Gordon Blanc served the Mansfield & District Male Voice Choir for a decade as a baritone and more recently in the bass section. He has recently stepped down after serving a three year stint as Chairman and has also announced his retirement as a chorister. Gordon shares some memories of his singing with us as guest blogger:
Home and family have always been the real heart of singing in my experience.
My first recollection of music was sitting with my Dad listening to him sing with great enjoyment and two of our favourites were Show Me the Way to Go Home and I’ll Tell My Ma When I Go Home. Our world was shaken by the early death of my father when I was nine years old.
I was educated in the Irish Christian Brotherhood system and it was at school that I joined the school flageolet (Irish tin whistle) band which later developed into a fife and drum band.
Our teacher, Brother Tracey, formed a stage class which sang operetta and I particularly recall two productions; The Raja of Rajanpur and The Magic Ruby. As a boys’ only school, naturally, all the parts were played by boys.
You cannot beat the sheer pleasure of sharing music with others
In 1961 I joined the RAF and relocated to England and having subsequently married and brought up two children, it was whilst living in Basingstoke that a policeman talked me into joining Basingstoke Male Voice Choir. I remember how good it was to be part of a singing family again, rekindling the pride I felt as a child when singing with my dad and family.
You cannot beat the sheer pleasure of sharing music with others. Families contain a great variety of skills and expertise, especially when making music and yet despite the range of abilities the sound of a united family in song is precious and to be celebrated. So, finding the same feeling of family in Basingstoke filled a void in my life.
During my twenty years plus membership of BMVC I had the privilege of serving 7 years as Choir Treasurer and 3 as Choir Chairman. We toured America three times and it was especially during these tours that our choir family really blossomed as we supported each other and pulled each other along.
I am certain that it is the range of abilities and expertise that makes choir singing so rich and enjoyable, not only for the singers but also for their audiences. I am a great believer that a choir consisting of choristers with a wide variety backgrounds, experience and accents is what lifts good choirs above the achievements of professional singers.
Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir was my home choir for 10 years and are noted for their encouragement and embodiment of an authentic ‘feel of being in a family’ which is significantly enhanced by their very dedicated ‘Supporters’ Group’. I pray that the M&DMVC family thrives and prospers for many, many years to come.