CITY OF LINCOLN
MALE VOICE CHOIR

Past Special Events






For further information on any event please contact us at info@cityoflincolnmvc.org.uk

Archived Events

Click on the event below for the whole story

2014
Saturday, 27 AugustLabyrinth Festival, Lincoln Cathedral
Friday, 17 October54 North Concert, Terry O'Toole Theatre
Monday, 1 DecemberPrandial Society Dinner
2015
Wednesday, 25 FebruaryMusic in the Community, North Hykeham Blind Club
Wednesday, 22 AprilVIP Concert, Tennison Wharf Care Home, Burton Waters
Sunday, 26 AprilOpen Day Concert, Tennison Wharf Care Home, Burton Waters
Friday, 29 MayWedding, Manthorpe Church, Near Grantham
Tuesday, 25 AugustAnnual General Meeting
Friday, 2 OctoberOfficial Opening Ceremony, Bomber Command Memorial
2016
Wednesday, 27 JanuaryFuneral Support, Lincoln Crematorium
Saturday, 20 FebruaryCommemoration Service for Alan Sardeson
Sunday, 17 AprilBill Leaper's 80th Birthday
Tuesday, 12 JulyAnnual Dinner
Tuesday, 13 SeptemberAnnual General Meeting
Friday, 30 SeptemberSonophilia Festival Rantan
2017
Tuesday, 4 JulyAnnual Dinner
Thursday, 6 July100th Birthday Party Concert
Tuesday, 5 SeptemberAnnual General Meeting
2018
Thursday, 12 AprilInternational Bomber Command Centre Official Opening
Tuesday, 8 MayMayor of Lincoln Farewell Concert
Tuesday, 10 JulyAnnual Dinner
Tuesday, 11 SeptemberAnnual General Meeting
Sunday, 11 NovemberRemembrance Day Service at the IBCC
Saturday, 15 DecemberOesophageal Patients Association Concert
2019
Tuesday, 9 JulyAnnual Dinner
Saturday, 7 SeptemberWhite Swan Charity Concert
Tuesday, 10 SeptemberAnnual General Meeting





Labyrinth Festival, Lincoln Cathedral - 27 August 2014

Although the July-August period is usually when the choir takes a Summer break, this year 15 members of the choir volunteered to form the core of a 'Labyrinth Choir' that performed at the candlelit evening ceremony to close the 'Labyrinth Festival' that had been running in Lincoln Cathedral since the beginning of the month. The full choir included soprano and alto voices as well. Additional voices came from members of various choirs and choral groups in the county including the Hungate Singers, Sleaford Chorale, the Co-op Choir, the Diocesan Women's Choir, the Rock Choir, the Nettleham Community Choir and the Heckington Singers. Our own Crauford was not only the conductor, but also composed most of the piano realisations for the music, all of which had been composed especially for the event.

Rehearsals were held in the Voluntary Centre in Tentercroft Street. Because these took place when we would normally have a break from choir commitments not everyone could attend every practice, which made learning all the new music somewhat problematic. To help overcome this problem, Crauford had uploaded all the sheet music together with mp3 rehearsal files to enable us to practise at home in between rehearsals. We also had two practices in the Cathedral itself to get used to the strange echos and reverberations that such a grand structure causes.

On the evening, the audience of well over 150 were grouped in three 'sides' of the circular labyrinth with the choir occupying the fourth quadrant. Heather at the piano was located to the choir's right.

The Choir in Full Voice

The labyrinth itself, drawn in chalk on the floor, had candles in glass jars all around it circumference. Crauford was located very close to these and was in constant danger of kicking one over. To his credit he avoided this, though in his enthisiastic conducting he did manage at one stage to cause his mobile phone to fly out of his pocket. But we kept on singing like the good troupers we were.

The programme for the evening included poems and readings in between the music items. And among the choral music were four solo items, one of which Steve sang accompanied not only by Heather, but also by Crauford playing a mandolin. The other soloists were Bec Fawcett-Howitt, Lynn Shaw and Rachel Knowles, who sang an 18-minute song cycle to close the programme.

Steve's Solo

The whole concert was a great success from our viewpoint, thanks to three key factors: first, we all really did work hard at home to learn the new pieces; second, we all gelled very quickly as an ad hoc choir and supported each other musically; third, we owe Crauford (and Heather) a huge debt of gratitude for the excellence of their musicianship, piano realisations, skilled accompaniment, enthusiastic, encouraging and supportive rehearsals in which we could safely make errors and learn from them, and then on the night Heather's flawless accompaniment and Crauford's sympathetic and exhuberant conducting.

The Final Bow

At the end of the evening, the festival organiser announced that the music composers and poem writers had been present in the audience. All were called forward together with the festival director, music director, Heather and Crauford to take a bow with the choir. The Labyrinth Festival will not return to Lincoln, but this unique experience has been very fulfilling and has helped to raise the profile of our choir. Well done to everyone who took part.



54 North Concert
Terry O'Toole Theatre, North Hykeham - 17 October 2014

The choir were delighted to have the opportunity to sing in this very modern theatre based in the heart of North Hykeham and integrated within a sports, social and fitness complex.

The Venue

This was also the choir's first taste of real theatre work when we sang as a supporting item on the concert programme of 54 North, a group comprising Crauford and Heather, who had organised this concert. The whole programme was a fusion of musical styles including blues, pop, rock, folk and classical. Between them Crauford and Heather had 10 different musical instruments on stage from mandolin and violin to trumpet and keyboard. We had about a 30-minute slot in the first half of the programme and then later in the second half we rejoined Crauford and Heather to sing two traditional Scottish songs.

The Concert Flyer

The choir's first new experience was to arrive comfortably ahead of the concert to do sound checks. We were then in the hands of the stage manager, had our own dressing room back stage and, while we did not have to go so far as putting on make up, we were given the famous '5-minute to show time' warning beloved of all Hollywood movies about the theatre. What none of us had anticipated was singing our pieces without any eye contact with the audience. The stage lighting was such that we, of course, were well lit for the audience, but the glare of the lights and their position meant we could see none of them. What joy - and relief - when we heard the enthusiastic applause after our first song. From then on it was plain sailing. We even became used to the idea of projecting our singing through microphones.

In the first half our programme was:

I Am Not Born
The Real Undoing
Speed Your Journey
What a Wonderful World
Kwmbaya
Non Nobis Domine
Highland Cathedral

In the second half we rejoined Crauford and Heather for a stirring rendition of two Scottish folk songs: The Ship, the Diamond, which we sang as a backing to Heather's solo, and the Braes of Killikrankie, for which Crauford taught all the audience to sing the chorus. Our task was to add depth and volume to the chorus, but what the audience did not know was that we had cheated and learned the chorus well before the concert.

All in all this has been a wonderful experience for choir members, something very different from our usual style and venue, something very new to a lot of us and something for which we owe Crauford a huge debt of gratitude for making it all possible.

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Prandial Society Dinner
Bishop's Palace Hotel - 1 December 2014

A very new venture for the choir came in the form of singing a short 'cabaret' programme to entertain the Prandial Society after their dinner. Located in the beautiful and historic Bishop's Palace Hotel in the grounds of the Cathedral precinct, the setting was ideal for the mix of traditional and seasonal melodies that the choir offered.

The Venue

The programme was:

Speed Your Journey
What a Wonderful World
Carol - Angels From the Realm of Glory
Carol - Once in Royal David City
Carol - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
You Raise Me Up
Nessun Dorma
Cwm Rhondda
Non Nobis Domine
Highland Cathedral
Kwmbaya

There were about 40 diners who had obviously enjoyed a very full and well-imbibed meal. They really enjoyed the post-prandial entertainment that we brought them. Our rendering of Nessun Dorma brought one lady guest to tears. Everyone joined in with great enthusiasm as we sang the carols.

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25 February 2015

Music in the Community
North Hykeham Blind Society
Methodist Church, North Hykeham

North Hykeham Methodist Church

The choir returned to the delightful Methodist Church in North Hykeham singing this time in the church hall rather than in the sanctuary. We were here at the request of the North Hykeham Blind Club.

This short concert was by way of a trial for the new project of bringing music into the community. We hope to offer short concerts at care homes, disability clubs and care organisations in the local area. Our aim is to bring the joy of music to those members of the community who cannot get to concerts and for whom music is a wonderful therapy and a means of enjoying social interaction that their condition would otherwise deny them.

The programme on this occasion was:

Speed Your Journey
Vilia
Bless this House (Brian C's solo)
Oliver
You Raise Me Up
Nessun Dorma
Sinding's Rustle of Spring (Joyce's solo)
Rhythm of Life
Going Home
Cwm Rhondda
Non Nobis Domine
Highland Cathedral

The concert lasted a full 45 minutes and, judging by the reaction of the sight-impaired club members, plus their many helpers, all of the music brought great joy and uplifting happiness to the audience. The applause was really enthusiastic after each item and we heard many sighs of delight when Crauford announced what we would be singing next. Both Brian and Joyce's solos were exactly right for this audience, bringing as they did memories of yesteryear and perhaps thoughts of times when the audience was less challenged with health issues. After the concert, most of the choir were able to stay on for tea and biscuits and go round the room chatting to club members

The feedback we have received has been wholeheartedly positive. To quote from a thank you letter received from the club, "Many of our members rely on the club for their social interaction. By bringing music into our community in this way you gave them such joy and pleasure as we all shared the afternoon together. Being blind or partially sighted does have its limitations but music is the one thing they can all enjoy. Thank you also to your choir for going round the room and chatting to some of our members. It was an afternoon they will never forget. Can we book you again for next year?"

We therefore feel that this trial concert for our project of bringing music into the community has been an unqualified success. We will now pursue with renewed enthusiasm all that needs to be done to get the project started.

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22 April 2015

VIP Concert
Tennison Wharf Care Home
Burton Waters

Tennison Wharf Care Home

The choir had been asked to sing at the new care home called Tennyson Wharf in Burton Waters, just outside Lincoln on the Saxilby Road. The new home is run by Barchester Healthcare Ltd. This was the official opening of the facility in the presence of the VIP management of Barchester Healthcare Ltd plus other local dignitaries. Barchester had offered to provide the choir with a light buffet lunch so the chaps arrived in plenty of time.

After a Good Lunch

The cunning plan was for the choir to sing two sea-related songs as the VIPs arrived by boat into the marina. We were then to have a short break for speeches before completing the rest of the programme. Like all good plans it failed right from the start because the VIPs were a little late. This did give our guest accompanist, Anne Osborne, (Joyce being under the weather) the opportunity to play some incidental music to keep the troops entertained.

Waiting for the Off

When we eventually started the plan continued to be a figment of imagination because the VIPs, like all VIPs, had not been told what the plan was. Having got off the boat, they wandered round to the front of the building, entered the foyer, saw the champers and nibblies and never ventured anywhere near us.

Off At Last

Not only that, but the speeches did not start after the first two songs, so we set off singing the rest of the programme only to be stopped after item 6 because the speeches had now started. So we enjoyed an unplanned interval rest, which lasted beyond the speeches because no-one had mentioned the tree-planting ceremony on the opposite side of the building.

Unplanned Break

Eventually we were given the green light and continued. Our full programme was:

Sailing
Jolly Roger
Nessun Dorma
What a Wonderful World
Vilia
Going Home
You Raise Me Up
What Would I Do Without My Music
Highland Cathedral
Can't Help Falling In Love With You
Non Nobis Domine
Cwm Rhondda

Under Way Again

This was our first opportunity to give 'What Would I Do Without My Music' its first public airing. While this went down well with the choir, the audience by now had thinned somewhat all, that is, except a local resident who appeared keen to join our ranks.

Our New Recruit

The choir will be back here again in four days time to sing at the grand public opening of the facility. We plan to sing the same programme albeit no doubt without any breaks for VIPs.

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26 April 2015

Open Day Concert
Tennison Wharf Care Home
Burton Waters

Tennison Wharf Care Home

The choir returned to the Tennyson Wharf care home in Burton Waters to sing a short concert on the occasion of the home's open day to the public. Once again the choir enjoyed light nibbles and drinks ahead of the concert.

Relaxing Before the Off

Crauford was not able to be with us. With Joyce also still under the weather, we found ourselves as a male voice choir in the very capable hands of Heather as conductor and Anne as accompanist.

Ladies in Charge

The audience was rather sparse consisting as it did of about ten residents, their carers and a passing cat. There was not even a duck to be seen on this occasion. Before the off, Heather led the choir in a series of warm-up calisthenics, much to everyone's amusement.

Warming Up

Once started, the choir quickly got into its stride. Because we had both guest conductor and accompanist, we repeated the programme of the previous Wednesday, which was:

Sailing
Jolly Roger
Nessun Dorma
What a Wonderful World
Vilia
Going Home
You Raise Me Up
What Would I Do Without My Music
Highland Cathedral
Can't Help Falling In Love With You
Non Nobis Domine
Cwm Rhondda

Under Way

The challenge Anne had was to stop the gusty and fretful wind from turning her pages before she was ready. She made judicious use of pegs and bulldog clips. Even so, Mick had to rush to the rescue more than once. A member of the audience was then dragooned to act as pager holder downer as well as page turner for the last half of the concert.

Fighting the Wind

Heather had even more trouble with the wind being in a more exposed position. She used huge pegs both to hold the music and weigh it down.

Anti Wind Devices

Even that was not enough, so she quickly became a dab hand at conducting one-handed while either holding the music down, or retreaving it from the ground where it had blown..

One-Handed Conductor

The challenge for the choir was not so much the wind as the sun. It was out more often than in and some among us, not least the more follically challenged, soon found it rather uncomfortable. They began shuffling feet on the spot, this possibly being some sort of pagan rain dance.

Too Much Sun

All in all, the concerts today and last Wednesday were very enjoyable. Tennyson Wharf looked after us very well, the concerts were about half the usual length and they were a welcome break from the routine of concerts we perform indoors in churches.

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Wedding
Manthorpe Church, Near Grantham - 29 May 2015

The choir had been invited to sing at a wedding of Hannah and Tom in the delightful church in Manthorpe, a couple of miles north of Grantham. We were to sing for a short while before the arrival of the bride and then later in the programnme during the signing of the register.

The Venue

Fortunately, Brian had asked that we all arrive in good time because we found we were sitting right where the action was. This meant we spent valuable minutes sorting out who would sit where and then how to get from there to where we would be singing. It was a bit like herding cats at times, but we eventually found places for everyone to sit. Even Heather had to shift up from her piano stool to make room.

Are We Sitting Comfortably?

We had prepared 5 items to sing while waiting for the bride. In the end we needed only three of them. At this stage we sang Speed Your Journey, Nessun Dorma and Can't Help Falling In Love With You. Later, as the register was being signed we sang You raise Me Up and What a Wonderful World.

Waiting for the Bride

The wedding was a very happy occasion with even the rain holding off for the photographs afterwards. One was even taken with the happy couple and the choir for which we are most grateful to Andy and Laura of Deans Street Photography.


Smiles All Round

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25 August 2015
Annual General Meeting

Twenty four members attended the AGM with apologies from just five. Both the Chairman and Music Director, in their annual reports, said how well the choir had performed over the past 12 months with a particular emphasis on developing new material and trying new and very different settings.

In the past year we had welcomed four new members - Ron Travis, Alex Murray, Terry Nolan and Allan Ndiweni. Some of this success had been down to having a website since their initial contact had been via the website email address. Sadly, David Hutchinson announced in AOB that he would shortly be leaving the choir as he was moving away from the area to be closer to family.

Tony Daborn presented a healthy set of accounts that indicated that we had comfortably paid our way despite having a very full and busy year of concerts and other performances.

Part of the agenda was to vote formally on appointing Heather as our accompanist. She now joins the Committee as does Bill Leaper, who has offered to be our Deputy Concert Secretary. Our full committee is:

Chairman - Brian Cropley
Treasurer - Tony Daborn
Secretary - Steve Griffiths
Music Director - Crauford Thomson
Accompanist - Heather Benson
Welfare - Keith Hebblewhite
Publicity - Brian Oldfield
Librarian - Mick Bowbanks
Website - Steve Griffiths
Civic Party Liaison - Keith Hebblewhite
Concert Secretary - Brian Cropley
Deputy Concert Secretary - Bill Leaper

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2 October 2015
Official Opening Ceremony
Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial

The choir was very honoured to have been invited to take part in the official opening of the Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial. We formed part of a massed male voice choir that included members from the Lincoln Orpheous Choir and the Louth Male Voice Choir.

The location of the Memorial at the top of Canwick Hill commands majestic views of the city and Cathedral and was chosen because this was the view that homecoming bombers crews had as they returned to Lincolnshire airfields.

The Spire

The spire's height equates to the wingspan of a Lancaster Bomber. It is made of two arcs of metal joined by two perforated sheets of metal. The view looking up its interior is stunning.

Inside the Spire

Even more poignant is the view from inside the spire which is exactly positioned to afford a breathtaking view across the city.

View from the Spire

Forming broken curvatures all around the spire are metal walls in which are cut the names of over 27,000 aircrew from Bomber Command squadrons based in Lincolnshire who were lost in WW2.

The Fallen

The choirs were located in an open-sided marquee off to the right of the main guest area, but connected by a very comprehensive sound system. On arrival, we found that we would be sitting in one long row of about 20 seats, which, with the open-sided marquee, made for very different acoustics. The Orpheous were in the front row. We were in the second row with the Louth folks in the rear two rows.

Little Maids All in a Row

The military band from RAF Cranwell were positioned in front of the choirs. We had no problem hearing them, of course, and we could be heard over their playing through the microphones which were so sensitive that Crauford had to keep reminding everyone to be very quiet because every sound and every sotto voce comment was being broadcast around the site.

The Band

We had been asked to arrive by 8.20am to be ready for sound checks and to have our first and only rehearsal with the military band. This all went splendidly, but as always, took longer than expected such that as soon as the rehearsal was over we were immediately into the one hour plus of 'Entertainment by the Massed Choirs'. We sang as a massed choir 'Gwahoddiad', 'Speed Your Journey' and 'Rhythm of Life'. These were chosen as about the only music whose arrangements were common to all three choirs. The Orpheous and Louth also sang 'You Raised Me Up' together. Even though their arrangement was slightly different to ours, we joined in anyway. In between the joint songs, each choir took a turn to sing individual songs from its own repertoire. In this period we sang 'Yesterday', 'Sailing', 'What a Wonderful World' and 'Love Is All Around'.

The ceremony proper began at about 11am and was attended by some 2000 people including 300 veterans from WW2 Bomber Command.

The Speeches

The programme included speeches, songs, enacted tableaux, more speeches all interspersed by flypasts from aircraft whose current day squadrons had also been a part of Bomber Command during WW2. Sadly, the Lancaster was unserviceable and could not fly, but we were more than compensated by witnessing virtually the last ever flight of the Vulcan. Steve G had been a Captain and Display Pilot on Vulcans, and Henry had been one of his crew, so they stood side by side with only very slightly damp eyes.

Vulcan Flypast

For us, the climax of the whole event arrived when we were to sing the world premier of a specially-commissioned anthem, written by Tom Davoren, entitled 'Strike Hard, Strike Sure'. These words had been the motto of Bomber Command. This was the one piece that we sang accompanied by the RAF College Cranwell Band and what a tremendous sound we made together. The words were a tribute to those who fell during the war and the music was a soaring harmony of voice and instrument culminating in a finale of truly magnificent sound and emotion.

After a short break for lunch, the choirs were back on for another hour of either individual or ensemble music. In this period we sang 'Nessun Dorma', 'Can't Help Falling In Love With You'and 'Venus' before we ended the whole show with a repeat of our massed choir pieces from earlier in the day.

All in all, this had been a unique experience for us all in many ways. This was a first for us singing in harmony with other choirs. We know we will never again see a gathering of so many Bomber Command war veterans. We know we are very unlikely ever to see the Vulcan flying again. And we know we have been involved in a very special piece of history in the life of our choir.

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Funeral Support
Lincoln Crematorium - 27 January 2016

The choir had been asked by a bereaved family to attend the funeral of their departed relative in order to provide support to the volume and quality of the singing of two hymns: Jerusalem and The Lord is my Shephard. Twelve members of the choir representing all the voice groups volunteered for this very important request and were very successful in bringing the comfort and support that the family sought.

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Commemoration Service for Alan Sardeson - 20 February 2016

Alan Sardeson was a co-founder of the choir in 1994 and its Chairman and Musical Director until 2004 when poor health forced him to relinquish the reins. It was through Alan's dedication, hard work and perserverence that the choir was able to establish itself both musically and financially after the early years of uncertainty and tenuous existance.

Alan sadly passed away last November aged 85. His widow, Sharon, asked the choir to attend and sing at the special service to celebrate Alan's life. We were all very proud to have been asked and gave of our best before a packed congregation, singing Gwahoddiad and You Raise Me Up. Thus were we able to show our appreciation for the solid foundation and continued existence of the choir that Alan forged.

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Bill Leaper's 80th Birthday - 17 April 2016

Bill Leaper, a valued mamber of our Bass section, had asked us to sing for about 45 minutes at his 80th birthday party This was held in the Village Hall in Harmston.

Harmston Village Hall

As the troops gathered outside the hall on a cool, but sunny afternoon, we heard the strains of Crauford and Heather's voices and instruments. Bill had also asked them, as the duo 54 North, to do a turn before we were on. We of course saw them more as the warm-up act before our performance and judging by the enthusiastic applause, they were certainly achieving this aim.

We entered the hall soon after they had finished to be greeted by a huge crowd of Bill's family and friends. Remnants of the lunch were evident on the tables, but at one end, in pride of place, was the special birthday cake that had yet to be cut.

Bill's Cake

We quickly arranged ourselves in an eye-pleasing pattern and settled in to offer 45 minutes of our best. The only challenge we had was the fact that there were no chairs to sit on, something we are used to doing after every two or three numbers. Mick solved the problem by leaning on Heather's keyboard stand.

In Full Voice

Our programme was:

Highland Cathedral
Cwm Rhondda
A Roving
My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
What A Wonderful World
Blue Moon
Rhythm Of Life
I Dreamed A Dream
Sailing
Can't Help Falling In Love With You
Gwahoddiad

This was the first public outing for 'Blue Moon' in many a year for the choir and it seemed to go well.

Even though it was his birthday party, Bill nevertheless broke ranks from the gathered multitude and joined us for the singing. This was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and one in which we were all delighted to participate to help a valued colleague celebrate such a significant milestone

Bill (on the left)

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Annual Dinner

The Carpenters, Fiskerton - 12 July 2016

Following the success of the annual dinners over the past two years, Steve once again booked the Carpenter's Arms at Fiskerton for the dinner this year. Altogether 29 members and their guests attended.


One of the Three Tables

Everyone was able to order in advance so that service on the night could be swift and efficient and it was.

A Great Social Event

Steve had arranged the seating plan so that not all members from the same voice groups were together.

Mixed Seating Plan

Judging by the favourable comments afterwards we are likely to be back here again next year.

A Very Successful Evening

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13 September 2016
Annual General Meeting

Eighteen members attended the AGM with apologies from just seven. Both the Chairman and Music Director, in their annual reports, said how well the choir had performed over the past 12 months with a particular emphasis on developing new material and trying new and very different settings. Of particular note was the choir's involvement in the official opening of the International Bomber Command Memorial. The Chairman also gave special thanks to Keith Hebblewhite, who had stood down after many years of excellent service on the Committee.

In the past year we had welcomed one new member - Ian Stamp. Sadly, we had to say farewell to Terry Rimen who felt unable to continue with the choir because of health issues.

Tony Daborn presented a healthy set of accounts that indicated that we had comfortably paid our way despite having a very full and busy year of concerts and other performances.

All other members of the Committee had agreed to continue in post with Brian Oldfield adding welfare to his tasks. Although no longer on the Committee, Keith had agreed to continue as the liaison with the North Hykeham and Lincoln Civic Parties, and with the banner and uniforms. Our full committee for 2016-2017 is:

Chairman - Brian Cropley
Treasurer - Tony Daborn
Secretary - Steve Griffiths
Music Director - Crauford Thomson
Accompanist - Heather Benson
Publicity and Welfare - Brian Oldfield
Librarian - Mick Bowbanks
Website - Steve Griffiths
Concert Secretary - Brian Cropley
Deputy Concert Secretary - Bill Leaper
Civic Party Liaison - (Ex Officio) Keith Hebblewhite

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Sonophilia Festival Rantan
Castle Square, Lincoln - 30 September 2016

The choir had been invited to help launch the 2016 Lincoln Sonophilia Festival. After some initial doubts as to where we would do this, the organisers finally decided that we should be in the Castle Square in the centre of the Bailgate area of Lincoln, unfortunately outside rather than inside the Magna Carta Pub.

Promising Venue

One definition of a rantan is the public humiliation of a miscreant in medieval times by the loud banging of pots and pans to drive the ne'er-do-well out of the village. This might explain the motley gathering of folks in motley costumes carrying motley instruments and sound-generating stuff.

The choir gathered patiently, if a little wistfully, outside the Magna Carta Pub. Heather set up her keyboard on an alarmingly sloping bit of pavement and, armed with a fistful of clothes pegs, set up her music in defiance of the occasional testing gusts of wind.

Ready For The Off

Our programme of music was to last a mere 30 minutes. by the time we started, there was a sizeable audience who listened with great respect and obvious enjoyment to what we had to offer.

Our programme was:

Oh, How Lovely Is The Evening
A Roving
The Lincolnshire Poacher
Sailing
Nessun Dorma
What A Wonderful World
Blue Moon
Rhythm Of Life
Can't Help Falling In Love With You
Highland Cathedral

All in all this was a fun occasion enjoyed by all. Singing outside on the street had its challenges, not least when the audience was forced to move back a few paces to allow a car to drive past right in front of where we were singing!

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4 July 2017
Annual Dinner
Carpenters, Fiskerton

Annual Dinner 4 July 2017

For the fourth year in a row, Steve once again booked the Carpenter's at Fiskerton for the Annual Dinner. Altogether 25 members and their guests attended.


The Carpenters

Everyone was able to order in advance so that service on the night could be swift and efficient and it was. From the feedback received, this was yet again a very successful evening with excellent food, great socialising and a fitting way to bring the concert season to an end

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6 July 2017
100th Birthday Party Concert

Invitations such as this do not happen that often, so with the greatest of pleasure the choir attended the 100th birthday party oF Elsie Murrel at the Ermine House Care home.

The event was not without its problems because a lift within the building had broken down such that Elsie could not come downstairs in her wheelchair to attend the party in the large lounge. So the choir took the stairs up to a much smaller room where, in rather confined quarters, they sang about a 30-minute concert of music selected from the programme the previous Saturday at the Annual Concert. In addition, Brian Cropley sang 'Danny Boy' by special request from the birthday girl.

Everyone left feeling that the choir had been very privileged to share in such a special occasion which obviously brought great pleasure to Elsie and her family.

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5 September 2017
Annual General Meeting

Twenty members attended the AGM with apologies from just five. Both the Chairman and Music Director, in their annual reports, said how well the choir had performed over the past 12 months with a particular emphasis on developing new material and trying new and very different settings. The Music Director pointed out the difficulty in acquiring stand-in accompanists if needed. He also said that the repertoire for the coming season would include more folk music.

In the past year we had welcomed three new members - Eric Farthing, Steve Vaughan and Howard Gannaway.

Tony Daborn presented a healthy set of accounts that indicated that we had comfortably paid our way despite having a very full and busy year of concerts and other performances. The meeting unanimously approved a staged increase in fees over the next 12 months. Tony announced that he would be standing down as treasurer at the 2018 AGM.

All members of the Committee had agreed to continue in post. In addition, on 1 January 2018, Bill Leaper would take over full time as the concert secretary. Although no longer on the Committee, Keith had agreed to continue as the liaison with the North Hykeham and Lincoln Civic Parties, and with the banner and uniforms. Our full committee for 2017-2018 is:

Chairman and Concert Secretary- Brian Cropley
Treasurer - Tony Daborn
Secretary and Website - Steve Griffiths
Music Director - Crauford Thomson
Accompanist - Heather Benson
Publicity and Welfare - Brian Oldfield
Librarian - Mick Bowbanks
Concert Secretary (from 1 Jan 18) - Bill Leaper
Civic Party Liaison - (Ex Officio) Keith Hebblewhite

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12 April 2018
International Bomber Command Centre
Official Opening

The choir were last here on 2 October 2015 for the initial opening of the IBCC spire and commemorative wall. Back then, there had been little else on the site. In the intervening years the IBCC had received Lottery funding plus other fund-raising to enable them to complete the whole site. This now included the Roy Chadwick Centre, a place of archival memories, testimonies and an education centre for schools and those engaged in research on the role Bomber Command played in WW2. We were very honoured to have been asked back to participate in this official opening of the whole Centre on what proved to be a very cold and foggy, but rain-free day.

A Very Foggy IBCC

In 2015 we had been joined by the Louth and Orpheus Male Voice Choirs. On this occasion we had both the latter choirs again plus the Caistor Male Voice Choir, making some 100 voices in all. Our role was to perform a 35-minute 'set', as Crauford likes to call it, of songs that all 4 choirs knew. During rehearsals we soon discovered that our version of Lincolnshire Poacher was totally different to that sung by the other three choirs so, being outvoted and outvoiced, we obtained copies of their version. The jury is still out whether we like it or not. After about a one-hour break we would be back on stage, joined by the RAF Cranwell Band, to participate in the official opening ceremony during which we would be singing the anthem 'Strike Hard, Strike Sure' the motto of Bomber Command that we had sung in 2015.

In this 35-minute set, the plan was that we would sing:

'Gwahoddiad' and 'Speed Your Journey' both conducted by the Louth MD
'Rhythm of Life' and 'When the Saints' both conducted by the Orpheus MD
'In Flanders Fields' (with Julian singing the opening tenor solo) and 'Sailing' both conducted by Crauford
'The Lincolnshire Poacher' and 'The Dambusters March' both conducted by the Caistor MD

The persistantly foggy weather meant that an early decision was made to cancel the planned fly-pasts, This created gaps in a very tight media-driven programme schedule, so we were warned to expect last-minute changes to what we would be singing. The first change came very soon after when we were told that there was a need to fill the gaps left by the absent flypasts so we would not be singing either of the pieces that Crauford was conducting until we were back on stage for the official opening ceremony.

The so-called 'Green Room' where performers dumped their bags and prepared to go on stage, was a lovely warm marquee with plentiful tea/coffee, biccies and fruit. Most of us arrived with hats, scarves, gloves and overcoats and were reluctant to disrobe until the very last second before going on stage.

In the Green Room

At last it was time for us to go on stage. We reluctantly left the warmth of the Green Room for the bitter wind and damp foggy stage area. On arrival we discovered that someone had plonked a huge grand piano just where most of the 1st tenors were to be sitting, so we all had to make adjustments and ended up sitting wherever we could find chairs. Heather did a brilliant job in keeping our own choir members vaguely together.

On Stage Squash

The stage itself dominated the open area between the Roy Chadwick Centre and the spire and we could enjoy reasonable cover from the general weather, although not from the bitter wind that blasted in through the many gaps in the structure. Many of the guests and general public had to suffer sitting out in the raw open such that the organisers had provided silver 'space blankets', like you see for runners after the London Marathon, for the many veterans most of whom were in their 90s.

Bitter Cold Viewing

We began our set at 0950 before an audience of about 60, but by the time we had ended 35 minutes later the audience had swelled to 1000 or more. We worked our way through the pieces conducted by the other three MDs and just as we finished Crauford rushed onto the stage no longer wearing his hi-viz dayglo yellow official stage manager jacket, but in his MD suit and announced that we would now sing 'In Flanders Fields'. Julian, who had been expecting a reprieve until later, rose to the occasion magnificently and sang the very best opening tenor solo that we had yet heard. After that it was back to the Green Room for a warm drink and a defrosting of the fingers and toes.

In Full Voice

I should have mentioned before that Crauford was having a tussle with the RAF Band over where they were to be located, either them on stage and us on the grass outside and in front of the stage or vice versa. The decision was now announced that both choirs and band would be on stage. However, there would be room for only about 50 choir members. Crauford had decided that both Lincoln-based choirs - us and the Orpheus - would participate in the official opening ceremony and that the Louth and Caistor choirs would sadly have to forego their participation. This was a very unfortunate and much-regretted outcome, but a decision had to be made. It had been a very valuable experience for us all to have rehearsed and sung with the other choirs; perhaps we will have another opportunity in the future.

Time passed all too quickly when we were called once again to leave the comfort of the Green Room and brave the elements. Some folks very wisely kept their outer garments on until the very last minute even when in the queue outside to go on stage.

Keeping Warm

Back on stage once again we were greeted with a very different arrangement with the RAF Band located in front of us and just three rows of chairs all squashed together at the back. Heather did her usual job of organising us fitting quarts into pints pots and she even kindly kept my seat warm for me!

My Personal Seat Warmer

The official opening ceremony was compèred by John Sergeant, the journalist and TV personality. It included speeches, a couple of pieces from the band and a blessing from the Bishop of Lincoln. The opening itself was a clever arrangement whereby many of the veterens were given a short length of red ribbon and all were invited to cut it so all could say they had opened the centre. By now, the audience had swelled to a capacity of over 2000 with the veterans in pride of place on the front row, many sporting their space blankets.

The Veterans

So what happened to the anthem 'Strike Hard, Strike Sure'?. The programme for the ceremony was obviously severely disrupted by the poor weather and lack of fly-pasts. In addition, there was concern that the vetereans should not be kept out in such cold conditions for longer than necessary. After the Last Post, 2-minute silence and reveille, a decision had been taken that the ceremony was effectively over and the whole audience started to leave. With a rueful smile, the band leader decided we would sing the anthem anyway as we had worked so hard to perfect it. What an amazing experience it was to sing accompanied by a military band. We all put heart and soul into it despite the rapidly diminishing audience and felt that we had done ourselves proud.

This is the time to recognise the amazing hard work, dedication and determination of Crauford, ably assisted where needed by Heather. He it was who got us this 'gig' as he likes to call such events; he it was who had all the insider technical knowledge of formal stage productions; he it was who had to organise and plan all the rehearsals, music, timings, security, participation, logistics and admin for all four choirs; he it was who had to liaise with all the organisers, the RAF band, the publicity, the media demands; he it was who pulled it off with great humour despite many frustrations, uncertainties and setbacks. Thank you, Crauford, and Heather, for a very demanding and difficult job very well done.

So there we are. Another wonderful experience for the choir, another valuable addition to the choir's 'CV', another opportunity to take part in a special event outside the normal run of concerts. But most importantly, we had been blessed with the chance to pay homage to the many who died in Bomber Command during WW2 and to celebrate and to honour those present who had survived. There are not many choirs who can say that.

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8 May 2018
Mayor of Lincoln Farewell Concert

The choir was especially honoured to have been asked to give a farewell concert for the current Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Chris Burke. This took place in the Guildhall before an invited audience. The Mayor has been a very good friend to the choir. He has been an enthusiastic supporter who, depite his hugely busy diary, has managed to attend two choir concerts during his term of office. This was a very special event indeed in the history of the choir.

Councillor Chris Burke
Mayor of Lincoln
May 2017- May 2018

From what we can gather, an added fact that made this concert so special was that it was the first time in the very long and illustrious history of the Guildhall that a choir concert has been held in its historic Council Chamber.

The Guildhall

The choir were located at the end of the Council Chamber where the public and Press normally sit. No doubt we were seen as far more well behaved than the usual suspects who sit here.

The Well-Behaved Choir

Heather, on the other hand, had no choice but to be well behaved, located as she was under the stern and slightly disapproving gaze of Queen Victoria.

Well-Behaved Heather

Following the success of the recent concert at St Michael's Church, Waddington, Crauford chose to use the same programme again the only change being that Julian sang the voice solo in the first half and for this farewell concert very appropriately chose 'Time to Say Goodbye' which he sang magnificently in Italian.

The first half of the concert was:

Gwahoddiad
Speed Your Journey
Lullaby of Birdland
Lullaby of Broadway
'Con te partirò (Time To Say Goodbye)(Julian's Solo)
What Would I Do Without My Music
Halleluyah
Going Home
My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose
A Roving

After a short interval, during which Crauford said we should not eat any of the choccie biccies on offer, and then went and scoffed almost all of them himself, the second half programme was:

Somebody's Calling My Name
Highland Cathedral
The Way We Were
Softly As I Leave You
Blue Moon
When The Saints
Rhythm Of Life
You Raised Me Up
The Dambusters' March

The audience comprised guests invited by the Mayor. Not only did we see the Civic Party and the Mayor's staff, but there were other dignitaries with chains of office as well. They all sat round the historic and ancient Council table that was wide enough to prevent sword fights. Councillor Burke sat, of course, in the mayorial high chair at the head of the room.

No Sword Fighting

At the end the Mayor gave a short but very gracious and heartfelt speech to thank us all for making his farewell so memorable. How nice it would be if this could become an annual event in our programme calendar.

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Annual Dinner 10 July 2018

For the fifth year in a row Steve once again booked the Carpenter's at Fiskerton for the Annual Dinner. Altogether 26 members and their guests attended.


The Carpenters

Everyone was able to order in advance so that service on the night could be swift and efficient and it was. Once again, the food was excellent, promptly served, hot and delicious.

Waiting for Starters

We had not seen Brian O at recent rehearsals and concerets, so everyone was delighted to see him turn up.

Welcome Brian

The only downside to the evening was the decision by the venue to put on a pub quiz half way through the evening with the loudspeaker system very loud in the dining room, which somewhat inhibitted conversation. Not only that, but hardly anyone knew the answers!

No Clue As To The Answer

Brian Does Not Care

If the choir opts for another dinner in 2019, we shall check whether there will be a quiz on the night and if so we will go somewhere else. Shame really, because the Carpenters has done so well for us over the years.

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11 September 2018
Annual General Meeting

Seventeen members attended the AGM with apologies from six. The Chairman, in his annual report, said how well the choir had performed over the past 12 months with a particular emphasis on developing new material. He thanked the committee, Musical Director and Accompanist for the collective support he had received from them. Finally, he mentioned that Howard Gannaway,Terry Nolan and Dennis Smith had all left the choir in the past 12 months, the latter two through declining health.

In his report, the Music Director thanked the choir for their continued trust in him and Heather. He highlighted the renewed experience of singing with the RAF Band at the International Bomber Centre albeit in bitterly cold weather. He further felt that the choir had performed particularly well in the final few concerts of last season, but that there were two major areas that needed attention. The first was that we needed to welcome new members more kindly and enable tham to feel integrated into the choir rather than stuck out on a limb not knowing the music. The second was the need to encourage new members to join and to do this he proposed a completely new way to plan concerts; rather than have about one concert per month we should instead have only two, perhaps three really big concerts in the year, held at major venues in and around the city rather than in churches. Each concert should be themed, eg from musicals, swing, from stage and screen. Given the date, we should then plan to advertise and recruit new members specifically to take part in the concert. Thus both new members and existing members would be learning new material together. Venues could include the Terry O'Toole Theatre, the Blue Room in the Lawns and the Auditorium in the Collection Museum. The meeting expressed concern over dropping care home concerts, but accepted that Crauford's proposal was the best way forward to address the future survival of the choir.

Tony Daborn presented a healthy set of accounts that indicated that we had comfortably paid our way despite having a very full and busy year of concerts and other performances. Tony retired as Treasurer at this meeting and was presented with a gift expressing the choir's gratitude for his 7 years in the role.

Ron Travis had offered to succeed Tony as Treasurer and was formally voted into office. All other members of the Committee had agreed to continue in post. Mick Bowbanks advised that he would be retiring as Librarian at the 2019 AGM. Although no longer on the Committee, Keith had agreed to continue as the liaison with the North Hykeham and Lincoln Civic Parties, and with the banner and uniforms. Our full committee for 2018-2019 is:

Chairman - Brian Cropley
Treasurer - Ron Travis
Secretary and Website - Steve Griffiths
Music Director - Crauford Thomson
Accompanist - Heather Benson
Publicity and Welfare - Brian Oldfield
Librarian - Mick Bowbanks
Concert Secretary - Bill Leaper
Civic Party Liaison - (Ex Officio) Keith Hebblewhite

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11 November 2018
International Bomber Command Centre
Act of Remembrance

The choir had been here on 2 October 2015 for the initial opening of the IBCC spire and commemorative wall. Last April we were here for a second time at the official opening of the whole site, which now included the Roy Chadwick Centre, a place of archival memories, testimonies and an education centre for schools and those engaged in research on the role Bomber Command played in WW2. We were very honoured to have been asked to return for a third time, on this occasion to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of WW1. Last April the weather had been bitter cold, but dry. On this occasion it was bitter cold, windy with frequent driving rain showers.

A Cold and Rainy IBCC

We were once again joined by the Orpheus Male Voice Choir. The plan was that we would sing a few choir pieces as entertainment as the congregation assembled ahead of the Act of Remembrance. We would then sing three songs during the Act itself. To cope with the inclement weather we had been allowed to wear coats, hats and gloves over choir uniforms and we were all crammed into a tight space at one end of a large-ish tent.

Trying to Keep Warm

Also sharing the tight space at the other end of the tent was the IBCC orchestra lead by Crauford. Their main concern was less trying to keep warm and more trying to protect their valuable instruments from the wind-swept rain.

Keeping Instruments Dry

Heather and keyboard could be found crammed in between choir and orchestra. She had a very busy morning first at the keyboard accompanying the choir and then out into the teeth of the weather to play the Last Post on her cornet during the Act of Remembrance standing next to the spire, then quickly back to the tent to join the other brass players in the orchestra for the 'Remember' anthem, then back to the keyboard to complete the ceremony as the congregation dispersed at the end.

Busy Heather

Meanwhile, one had to feel sorry for the members of the congregation who stood or sat outside in the wind and rain. Even the loadspeaker had some degree of rain-proofing. Indeed, the weather at one point became so severe that one or two of the veterans had to be taken indoors for their own health and safety.

Grinning and Bearing It

To entertain the troops before formal proceedings began the joint choir alternated with the orchestra. The choir sang:

Gwahoddiad
Rhythm of Life
Sailing
In Flanders Fields

The Act of Remembrance was led by Nicky van der Drift, the IBCC CEO, and included a solo flute item, poetry readings, testimonials, the Homage, Last Post, 2-Minute silence and reveille. There then followed wreath laying and the reading out names of IBCC veterans who had passed away in the past 12 months. While this was going on, the choirs, accompanied now by the orchestra, sang:

Jerusalem
Airmen's Hymn
Remember

Despite the battle against the weather, we all felt we had honoured the special nature of the 100th anniversary of the ending of WW1. This occasion will never happen again and we were very privileged to have been an active and core ingredient in the ceremony.

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15 December 2018
Oesophageal Patients Association Concert
Bentley Hotel

Choir member Tony Daborn had asked the choir to do this concert for the Oesophageal Patients Association as the entertainment after their Xmas lunch. Knoiwing Tony's close connection to this group, we had readily agreed.

Bentley Hotel

Crauford was not able to be with us for this concert, so Heather took over the conducting duties and once again Alexander Wacarba-Wood stood in as accompanist as he had done the day before at the Bunkers Hill Care Home concert.

Alex with us again

While we waited for the hotel to turn its piped music background entertainment off, we took the opportunity for an audience member to take a photo of us watched over by a precarious Santa.

The Full Choir

Having the previous day sung a mix of choir pieces and carols at the Bunkers Hill Care Home concert, it seemed sensible to repeat the programme here, namely:

Gwahoddiad
Lullaby of Birdland
Lullaby of Broadway
Mary Had a Baby
Kwmbayah (Christmas Words)
A Roving
Gaudete
Away in a Manger
Highland Cathedral
You Raise Me Up
Silent Night
Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head
O, Come All Ye Faithfull
Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Judging by the comments afterwards, we seemed to hit the spot with the audience. There was a great deal of appreciative applause and some very kind words said by the luncheon organiser. This was a perfect way to end the pre-Xmas concert season. We look forward to our new way of doing things in 2019 and wish all website readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Annual Dinner 9 July 2019

For five years we had gone to the Carpenters in Fiskerton for our annual dinner, but last year they held a quiz night during the evening which somewhat spoilt our ability to enjoy a social gathering. Steve checked with them to discover that, yes, they were planning another quiz night on the due date this year, so instead Steve booked the Swanholme Inn on the Doddington Road.


The Swanholme Inn

Everyone was able to order in advance so that service on the night could be swift and efficient and it was. We were slightly fewer in number compared to previous years, but that did not prevent everyone enjoying a really convivial evening of socialising rather than singing. We will almost certainly book the Swanholme again next year if they can produce such good food, helpful and efficient service and ambiance ideal for the occasion.

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7 September 2019
White Swan Charity Concert

We have just completed a very special event in more ways than one. At the request of Steve Vaughan, one of our basses, we agreed to do a charity concert at the White Swan pub in Torksey Lock, just north of Lincoln on the Gainsborough Road.

The White Swan

The Charities being supported were the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance (LNAM) based out of RAF Waddington and flying hundreds of missions every year to save lives throughout the region. While we may be familiar with the LNAM, we are possibly less familiar with the Children's Air Ambulance. This organisation is located thoughout the UK and its purpose is to fly critically ill children across the UK to the specialist care they need. This concert is supporting the unit based at Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster.

What made this concert special in more ways than one was the unique stage we used. It was none other than the back of an articulated lorry parked a short distance away from the front of the pub. Judging by its condition, it was last used to carry very muddy potatoes.

Our Stage

Access to the stage was via two ladders that were tied down with bungee cord. Crauford and Heather spent about 30 minutes setting up the microphones that would be needed because we were not only a wee distance from the audience sitting outside the front of the pub, but we were also a wee distance from the very busy A156 main road from Lincoln to Gainsborough!

With the sound system set up we were ready to climb onto the stage. We all managed it without any problems, but any health and safety gurus might not have looked kindly on the venture. We were soon ready to start with the strict instructions from Crauford not to chat or make any remarks of comments as anything we said would be heard by the audience.

Safely On Board

Because this concert was just two weeks after our long summer break, we kept to all the songs that we knew well, but which we were sure this audience had not heard before. We also avoided any voice solos because of the uncertainty of being heard

The full programme was:

Rhythm Of Life
I Dreamed A Dream
You'll Never Walk Alone
The Dam Busters March
A Roving
The Lincolnshire Poacher
My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose
Do You Hear The People Sing?
Highland Cathedral

Interval

Lullaby of Broadway
Lullaby of Birdland
Memory
Gwahoddiad
Speed Your Journey
Blue Moon
You Raised Me Up
Theme from New York, New York

It is too soon to know how much was raised, but, despite the chilly cold wind (no rain thankfully) and the rather precarious staging, we all enjoyed the concert though next time perhaps we will look to be indoors.

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10 September 2019
Annual General Meeting

Seventeen members attended the AGM with apologies from five. The Chairman, in his annual report, said how well the choir had performed over the past 12 months with a particular emphasis on developing new material for the major concert at the Terry O'Toole Theatre (TOTT) last May. He thanked the committee, Musical Director and Accompanist for the collective support he had received from them. Since the last AGM we had lost four members: Henry Horscroft, Hugh Manfield, Tony Hay and Niel Griffin. To offset this, we had gained four new members in Geoff Lloyd, Jonny Muirfield, Dave Barton and Roger Bickley.

In his report, the Music Director thanked the choir for their continued trust in him and Heather.

He referred to the new experience of performing one big concert at the Terry O’Toole Theatre (TOTT), which had been a financial risk, but had proved to be a huge success by making a profit, raising the music standard of the choir and resulting in new music for the library. The intention had been to do two such large concerts, but this did not happen for good reasons: cost of new music, the capacity of the choir to learn so much new material, the capacity to administer such a large event and the capacity of Crauford and Heather to do two lots of significant musical arrangements and rehearsal tracks. Moreover, many choir members felt the concert programme would be more balanced if we did one big concert and then a few smaller, more traditional choir concerts spread throughout the rest of the year. This also meant there would be purpose in attending rehearsals even if any member might have to miss the odd performance.

Looking ahead to the coming 12 months, Crauford said that we were planning another big concert at the TOTT, plus the Poppy Appeal and Wings Appeal concerts and the cameo appearance in Gainsborough next March. Meanwhile, the committee had asked Bill, Concert Secretary, actively to seek one or two additional concert for 2020.

Ron Travis presented a healthy set of accounts that indicated that we had comfortably paid our way despite having a very full and busy year of concerts and other performances.

Mick Bowbanks retired as Librarian and was succeeded by Steve Vaughan. Our full committee for 2019-2020 is:

Chairman - Brian Cropley
Treasurer - Ron Travis
Secretary and Website - Steve Griffiths
Music Director - Crauford Thomson
Accompanist - Heather Benson
Librarian - Steve Vaughan
Concert Secretary - Bill Leaper
Civic Party Liaison - (Ex Officio) Keith Hebblewhite

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