News and Web News

Gerald Rodger's 90th Birthday Celebrated
With the 
Gresley Male Voice Choir
Swadlincote Post 19th January 2018

Poster/Banner (8'x4') Painted for
Ashby Arts Festival 2017
Concert Saturday 27th May
Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church, Ashby de la Zouch

 GMVC Visit Radio Leicester 25th February 2017  
to advertise involvement with
 the Measham Youth Centre Project
and sang 3 songs
"Working Man"
"My Heart Will Go On"
"What Would I Do Without My Music"


Burton Mail, Tuesday 23rd August 2016:

Stretton reverend Kim Thomas sets sail for the other side of the world 

Reverend Kim Thomas of St Mary's Church, Stretton, is emigrating to Australia where she will take up a new post at a church near Perth.

A beloved reverend from Stretton has decided to set sail for sunnier pastures over the other side of the world after being offered a job at a parish in Australia.
Reverend Kim Thomas, 57, has been the vicar at St Mary's Church in Stretton for nine years, but will be emigrating to become rector of Mundaring near Perth in Australia next month.
She said that she has loved her time in Stretton and will be sad to leave her family behind in the UK, but is looking forward to taking on a new challenge in a much warmer climate.
Reverend Thomas said that Stretton has been a special place to work and she is very sad to go but that it is an opportunity she could not turn down. 
She said: "I'm sad because I love Stretton and I have really enjoyed my time here. "It's a wonderful place to live and the people are smashing.
I could not have been more supported or loved by the people of the church.

Reverend Thomas explained that her move to Australia has been many years in the making and actually began 14 years ago when she visited friends in Australia. 
She said: "I met up with a bishop there and he offered me a job in Australia. My mum wouldn't come with me and I wouldn't leave her so I shelved the idea.
"I kept going back to Australia and visiting friends, and in February when I was over there I had a chance meeting with a bishop who asked me if I had ever thought about working in Australia. 
"I had two interviews - one for a job in Perth, one for a job in Mundaring. I was offered both in April, but I chose Mundaring which is in the Perth hills and is the job I really wanted.
It is lovely and ticked all the boxes for me. 
"I will be able to work with the whole community, young people, and will be able to do lots of reaching out.

Reverend Kim Thomas giving a sermon at the church in Stretton.

Reverend Thomas will be leaving behind her son, daughter in law and two grandsons aged three and one so she said that she hopes to visit the UK regularly and will keep in touch by Skype and Facetime. 
Reverend Thomas will be flying out to Australia at the end of September and will take up her new position in October. 
Her final service will be held at 10am on September 11 at St Mary's Church, Stretton. The new reverend for Stretton has not yet been announced.

St George's Church, Ticknall
Saturday 23rd March 2016
Report, Parish Magazine


Burton And District Arts Council. 

GMVC Concert – Review by Bill Pritchard
Posted on February 28, 2016 by admin
"Gresley Male Voice Choir presents Grimethorpe Colliery Band", Burton Town Hall

Sometimes it’s easy to forget the treasures we have right on the doorstep.
Take the Town Hall. Now I’ve been there for functions, beer festivals, concerts and gigs but because it’s the Town Hall I’ve not really paid attention to my surroundings.
My lack of attention was brought home to me at the "Gresley Male Voice Choir presents Grimethorpe Colliery Band" concert on Saturday, February 27th.

Both the Grimethorpe band and members of the audience I spoke to thought the acoustics were wonderful and the hall itself a magnificent piece of Victorian architecture.
One gentleman summed it up as ‘a simply marvellous night out.’

The choir and the brass band were born out of mining communities that have long since been destroyed, but the power those communities had, lives on in the social heritage represented by both band and choir.
The soul of the mining communities was kept alive by the selection of music at the concert with one of the highlights for me being the juxtaposition of Rita MacNeil’s Working Man, from the choir, a tribute to the lives that have been lost underground and the joint rendition of March of the Peers from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe containing the lines: ‘Bow, bow, ye lower middle classes! Bow, bow, ye tradesmen, bow, ye masses.’
The evening was compered by Tim Cox of Gresley Male Voice Choir who, along with the conductors – Dr Robert (Bob) Childs for Grimethorpe and Karl Harper for Gresley – brought a very human and humorous touch to proceedings.

One exchange was particularly memorable with Tim introducing the first set by Grimethorpe as: “Grimethorpe are going to sing,” swiftly corrected to: “Grimethorpe are going to play, sing or something.”
Which was picked up by the Grimethorpe conductor who said: “You really wouldn’t want to hear us sing.”
There were many, many highlights, among my favourites was Grimethorpe’s Carnival of Venice which conjured up village fetes and park bandstands on summer evenings. Gresley’s The Mansions of The Lord was spine-tingling as was Danny Boy.
Grimethorpe swung into the second half with Let’s Face the Music and Dance which Gresley matched with the Rhythm of Life, Grimethorpe pulled out the classic – the finale from William Tell and the march Death or Glory both of which had feet tapping and heads bobbing.

The finale brought the audience into play with a rousing, roof-raising Jerusalem, at which we were so good they let us do it twice.

At times moving, at times barnstorming. Always wonderful. Quite simply a great night out that showed me that although the mines have gone. The spirit of the pits is alive and well.


Can the Male Voice Choir survive in the modern world?

Daily Telegraph
15 FEBRUARY 2016
Chris Midgeley

“Listen to that,” says psychotherapist Lee Wallace, with his eyes closed and a smile on his face.
In the adjoining room, fifty men from the Leeds Male Voice Choir are harmonising the chorus of an old Cornish miners’ song, which drifts across the air with a gorgeous, sonorous hum.  “There’s something about that sound of all men singing," says Wallace. "It’s mellow. It’s stirring. And I think, as a pastime, it’s coming back around.”

Leeds Male Voice Choir has a diverse range of occupations and ages in its membership 
As an art, singing has fallen out of fashion for men. Once the defining sound of both collieries and cathedrals, male choirs have seen a notable decline in the 21st Century; in part because warbling workmen have been replaced by neutered office workers, in part because few kids now want to join the ranks of fresh-faced choristers. Despite recent studies suggesting that the practice has a host of unlikely health benefits – from countering depression and the onset of Parkinson’s to improving the symptoms of lung disease – for a man to have a singsong anywhere but in his shower remains a social faux pas.
Which is why the Yorkshire choir are treating their  100th anniversary this year as an opportunity to show that  the male choral singing still has a place in society. They're embarking upon a crusade to serenade the stigma away, and hope that they will be able to celebrate their centenary by bringing male group singing back into the mainstream.
 The miners’ song, Take Me Home, is just one of the tunes the choir’s musical director Tim Knight believes can move the group forward whilst still honouring its heritage. It's a tactic that Wallace, who first joined the choir in 1997 at the age of 24, believes will prove fruitful. “I think men singing goes back to something we don’t really have anymore. Unless you’re involved in sports, where else can you go to connect in such an impressive and meaningful way? Singing connects us men, it counters isolation and creates social bonds.”

These bonds, forged through the strength of a shared note, are considered very important by the members of the choir. With a 64-year age gap between the oldest and youngest members, they say their pastime has facilitated many cross-generational friendships that otherwise would not exist. Despite the differences in age, occupation and ethnicity, when the choir comes together, all the men quite literally sing from the same songsheet.
Oscar Archer, a 23-year old mathematics graduate training to be an actuary, remembers being immediately welcomed into the choir when he joined last year. He believes that singing is without comparison when it comes to boosting confidence, and attributes the success of the ensemble to the diversity in both repertoire and membership.
“I hadn’t sung much before,” Archer tells me, “but I wanted to give it a go. The choir has been a really supportive atmosphere in which to learn, irrespective of whether or not you’ve had any musical training.
“When I was at university,” the bass singer continues, “I tended to mix with people of a similar age who were at a similar stage of their life as me. So, after graduation, it can seem as if there are fewer opportunities to socialise than there were at university.

“Everyone goes for a pint after rehearsals, and we do other social activities together such as carol singing at Christmas and getting together for Bonfire Night. Singing in a male voice choir – particularly this one – has a unique sense of camaraderie which you don’t find in other kinds of ensemble or group. It’s very rewarding.”
Archer is very much the new face of male voice choirs. Arriving on the scene at the same time that the group eschewed their traditional uniforms for the sharper slim grey suits and ties, the 23-year old enjoys singing everything from the classic hymns, through choral arrangements of modern rock songs (I Predict a Riot is, indeed, riotous), to show tunes from the Golden Age of musicals.
Another champion of the increasing diversity is 87-year old Bert Mallinson. A veteran of church choirs, glee clubs and male voice ensembles throughout the country, Mallinson has sung with the Leeds Male Voice Choir for the last 38 years. And, despite not being a fan of some of the newer tunes - “The music of the present drives me up the wall” - the octogenarian accepts that, to regain the popularity of its heyday, the choir must get with the times.
“It’s very important,” says Mallinson, recounting that many of the most notable times in his life have had singing at their heart. “In fact, I think it’s probably what’s kept me going as I am. It’s a social experience, and of course it’s exercise for your lungs. Not that my lungs are as good as they once were, of course.”
Later,  the 87-year old tenor's modesty was revealed as I watched the ensemble perform one of Knight’s own compositions, entitled Look to this Day. Mallinson, still in possession of a formidable solo voice, looked the picture of health as he sang amongst friends with youthful passion.

The benefits of singing have been well-documented in recent years. Swedish research has suggested that a spell of spirited song not only increases oxygen levels in the blood but also triggers the release of “happy” hormones such as oxytocin, which is thought to help lower stress levels and blood pressure.
And a year-long study on people with mental health problems, carried out by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury, also revealed that 60 per cent of participants had less mental distress when retested a year after joining a choir, with some people no longer fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for clinical depression.
Human resources manager, Robert Butler, joined the choir in 2012 after attending a taster session for prospective members. He believes that this unique mix of physical, emotional and social benefits is what sets male voice choirs apart from other ensembles and groups. He hopes that celebrations this year, such as the choir’s official centenary concert in September, will help publicise the plus points of signing up.
“Singing in a male voice choir,” says Butler, “offers the chance to be part of a team, learn new skills and it’s a fun social activity as well! It’s good for combatting stress and building confidence, and it’s hard to describe the adrenaline rush you get after a great performance.

“Our choir has brought together a diverse group of men from different backgrounds, of different ages and who have different occupations, and then unites them with the common aim of making a great sound. I think it’s really important that the choir reflects the world today, both in terms of the music we sing and those who sing with us.
“There are very few social activities like singing in a male voice choir, but there are also many benefits, so that’s why we encourage anyone who wants to join to come along. And there are probably as many reasons for joining the Choir as there are men in the room.”
The diversity is, indeed, striking. With IT workers, newsagents, a barrister and a retired Chief Superintendent amongst their ranks, the Leeds Male Voice Choir is bucking the stereotypical membership of ‘old white men’, and is instead appealing to men of all backgrounds to come together, better themselves and keep a historic art form alive in the process.

Which brings me back to that earlier moment, when Lee Wallace suggested I simply stop and listen to this group of miscellaneous men. I could hear the benefits for myself. I heard real soul in the singing, and pride in the voices of the men. Even the strange and perhaps unexpected friendships were audible. This was most definitely a choir, but they also clearly stood for something more: a male camaraderie and unabashed, honest love of art that, if we’re not careful, will be lost to increasing social pressures.
So, as the old miners’ song came to an end, the final line of the chorus seemed to speak to the choir’s higher intentions; a desire to halt the decline of male choral singing. “Take me home where my heart lies,” they intoned, “and let me, let me, let me sing again.”

National Association of Choirs
WW1 Commemoration Concert
Thursday 5th June 2014
Burton Town Hall

Derby Evening Telegraph December 2012
Soapbox - Sophie Churchill, National Forest Executive
Re: Concert at Sharpe's Pottery 

National Association of Choirs
News & Views - Spring 2012, No 197 p6
GMVC 2011 French Trip

National Association of Choirs
News & Views - Autumn 2010, No 193,  p12

Return of Len Clark's Batons

Ashby Times 8th October 2009