Last year was a significant year for the Choir. Mansfield & District MVC second tenor, Geoff Mansfield shares some thoughts:
2019 marked the 75th Anniversary of our illustrious choir, the late election in December to end the endless Brexit debate and the change in committee leadership as Gordon Blanc retired after his three-year incumbency to be followed by John Wakeland.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the year was the award of the Freedom of the District of Mansfield
Undoubtedly the highlight of the year was being formally recognised by the then Mayor of Mansfield, Kate Allsop and being awarded the Freedom of the District. This was heartily agreed by numerous members of the council at a presentation on 5th March. In support we also received a letter from Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of our ambassadorial role in Mansfield. These are once in a lifetime achievements and were most appropriate to mark the work and dedication of all our members present and past. We must remember that we are only the custodians of the choir’s existence and it is up to us to pass on our success and pedigree to future generations of choir members.
Our celebrations were next marked by a fantastic social evening at the Hostess restaurant where we enjoyed the antics of Del Boy, Rodney, Granddad and more in an Only Fools and Horses themed evening.
The pinnacle concert was the massed choir event at Southwell Minster
Our pinnacle concert this year was a massed choir event at Southwell Minster with our friends from Bestwood Male Voice Choir and St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir. Organised by Geoff Mansfield and Harold Huxtable through the auspices of Southwell Rotary Club the concert was sold out with nearly 500 in the audience and we managed to build donations to two local charities of over £4,000.
Our weekend away this year was a very pleasant and successful weekend to sing with The Oxford Welsh MVC and the Basingstoke Hospital MVC. Each concert had its own atmosphere and flavour and we were warmly welcomed by both choirs and enjoyed some memorable singing under the leadership of Ian Grice our Musical Director. The four-day event included a trip on the river Thames from Henley on Thames and a visit to Windsor which was enjoyed by all.
In September we were invited to participate in the centenary celebrations for Eastwood Collieries MVC. A well-rehearsed, well attended and polished evening concert in The Albert Hall, Nottingham proved very popular and we were delighted to be guided by the skills of Liz Moulder (MD) and her team at Eastwood.
Many will have their own particular memories from these concerts and from the other concerts this last year. 2020 will see us launching once again into an extensive repertoire for the Welsh Association of Male Choirs concert at The Royal Albert Hall in May 2021. Although challenging, the rewards in skills development, exposure to new repertoire and a wonderful weekend away are self-evident. This is a most professionally run event and brings us to a peak of performance capability. Welsh choral singing has always been very much a part of the Male Voice Choir repertoire, but we are now perhaps the only choir in the East Midlands which carries on the tradition.
April 2019 saw some changes in committee members change with Chairman Gordon Blanc retiring and Geoff Mansfield standing down as Concert Manager. These roles have been taken up by John Wakeland and Lynden Lowe respectively. John’s ambition, together with that of Ian our MD, is to significantly improve the skills and capability of the choir and we have been heavily supported and tested with voice testing, audio and computerised support materials, mentoring and buddy systems. This inevitably has meant some changes in membership; some chaps decided to retire, and new men have joined. We look forward to seeing and hearing the results through 2020. Margaret Ball, the choir accompanist, has, as ever, been a steadfast rock and foundation of the choir. Her dedication, reliability and skilful guidance are so much appreciated.
The surprise passing away of second tenor Barry Clarke in late December was felt by us all and he will be sorely missed. After 40 years with the choir Tom Dillon retired aged 95; unsurpassed in tenacity and such a gentleman.
We should offer a word of appreciation and gratitude to our committee member who voluntarily served during the year (David Marriott, John Wakeland, Ian Grice, Margaret Ball, Lynden Lowe, Eileen Lawrence, Eric Bexon, Julie Bexon, Paul Bennett, Barry Robinson, Gordon Blanc, Geoff Mansfield, Nick Shelley, Dan Hayes)
We must express special words of appreciation and thanks to our Committee members and Supporters’ Group
We must express a special thankyou for our tireless Supporters Group led by Marilyn Mansfield. Since late 2012 these ladies have fulfilled their objectives of extending the family feeling to the wives of all our choristers and fund raising to support the choir’s ambitions and agenda. To date there have been over 20 members and they have raised an unbelievable £17,000.
Some our Supporters’ Group receiving a gift of appreciation at our choir “fuddle“ on 17th December 2019.
Left to right
Shirley White, Mary Turner, Jill Lowe, Angela Walton, Sylvia Bramley, Chairman John Wakeland,
Marilyn Mansfield, Ian Bartle (2nd tenor and best pot washer at our breakfast events), Maureen Mycock,
Natalie Bexon, Julie Bexon, Eileen Lawrence and Sheila Pitfield.
Not pictured are
Beryl Warren, Maddie Pearson, Hilda Eddershaw, Sue Bartle, Kate Bartle, Jo Scanlon, Eileen Burton, Win Robinson and Jane Bennett.