Christmas 2023

In common with many other choirs, Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir have been so busy in the run up to Christmas this year as we performed at 5 community-based events, each having own character and each bringing delight to both choir and audiences.
Our first was Songs for Christmas at St. Philip Neri Church in Mansfield with the talented St. Philip Neri church choir led by Maureen Tunney. A capacity audience experienced the traditions of Christmas with a mixture of carols and Christmas songs ranging from classical to modern. We were pleased with the appreciative comments from Michelle Todd an ex-Mansfield, now Canada based opera singer who has a worldwide following and international experience. She has requested that we arrange a joint concert in the future which, of course, we shall take up with alacrity.

Maureen led the church choir in a delightful programme which included the Pachelbel Canon in D which was intermixed with the First Nowell – quite amazing. To the surprise of the audience our choir, during Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, left the stage to shake hands, issue small bags of sweets and let off party poppers. An unusual finale piece which brought a real festive feeling to the concert. Refreshments and mingling followed, and a lovely evening was concluded with best wishes to all for a lovely Christmas.

Our second event was a Christmas Memorial Service at Mansfield Crematorium. Our civic responsibilities in representing Mansfield are upheld by our performing at this annual event which was, once again, full of family members of those who passed away during 2023. Katie Page, the funeral celebrant, led us through a very touching and sensitive service during which we contributed appropriate songs together with another local choir, The Forest Singers, under the leadership of Vicki Melling. Poems were recited by the leaders of three local funeral directors, children lit candles, and both choirs gave their best to mark the sad but respectful occasion. Particularly poignant were the photographs of those that had died which were projected onto a screen during a four-song performance by local soloist Lauren Polimos.
We are proud to support this service and no doubt will repeat the performance next year.

The third event was the annual Christmas meal at The Carnarvon in Teversal in which 85 choristers, alumni choristers, family members and guests took over the venue for a super evening of good food and fun. Our Christmas social event gives us chance to talk, laugh and get merry and our choir family is sustained and friendships enhanced and in some cases rekindled. We were so pleased to see Meryl Chambers, our former MD whose husband Peter passed away in September and former choir members including Brian Kemp who sang with the choir for over 50 years.
The quiz devised by Geoff Mansfield was well received although there was no prize and the keenly anticipated malt whisky raffle was won by a delighted Amanda Donovan. Ian and Margret did a sterling job of leading us in song and as usual the efficient and friendly staff of the Carnarvon stopped working and joined in. The effects of music and community reach a long way, don’t they? Wonderful; roll on next year!

The day after our social event we met at the Sherwood Forest Crematorium for an evening carol and memorial service.
Led by local celebrant, Aaron Travis who regaled us with some touching stories of Christmas, family life and remembrance of loved ones the choir performed four songs “Deck the Hall”, “We Rise Again”, “What would I do without my music” and “Angels watching over me”. Bereaved family members joined in with some carols and the atmosphere was respectful and comforting. The refreshments provided by the crematorium staff were enjoyed by everyone in the room and guess what!– we’ll be back next year.

Christmas Brass and Voices at Forest Town Arena is a flagship concert for the choir. It has become an established tradition in Mansfield and as usual the room was packed solidly with keen audience members. The choir directed by Ian Grice and accompanied by Margaret Ball sang well and with energy boosted by the sense of occasion and the fabulous family atmosphere.
We were treated to the masterful band playing of Newstead Brass, one of Nottinghamshire’s leading brass bands, under the skillful conductorship of Matt Ludford-King, a young, up-and -coming conductor who graduated from the Birmingham Conservatoire in 2023 with a Masters in Brass Band Conducting.
The repertoire was varied and exciting and both the choir and band gave 100% to this wonderful annual celebration. The audience were invited to join in with familiar Christmas carols and the room was filled with singing and joy. We sang for peace, we sang for family, we sang for each other – a more appropriate Christmas sense of community and care could not have been found anywhere. A fitting end to our 2023 Christmas season.

3 thoughts on “Christmas 2023

  1. Phill Donovan Reply

    Phenomenal year with the Mansfield & District Male Voice Choir meeting with so many good friends and learning to much about music and sounds.
    Much hard works are put in place to make this all so special by so many
    And all we can say is “Thank you”

  2. Ian Grice MD Reply

    A very fitting busy end to a brilliant year of male voice music .Thank you to everyone involved this year .We now look forward to an intense 80th anniversary year .Roll on ’24.


    I wish sometimes we could capture these moments in time. Fortunately Geoff keeps a timely reminder in the choir archives. This Christmas has seen strengthening of the choir in its four sections with new members, plus a pair of accompanists who ‘read’ the choir so well. Setting out our stall for the New Year I am sure we are already going through our RAH music. Happy New Year everyone.

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