Aims

Harrogate Male Voice Choir has two principal aims –

  • To offer a meaningful and rewarding experience to male singers in Harrogate and the North Yorkshire region by rehearsing regularly and giving performances as and when requested by charitable organisations or members of the general public.
  • To raise funds for local and national charities and local community projects by performing wherever and whenever invited.

Rehearsals are held on a weekly basis (Tuesday evenings) at Woodlands Methodist Church Hall on the Wetherby Road in Harrogate, since 23rd April 1986. The members rehearse and perform around 10 – 12 concerts per year between late August and the end of the following May. The choir is organised and administered by a main committee of seven members as well as a small number of sub-committees, created mostly for specific occasions or activities.

The President of the choir is Marilynne Davies BA, MEd, LRAM, PGCA, FRSA
and the Vice President is Michael Clipston – a long standing and very supportive member.

Musical Team

The current professional musical team which leads the choir is made up of the Musical Director Patrick J. Lee and Pianists/Accompanists David Mawson and David Ward Campbell.

Accompanist

David Ward-Campbell

Musical Director

Patrick J. Lee
GRSM, LRAM, MTC

Accompanist

David Mawson
PhD, LRSM, LTCL, LMusA

Early beginnings

A male voice choir existed in Harrogate at the beginning of World War 1, probably started in 1913. The advent of the war meant that many members volunteered to join the army and the choir was wound up.
It was re-established in 1918 and became a strong choir of more than 80 members but, after only a few years, the choir had to finish again, having lost many members to other choirs.
A Harrogate Guild of Singers was formed in 1946 and this lasted for approximately ten years; the Musical Director was Eric Godley.

The Harrogate Male Voice Choir (in its present incarnation) began on Monday 6th October 1969 and the first public performance was given at Tag House, Bilton, Harrogate.

Past Musical Directors have included
Dudley Waddington (1969 onwards), George Rodham (? – 1977), Fred Tingle (1977-1986),
Horace Kay, Tom Bury & Stephen Hamer, all between 1986 and 1991, Kay Bromhead (1991-1998).
Bernard White (1998-2013), Anthea Shepherdson (2013 -2014), Patrick J. Lee (2014 to present day).

Pianists have included
Nora Cooper (1969-1980), Harold Swift (? – 1983), Alice Wardman, Olive Thompson, Ian Christelow, Kay Bromhead, Pam Young, Jean Willmot, Joe Brockett (all between the years 1991 and 2001),
Avril Leeming (2001-2016), David Mawson (2016 to present day), David Ward Campbell (2018 to present day).

Types of Music

The choir’s repertoire is made up of works from every musical genre, many modern items being included amongst the more traditional male voice choir numbers. More recently the choir has included in its repertoire a number of bespoke arrangements, created by our Musical Director.

Community and Joint Concerts

Whilst most public performances are held in local community halls or churches, the choir has sung in cathedrals, castles, country houses and, on several occasions, in the Royal Albert Hall alongside other male voice and ladies’ choirs from all round the UK, raising funds for Cancer Research. The choir also enjoys hosting joint events with other choirs, recent visitors having been The Sally Barnes Singers, The Yorkshire Saxaphone Ensemble and Dursley MVC.  One of the most ambitious projects recently undertaken was the “Sing Out” project, reaching out to and involving children from local primary schools in joint performances.  Central to this is a new, specially commissioned piece of vocal music called Here and Now, written for children’s choir and male voice choir with piano accompaniment, by Patrick Lee and libretto by Zimbabwean poet Penny Sylvester.  This short vocal piece was the centre piece of the choir’s annual concert 2017, which was shared with singers from Bilton Grange and Richard Taylor primary schools in Harrogate.

Special Occasions

The choir is also available for, and has performed at a variety of, private functions, including weddings, landmark birthdays, anniversaries and corporate events.

H.M.V.C. Musical Director – Job description

1) To prepare for and conduct the choir at rehearsals and concerts.

2) Teach the choir new items in the repertoire and refresh knowledge of existing items to high performance standards.

3) Seek continuous improvement in performance standard.

4) Lead the Music Committee in choosing each year’s repertoire and in determining new items to be purchased for the library.

5) Advise the Choir librarian and library manager on purchasing and maintaining stock and abiding by Copyright requirements.

6) Advise the Concert Secretary on the suitability of and requirements at venues for concerts.

7) Offer advice to the Publicity and Promotions Committee when requested.

8) Promote and manage the annual ‘Sing Out’ liaison with Primary Schools

9) Determine the programme for each concert

10) Consult with Accompanists on rehearsal, performance, repertoire and programme matters

This description is not comprehensive or exhaustive but indicates the general character of the job and the level of responsibility. There may be other reasonable needs that arise from time to time

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