Wyllie and flautist Claire Overbury were the guest soloists and delivered a highly accomplished programme including a fiery encore piece, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee. Elspeth said afterwards that she had forgotten just how good the choir were at projecting the emotion of a song and that it was noticeable that every member was so attentive to Richard’s directions, intent on following every nuance he wanted to convey.

There was quite a buzz in the Minster during the interval as members past and present met up.   They included founder member David Binge, other ex-singing members and Richard’s predecessor Ozzie Arnold, who had travelled from south Wales.

This was Frances Ringer’s first full concert as the choir’s new pianist and she played with great sensitivity, producing powerful support where needed – and showing considerable aplomb when the piano’s pedal mechanism broke towards the end.

When addressing the audience between numbers, Richard reflected upon various aspects of the choir over the years. He concluded:  “We go into the future now, seeing our 50th anniversary on the horizon in ten years’ time. In the meantime we have bookings stretching into 2017 and we can only hope that we will ourselves have fun and reach new heights - always having in mind our principal aim: to bring pleasure and delight to our audiences wherever we perform.”

Audience members were delighted by the splendid printed souvenir programme, produced by John Ward Turner.  Many of them rose to give the choir a standing ovation at the end of the concert.

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