Brief History of the Choir

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How We Started

The origins of the City of Lincoln Male Voice Choir go back to October 1994 and the demise of the Orpheous & Railway Choir. Alan Sardeson, Ron Frost, Albert Colley and Neil Wilkinson met with the aim of forming a new choir drawn from members of the former choir. Over the following weeks they established the name of the choir, what uniform it should wear, fees to be charged, rehearsal venues and so on. As the City of Lincoln Male Voice Choir, they established a connection with the Mayor of Lincoln's office that still exists today. Essentially, the choir became the 'Mayor's Choir' ready to perform at official functions when needed. They chose the name, logo and uniform based on the existing badges of the city and the fact that using these well-known symbols of Lincoln and Lincolnshire would help them to gain recognition within the local music circles.

The first Music Director, as well as Choir Chairman, was Alan Sardeson. The first Accompanist was Helen Garbett. In these very early days the choir had no ready money so Ron Frost and Albert Colley each loaned the choir 300 to get established with sheet music, payment for a reheasal venue, honoraria for the Conductor and Accompanist. The fee to be a member back then was a mere 10 per annum!

By 1995, the choir had applied for and been given a grant of 3000 from the Sports and Arts Foundation. This gave them the boost needed to advertise more widely for members, buy uniforms and increase the library of sheet music. By the 2000 AGM, the choir boasted 24 members divided evenly between the four voice groups. At this time, Jane Foster was the Accompanist.

Ill health forced Alan Sardeson to relinquish his dual role as Chairman and Music Director. In 2004, Brian Cropley became the choir's Chairman, a role he still performs today. Eric Hewes became the Music Director and Joyce Hainstock was the Accompanist. Eric decided to move away from Lincolnshire in 2012. He was succeeded by the present Music Director Crauford Thomson. At the same time Heather Benson began to stand in as both conductor and accompanist when occasion demanded it. In 2014 Joyce had to relinquish her role as accompanist and Heather became her full-time successor.

Up To The Present Day

For the last 15 years the choir has performed about 10 concerts each year, regularly raising funds for such charities as the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, St Barnabas Hospice, the Notts/Lincs Air Ambulance, the City of Lincoln Mayor's chosen charity and the Royal Air Force Association Wings Appeal. The choir has sung in concerts at venues throughout the county, in churches, village halls, schools, gardening clubs, at flower festivals, weddings and official mayorial events. In more recent years the choir has sung twice at the International Bomber Command Centre at their official openings.

From January 2019, the choir discontinued singing monthly concerts, but instead planned one major themed concert in a major concert venue in and around the city, plus three or four more regular charity-supporting concerts or entertainment in local care homes. In 2019 we had a hugely successful concert in the Terry O'Toole Theatre in North Hykeham based on songs from musicals and entitled 'From Broadway to the West End'. Full details can be found in the 'Looking Back/Concerts' webpage. In 2020 we shall return to this venue with a concert based on the theme of 'Movie Music'.

2020 has been a year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced us to cancel every concert and to stop singing collectively. Thanks to Zoom technology we have been able to conduct 'virtual rehearsals'. Please see the 'Home' page for our latest Covid-19 update.

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