Mansfield & District
Male Voice Choir (MVC)
In 1944, Rainworth Male Voice Choir (1926) and Mansfield Orpheus (1931) combined to form Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir under the musical direction of Mr Arthur Henshaw. Four years later, in July 1948, Arthur Henshaw was succeeded by Mr Harry Smith as MD until his retirement in 1969. Harry Smith’s methods and commitment developed the choir into a very successful competition choir winning first prizes on no less than 58 occasions at various Regional and National competitions culminating the Choir being granted the right to bear the Mansfield Borough (as it was then) Coat of Arms on its uniform in recognition of its ambassadorial role in promoting the town.
The Choir are no longer a competition choir, and the emphasis is very much now on entertainment. Under the direction of Meryl Chambers MD between 2002 and 2017 the choir broadened its appeal with a wider repertoire and performing at over 15 events per year. Meryl was the second longest serving Musical Director until her decision to hand over the baton to Ian in December 2017. Ian explains: “We know we must continue to progress so that the Choir will be here in another 75 years. We also know we have to bring variety to our concerts and offer something for everyone; young, old and all those in between.” Consequently, the choir performs a wide variety of music including popular songs, musical theatre numbers as well as male voice choir standards. The choir have established a reputation for being the only male voice choir in the East Midlands which is able to sing a wide variety of songs in the Welsh language and are often asked to perform at functions having a Welsh theme.
The Choir is very proud of its connection to the town of Mansfield and every year events are organized on the calendar for the Choir to sing to local audiences in its hometown. The Choir, by invitation for the fourth time, will sing at the Welsh Association of Male Choirs at the Royal Albert Hall, London (April 2024) and regularly sings “away from home” with other choirs.
The Choir welcomes those from all sections of our community as members and singers. We offer an opportunity to all the guys in Mansfield and District an opportunity to express themselves in music and fulfill their untapped potential and hidden talents.
The Male Voice Choir
A male voice choir is a choir consisting of men who sing with either a tenor or bass voice, and whose voices are arranged into higher and lower tenors (1st and 2nd tenor), and higher and lower basses (baritone and bass). An arrangement of a piece of music for male voice choir will be written in 4 parts and will require each of the 4 voice ranges singing their own “part”. A person new to choral singing will need to train themselves so that they only sing their own part. This can be difficult at first when a singer can hear other voices around him but a new chorister will learn the skill with practice.
The essence of all choirs is the blending of voices together so that the harmony of the notes provides a richness and depth to the music. It is the quality of the male voices mixing in this way which is so attractive to the audience.
Many people will associate men’s choral singing with Wales, which has a long tradition of choral music which has roots in the chapel, the coalmine and the rugby club but male voice choir singing is also very popular in many European countries ( Germany, for example, which has its own historic ways of singing based on traditional values). The Commonwealth and the United States are home to many male voice choirs.
To enable the Choir to function correctly the four different voices are divided into sections. In our choir we have four “section leaders” who each have a responsibility to ensure that his section operates effectively and that new choristers are given proper support.
List of Choristers
1st Tenors: Jonathan Lee
2nd Tenors: Mario Curtis
Baritones: Al Roberts
Bass: Phil Robinson
Barry Robinson MBE