Deal or No Deal
Most Choirs will generally have a quiet period during the winter months after Christmas, re-charging the batteries somewhat after the exertions of the festivities. One notable milestone at Mansfield & District MVC at the start of 2017 was long-standing tenor Howard Lawrence achieving 20 years’ loyal service with our Choir. Well done Howard!
On the broader stage the Prime Minister sounded a key note in January which seemed to reverberate throughout 2017; “No deal is better than a bad deal”. This particular song has, of course, been sung by every common or garden horse-trader for millennia so nothing new there.
One piece of sunlight shining through the winter gloom was a wonderful birthday surprise for Meryl on the occasion of her 80th birthday in February. Meryl was to spring a surprise herself at the very end of the year when she announced her decision to stand down as Musical Director. Meryl has handed the reins over to Ian, who is now Acting Musical Director as we go in to 2018.
In 2017 we lost ( as we had in 2016) numerous well-known musicians including Fats Domino, Tom Petty, Chuck Berry and David Cassidy. We also lost Glenn Campbell, a wonderful singer and a virtuoso guitarist who had Alzheimer’s. Towards the end of his life Glenn was barely able to feed himself but could still play his guitar with amazing alacrity. There has been a tremendous amount of research around how the musical capacity of the brain is unaffected by dementia.
The choir performed a special Christmas concert at the Forest Care Home in Mansfield in December 2017. Many of the residents at Forest Care Home are persons with dementia. We also did a charity concert in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK at Skegby Methodist Church back in March of 2017.
Special mention to baritone, Ronald Rack who made his debut for us at the Skegby event.
You can either crawl out the winter or you can “Leap into Spring”. With a tremendous burst of energy starting in March 2017 the Choir embarked on a series of concerts over the spring and early summer including a joint concert with Radcliffe Ladies Choir at the Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Mansfield.
May seemed to be more manic than merry as the choir performed 3 concerts in the month. We supported the Notts. County Show “Music Marquee” at Newark, hosted our colleagues from the Netherlands Amersfoorts Mannenkoor at QEA, Mansfield ( this concert was a charity event in support of a local charity, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid) and also hosted the “Music in May” event at URC, Sutton-in Ashfield (NAC Midlands East Region annual concert).
Also in May 2017 twenty-two people were killed by a man who blew himself up at the Manchester Arena. In June, on the eve of a general election, eight people were killed by three men driving into pedestrians on London Bridge, then attacking people with knives, before being shot dead. Grenfell Tower, a 24-story block of flats in west London, was gutted by fire, killing 71.
Our Choir strives, as much as we are able, to pour some healing ointment into a tragic and wounded world.
Summer of Love
Mansfield and District MVC embarked on a mini-tour of East Yorkshire at the start of June 2017 sharing the stage with two great choirs, Beverley MVC and Hull MVC.
“We were welcomed with open arms” said Mansfield & District MVC Chairman, Gordon Blanc. This summed up the sentiment of us all as we enjoyed such fantastic Yorkshire hospitality.
The summer season was completed by a spell of “Midsummer Music” at St Augustine’s Church, Mansfield on 24 June 2017. St Augustine’s in now the home of the Choir after the move from the Citadel in August.
Acting in his capacity as a Director of the John Eastwood Foundation, David Marriott ( President of our Choir) presented a cheque for £3,000 to Choir Treasurer Eric Bexon at the end of term fuddle also in August. These funds will help support the Choir going forward and in particular for the event at the Royal Albert Hall next year. We are grateful for this generosity and to David, who is a superb ambassador for the Choir.
Autumn and Christmas
Autumn concerts were the “Thank You For the Music 3” event at the Mansfield Palace Theatre and to the joint event at Derby Cathedral where we shared the platform with hosts The Dalesman and their other guests, St Edmundsbury MVC.
Special autumn mention for choristers Alistair Marr and Gerald Houldsworth who each notched up 30 years’ service in November 2017. Terrific guys!
Our Christmas events were extremely varied – a joint concert with Bestwood MVC ( Heralding Christmas”) , a traditional carol service at St John’s Church, Mansfield and the annual Christmas concert at Forest Town Arena with Shirebrook Brass Band.
In between these events the Choir was able, we hope, to bring some Christmas joy and light to the staff and residents of the Forest Care Home, Southwell Road West, Mansfield.
The Forest Town concert was the swansong event for Meryl who has made such a remarkable contribution to the Choir over the years and is forever in the hearts of all those she has touched, choristers and audience alike. I know that Meryl was greatly moved by the love and appreciation expressed by those that were there on the night.
Special best wishes are extended, as we look forward to 2018, to Ian Grice who takes up his responsibilities as Musical Director. All the very best from us all, Ian!
All the best to our colleagues, friends and supporters for a happy and peaceful New Year!