Mansfield men sing for their home town

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MEN who drive their wives round the bend singing in the shower will be relieved to know there is an outlet for their vocal talents.

For Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir (MDMVC), which has been going in one guise or another since 1924, is appealing for members.

The award-winning band currently boasts 55 members - but is always on the look out for fresh blood to perform at some of the most well known venues on the circuit.

Said chairman Walter Pitchford: “Two years ago we sang at the Albert Hall in London with the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs.

“We got on very well with them and have been invited to perform with them again at the Manchester MEN next year.”

The group has also sung at 10 Downing Street after the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown watched it perform at an employee’s wedding.

And at the Manchester concert, they will be directed by celebrated Welsh conductor Alwyn Humphreys and have to learn seven songs in the Celtic language - which is no mean feat.

Said Walter: “What is frightening at the moment is having to learn all those songs in Welsh.”

After the MEN Arena concert, the choir is planning a tour of North Wales with four concerts, starting on its own in Llandudno and finishing with the Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir in its home town.

The Wales concerts are all fundraising events but it’s not the first time Walter and the MDMVC have sung to help others.

It often lends a hand at fundraising events with a performance, and raised more than £700 for the Carr Bank Memorial during a special concert in 2009. They have also supported the John Eastwood Hospice more than once.

And for anyone interested in joining the choir, it only costs £3 a week to join the self-supporting club - with new members fitted for two suits for the cost of a £40 bond.

Added Walter: “There is no limit to who can join - we will take anyone. They do not have to be music readers, they learn that as they go along.

“But there is a six-month probation period.”

Walter, who has been in the choir 47 years, said the group was all about camaraderie and people enjoyed having a good laugh during the weekly practice sessions.

MDMVC’s first CD will be released in October.

The album of 14 songs is being recorded at Mansfield’s Queen Elizabeth School and is expected to go on sale at supermarkets.

It will feature a variety of songs - from traditional male voice choir tunes to Unchained Melody.

Walter said he hoped the CD would help to raise the group’s profile further.

He said: “People follow us around and get fed up with listening to the same old songs.

“We are the best male voice choir in the Midlands but people just go on about (Mansfield’s all-girl choir) Cantamus.

“We want to spread the word so other people can see us and appreciate the music.”

Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir practices at the Salvation Army, Victoria Street, Mansfield, every Tuesday between 7.30-9.30pm.

Anyone who would like more information should contact Walter on Mansfield 511163 or visit their website www.mansfieldmalevoicechoir.com.