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Tour report May 20

Welcome to the website of Croydon Male Voice Choir

Southern England's most exciting male voice choir!

Registered charity number: 1112732

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Songs and drama on tour

MAY 21: The Croydon choir has returned from an exhilarating tour to Gloucester and Cheltenham, where the quality of its singing was matched by the drama of a mid-concert betrothal that delighted all those who were there. 

CMVC lines up at Gloucester Cathedral  (JWT)

The choir’s first concert, on Friday 17 May, was in Hartpury village hall, some five miles outside Cheltenham, with an enthusiastic audience of locals and choir followers.  The choir sang 17 pieces from its current repertoire and there were solo spots by choir tenors Nick Hewitt and John Aitkenhead.

In thanking the choir, village hall committee chair Ken Jollans said it had been a “privilege” to hear the choir.  That judgment clearly extended to the personal drama that had played out during the concert.

During the first half, choir music director Roger Pinsent – conducting his first CMVC tour – introduced the Presley/Nelson number You Were Always on My Mind by telling how it had haunted him ever since he broke up with his girlfriend after a four-year relationship in his early 20s.   With his current partner Sian watching in the audience, Roger explained that this girlfriend had always been the love of his life.

After the interval, Roger resumed his story, explaining that Sian had been the girlfriend in question. Thirty years later, after the end of their respective marriages, he had proposed to her during the interval at Hartpury – and she had accepted.  Following a stunned silence, riotous cheering broke out among singers and audience alike, and the concert proceeded with a clearly affected Roger doing his best to remember what song was next.   He did however manage to conduct a rendition of the highly appropriate Jolly Roger.

The happy couple - Roger and Sian at Gloucester cathedral 

The betrothal proved a difficult act to follow, but the choir did its best. At lunchtime on Saturday it staged a one-hour sing at Gloucester Cathedral, where the extended echo reverberated throughout the massive building. 

CMVC warms up at Gloucester (JWT)

Afterwards two audience members named Connie and Don, both singers themselves, emailed the choir to declare: “We have just heard your stunning performance in the Cathedral and wish to thank you for a most enjoyable and memorable experience.  The choir is indeed amongst the best to be heard, with such phrasing and tonal variety together with the acoustics within the Cathedral gave us all in the audience a singing spectacular.”

Sally, Julie and Linda: drumming up audiences (and CD sales) for the choir

That evening the choir performed its second concert at St Stephens church in Cheltenham.  This time it was the choir who faltered during the first half, perhaps still overcome by the poignancy of Roger’s story the previous evening.  After a half-time pep talk from Roger, it recovered to stage a resounding conclusion to the tour.  St Stephen’s vicar, the Rev Peter Quinnell, praised the “brilliant, fantastic” choir, as well as Roger, pianist Nat Brawn and choir soloists Mike Sharpling and Nick Hewitt.

The choir repaired to its hotel in Gloucester where, over dinner, choir chair Kim Ormond made a series of presentations, including the Alan Shield, awarded this year to treasurer Andrew Dadley for his redoubtable efforts in reorganising the choir’s finances and ensuring that its data protection and safety policies were in place.  There was a special mention too for the choir’s new advance promotional guard  and support team who had visited Gloucester and Cheltenham ahead of the tour to help drum up audiences.

Alan winner: Andrew Dadley receives shield from choir chair Kim (JWT)

Following the dinner, choir Apresmeister Dave “Banners” Bannister excelled himself with the vigour of his conducting, above all for Saints – which was videoed, for some so far unknown purpose, by our choir director.  As an aside, Roger confided that he had introduced You Were Always On My Mind into the repertoire precisely so that he could use it to woo Sian, as he did at Hartpury ( in other words, the choir had been set up, although in the best possible cause.)

After taking its leave of the happy couple in the hotel foyer on Sunday morning, the choir – tired but happy – departed for home.  All agreed it had been a most entertaining tour.      


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