Forty-one folks clambered onto the coach on the morning of Friday 28th April 2023 for a weekend of music and fun.
Our trip to the south coast, based in Bournemouth, arose from previous connections with folks in the area. Our former Chairman, Walter Pitchford, has a son living in the Bournemouth area and through his contacts our Concert Manager, Lynden Lowe, forged a discussion with Dorset Police Male Voice Choir. The second concert in our trip was entitled “The Reprise” following our joint concert with Basingstoke Hospital Male Voice Choir in 2019. Another former Chairman, Gordon Blanc, used to live in the area and sang under the baton of Dai Ogborn the conductor of the Basingstoke Hospital choir. It is truly amazing how the fraternity of male choirs yields such connections and we were treated royally by both choirs and were pleased to sing to sell out audiences for both occasions.
We stayed at The Collingwood Hotel in Bournemouth (to be recommended) where the hospitality was wonderful. A leisurely day on Saturday allowed folks to bask in the lovely weather, enjoy the facilities in the area and for some take an open top bus ride around the Bournemouth and Poole district.
After our evening meal a short journey inland to Wimborne and the Allendale Centre where we were met by Dr. Jane Oakland, Musical Director and the gentlemen of the choir. The programme was varied and interesting with contrasting repertoire including “The Anvil Chorus”, “Va Pensioro” and “Luck Be A Lady” from the Dorset choir whilst the highlights from Mansfield included “Kwmbayah”, “Guardian Angel” and “World in Union”. The tried and trusted joint pieces “Cwm Rhonda” “An American Trilogy” “Llanfair and “Gwahoddiad” were a pleasure to hear and perform ably shared by both conductors. A lovely afterglow held in the centre was heightened by further joint singing and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the true “Afterglow” feeling than can only be developed after a successful concert with like-minded choristers.
On Sunday we made our way north calling in at Sherbourne St John, north of Basingstoke to a charming village hall and St. Andrews church where we reunited with our friends the Basingstoke Hospital Male Voice Choir. The “mother” of the choir Jenny Thurgut had very kindly arranged a pre-concert lunch and a post-concert afternoon tea. As I said before we were royally treated by both choirs and Jenny had worked so hard with her friend Jean (Happy Birthday Jean) to make us feel so welcome. The concert was a delight. Mansfield had the honour of performing all of the first half delivering amongst others “Let All Men Sing”, “This Is the Moment”, “The Wonder of You” and “We Rise Again”. Basing stoke were keen to hear some more modern repertoire and these were the songs chosen by Ian Grice our MD to demonstrate variety and differing dynamics.
Basingstoke Hospital Male Voice Choir led by Dai Ogborn provided such rich contrast with “What Would I Do Without My Music”, “Sanctus“ by Gounod, and “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle. Joint songs were very powerful and keenly performed by both choirs including “Llanfair, and “My Lord What a Morning”. The aforementioned tea concluded a wonderful afternoon and we once again headed north arriving back in Mansfield in the late evening.
Comments about the weekend have all been positive and thanks have been expressed to Ian Grice, Margaret Ball and Lynden Lowe for their musical and organisation skills without which the weekend just would not have occurred. We are so lucky to be a choir with such enthusiasm and vigour and it really shows in our performances and in the pleasure we derive from just doing what we do best!
Photographs are courtesy of Eileen Lawrence, Choir Secretary.
Post concert report from Basingstoke Hospital MVC
We are amazed and delighted to announce that the total amount raised by both choirs at the concert on Sunday was £1.202.40. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the audience and the Mansfield and District Male Voice Choir. The funds raised will be presented to the Ark Cancer Charity