I love to sing! – John Scanlon, 1st Tenor
Our chorister this month is John Scanlon. John is a quiet, unassuming gentleman who, 52 years ago, at the age of 19, emigrated from his hometown. His story is fascinating and as you will see portrays a full life. He is a valued member of our 1st tenor section and helps the choir as Assistant Librarian with Gerald Houldsworth.
I was born in Galway, Ireland. I had a happy childhood surrounded by family and friends and my brother Maurice and his family still live in Galway. My wife, Jo and I, often visit and thoroughly enjoy the family gatherings when we meet. Here is an early photograph.
I started singing in both primary and secondary school and really enjoy my singing today. I grew up an Elvis fan and used to enjoy watching show bands in Ireland in the 1960’s. This is my era and I still enjoy listening to 60’s music as well as some classical works.
In December 1969 I decided that I needed a bit of an adventure and to strike out on my own. My uncle lived in Bedford, so I moved to a new country to live with him and to seek out a career for myself.
Within a year I moved to Surrey to take up a job as a student nurse which led to a career as a mental health nurse. It was through work that I met Joanna in 1979 and we got married in 1981. It will be our 40th wedding anniversary in 2021.
Jo and I resided in the county of Surrey until 1988 when we made the move to Mansfield.
We have a family of four sons, John, Sean, Paul and Daniel and one grandson Maxwell born in 2020 to Sean and his partner Ruth. I retired from my last job as a mental health nurse eleven years ago.
I have maintained my Irish roots through the Mansfield Irish Association which is a group whose aims are to promote Irish culture, music , contacts and to arrange social activities.
We encourage fellowship and of course, we have a fortnightly luncheon club which keeps us meeting and socialising. It was through this association that I was lucky enough, in 2014, to meet the Her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
It was Keith Turner, a friend of ours, who told me about the choir and encouraged me to come along and give it a try. I wanted to try something different, and I found that I was made very welcome. I settled in very easily and the support was excellent. I was specifically helped and mentored by a long serving member, John White, together with support from Dave Gee and our now Musical Director Ian Grice. I have now been with the choir for seven and a half years and really enjoy singing, learning new songs and the camaraderie of my fellow choristers. My favourite moment was the Royal Albert Hall in 2018; the atmosphere was exciting, and it was fantastic to experience the massed singing of programme and to see all our hard work in practices come to fruition.
Male Voice Choirs are special as they provide a sense of bonding and the activity benefits both physical and mental health and your social life.
To encourage new choristers, I think we should consult with schools, colleges, and universities to promote the choir and the benefits of singing and encourage younger members to ask their friends as well as advertising on social media.
Apart from music, I enjoy walking (Jo and I belong to a local walking group), reading, watching murder mystery programs on the TV, most sports and spending time with the family. The best thing about being in the choir is a sense of belonging and my advice to a new chorister would be to enjoy the experience and to be keen to learn and have faith in your own ability.