Rev David Haywood, our Welfare Officer, Bass
I am one of the new boys from the old Moira MVC and I joined GMVC in the Bass section about a year ago. It is a great privilege to be in the choir and I do enjoy greatly our times together.
I have offered to the exec to be the Welfare Officer for the choir and I shall endeavour to care for the pastoral need of us all. So if you know of someone who is not well and maybe appreciate a visit at home or in hospital or even just a greetings card, then I am available to the choir. Hopefully my care will extend to wives as well if they are not well and would like a visit. I would sooner know two or three times than miss someone who needs a chat, so don’t be afraid to ask.
It is a new role within the choir and I thought it would take a bit of pressure off Derek in sending cards to members from the exec and the choir. As a new role I’m not sure how it will grow and develop but I suppose that’s up to the choir how much they use me or not. But I want to assure the whole choir of the importance of confidentiality and that I would not share anything with other members of the choir anything that I hear.
You can talk to me on Fridays or my home phone is 01530 588752, my mobile is 07969 980789 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I am here for the needs of the choir and for the individuals who make up the choir.
Clive Walton, Baritone
Well hello Gresley Male Voice Choir!!
My introduction into choir singing was, as I call it..”During the black period in my life” . Around 11 years ago, I found myself single again.
One of my customers introduced me to the Tamworth Male Voice Choir. This was just the camaraderie I needed. They placed me in the Baritone section, and that’s where I have remained.
After nine years with Tamworth MVC, I moved on, and after a short spell with Moira MVC, I found Gresley MVC on Youtube!!
Distance was obviously a problem, but kindly David Wright offered me a lift from his house in Measham, which is part of the way.
Gresley Male Voice Choir are an outstanding choir, and I’m looking forward to joining the ranks of the elite!
Tim Cox, Baritone
Lived in Thornbury in Gloucestershire,a country lad,until the early 80's and lived in Kent until moving to the Burton area . My interests over the years have been a mixture of painting, drawing, playing football, walking and tennis at the Ashby Road club.
Since then I've been doing long distance sponsored walks,the most recent being the 68 miles round the Isle of Wight walk in 24hrs !!
I like to spend time with my family and go travelling together, particularly fly drive trips in Europe or the US, as well as walking breaks and canal holidays.
I like a variety of music, a mixture of country&western, 70's music like The Eagles and Dire Straits, jazz, classical.I
enjoy trips to concerts like St Martins in the Fields.
I'm enjoying singing with the choir; good fun and the concerts are pleasure to be part of.
I have been joint alternate compere at concerts for some time
Peter Edwards, Bass
Peter has joined us recently after supporting us for years as a member of the St John's Ambulance Brigade, and attending many of our concerts in that capacity.
Mike Harris, Tenor
I moved to Bu»ton on Trent when the then National Coal Board decided to centralise their Scientific Service Laboratories on one site in Bretby. It was quite an upheaval for a family with 2 young children. One of the things we worried about missing most was Wales's cultural heritage, how wrong we were. there Is a wealth of talent in this area. From an early time we have attended GMVC concerts and have always rated the choir on a par with Valley’s Choirs, being "Gresley Groupies” also helped to relieve our homesickness'. Little did 1 know that 20+ years on a non-singer like me woutd be privileged enough to be allowed to join the choir as a new member.
So how did I come to join you as a singer? When I had a soprano voice I was called out to the front of the class to sing solo and got bullied mercilessly for being teacher petl So I refused to sing and got caned (the good old days!). Then in the Boys Grammar School a teacher wanted to restart the Boys choir, qulte a lot of B stream lads like myself thought we would go along to get out of lessons. I got to the last round of auditions but the teacher decided not to take a chance on me (we were a rowdy lot!), a decision I have always resented since, because I thought I couldn't sing.
When Gill and I moved to Burton ,we were determined to fit into the local community and took the children to the Local Theatre Group where they took part In pantos, I got roped into selling programmes, then set-crew back stage. I used to sing along off-stage and gradually became a bit more confident.(remember I am the only Welshman who can’t sing!!). As time went on I helped out with other Theatre and Local Operatic Societies and was eventually cajoled into singing on-stage in the chorus.
Later I joined the Burton Methodist Circuit Choir and was encouraged by one of their members to become a member of Derby Choral Union. They normally sing at Derby Cathedral but have made forays to Florence, Lucca, Cologne, Prague and Karlovy Vary. Occasional joint concerts with Leicester Philharmonic Choir have taken place at the De Montfort Hall and Symphony Hall. A small group of us joined The Really Big Chorus at Abbey Road Studio to record 2 small chorus parts for Karl Jenkins' "Peacemakers" CD, currently quite high in the Classic FM chart, which was a wonderful experience. The Really Big Chorus also gave me the chance to sing Handel's Messiah at the Albert Hall.
Now the hard work really begins. 12 weeks of rehearsals have shown me why GMVC is so good, hard work, dedication and a great team spirit, what a welcome I’ve had. I hope I will, in time, be able to come up to your high standards.
Mick Robey, Bass
Born at a very early age in Melbourne (South Derbyshire) the locals have put up with me ever since! Since leaving Melbourne Bucketbangers College of Knowledge, I joined Rolls Royce as an apprentice earning £2-8s-4d per week before graduating as a skilled machinist on top money (£21/week in 1965). I progressed into the drawing office before leaving for a Chief Draughtsman’s job at an engineering company in Kegworth. Following a serious illness in 1986 I decided to have a go at one of my ambitions - drive a bus! But not any bus as it turned out, it was a fully kitted out luxury executive affair with which I transported football teams, Rock Bands and Company Execs.
I still recollect (only just) my many vocal episodes as a boy soprano at my local United Reform Church in Melbourne, and as my voice got deeper I progressed into the Alto section before being finally dumped in the Bass. My second ambition was to sing in a Male Voice Choir, having heard Moira MVC on many occasions at our church.
The opportunity came in 1977 when we resurrected Melbourne Male Voice Choir. The highlights that followed will be hard to surpass - singing in all areas of England in both festivals and concert performances at such places as the GMEX Centre in Manchester, the Royal Albert Hall as well as other venues in the West End of London, Scarborough Spa Ballroom, Hartlepool Town Hall, Newquay, Cheltenham and the Isle of Wight to name a few. Eight foreign exchanges with a German choir must rate among the highlights of my life. And most of this happened whilst serving my 18 years as Secretary and 28 years on the Committee.
After leaving Melbourne MVC earlier this year I still yearned for male voice singing and approached Gresley MVC. I had to serve a 12 week trial and little did they know, so did Gresley! Well they came through with flying colours and now I look forward to many years of making new friends but more importantly, enjoyable “in tune” singing, and believe me, Gresley are good at it.
Just a little piece of information to finish on. My third and final ambition was to play in a Brass Band. This I have also achieved as I blow the Bb Tenor Trombone (not very well I might add) regularly in two Bands at the moment.
Malcolm Watson, Bass
I have always enjoyed singing but the high-point of my singing career as a solo singer undoubtedly happened when I was a boy treble. Congregations at Sunday School Anniversaries were thrilled by my renditions of all the usual musical pieces of the time, in fact I remember many of them being reduced to tears. My voice broke when I was about eleven and so the pinnacle of my solo singing was over when I was still quite young. I must have caused quite a stir with many of my solos but the only one that I remember was James Drummond Burns' " Hushed was the evening hymn" sang to the tune Samuel by Arthur Sullivan.
Since then human audiences have been unimpressed by my voice as a soloist, however over the years I have had intimate relationships with the udders of several thousand female bovines and they have thrilled to my renditions of " Guide me, O thou great Jehovah" at any time after 4 am onwards.
Finding it hard to accept that my singing was already over I joined the choir at the Burton Grammar School and was hugely influenced by the Rev. P.V. Appleton, who was the choir-master. My life in general has been blessed by contact with truly great people and he was certainly one of the greats. He was not only an inspirational music teacher but had an amazing voice. He was able to sing Bass, Baritone, Tenor and Alto and went on to be in- charge of music at Lincoln Cathedral.
Many years later my great friend John Newton, who was in the Bass Section, remembering my years in the school choir, asked me to come along to choir practice. This was back in 1978 and I joined the Baritone Section as I didn't think I was good enough to join a section containing such greats as Horace, Peter Bates and the late great Stephen Brown. However the Davies in the Baritone Section soon got fed-up with my growling and so it was that I became a Bass.
A career move to Dorset in 1982 meant that after quite a short time I had to hand in the "sugar-bag-blue" jacket. I was soon to find out that simply handing back the uniform was not sufficient to prevent the blood of this fabulous choir running through my veins. Eunice and I have not missed a Celebrity Concert since moving to Dorset and also joined the audience at the Albert Hall for the choir's second appearance at the concert of the Massed English Choirs of a Thousand Voices. We became patrons of the choir and thus became involved without troubling anyone with my growling.
Over the years I have been a member of the Leaside Singers, the Derbyshire Constabulary Male Voice Choir and under the tutorship of Peter Bates have sung at the Swadlincote Messiah since 1998. I am hugely lucky to have had many "highs" in my life and that first time taking part in the Messiah was certainly one of them, however it was also a day of excrutiating sadness as that very morning I had to bury my amazing working collie Jem.
As many of you know I live at Tutbury and nearby lives John Angus. I have no idea how this happens but almost every time I walk up the Tutbury High Street I bump into JA. After about 250 times of asking, and having found out from someone in the choir, that I had left the DCMVC, he not very gently, persuaded me to attend practice and thus return to what, in my mind, is the " Best Choir in the World".
Graeme Drayton, Baritone
I was born in Scunthorpe in March 1984. I lived in Scunthorpe for 26 years then I met my partner (now wife) in Derbyshire on September 4 2009.
I first knew about the GMV choir when I went along with my 10 year old step son (Lewis Whetton) who is in the boy's choir, and I asked about joining the male voice choir in June and I have now been made a member, which I am proud of and thoroughly enjoy.
I moved over to Swadlincote in January 2010.
The first time I started singing was when I sang karaoke when I was 17. When I was 22 I started playing gigs, whilst playing the guitar. I joined my 1st band at 23 which was a 60's band called 'Golden Age' and then joined a Country band, which I left to join an soft rock band. Now working as a solo artist writing songs.
I first got into music when I heard The Beatles 1962 - 1965 Red Album about 7 years ago, and I just had to get a chord book to start playing these fab songs. I brought a red falcon guitar for £60 in Scunthorpe and just started to learn the guitar every day, then it got to five hours per night. Then after about 2 - 3 years, I started to write my own songs after hearing a CD of the late great Buddy Holly. I have now since then wrote over 32 songs.
Peter Cooke, Baritone
I was born, and have lived in Moira all my life. I went to Moira, Donisthorpe and Ashby Ivanhoe schools. I left school at sweet sixteen! and
started at Pegson's Coalville as an engineering apprentice. After this I worked at the factory and out on sites installing machinery in the
UK and abroard, mainly in Spain, Africa, Sri Lanka and the USA. I retired on my 65th birthday at the end of April 2008.
Shortly afterwards, Geoff (our Chairman) , who I do battle with frequently on the badminton court, persuaded me to come along to a choir rehearsal.
My first reaction was "Blimey!, Youre too good for me!!". However after more cajoling I did the 12 weeks probationary period , and thanks to Eric, the late members Ian and Bryan in the baritones , plus Karl , our MD, I joined in October 2008.
I made my debut at the Celebrity Concert at Burton Town Hall, so there was no pressure there then!!, but I enjoyed it after the nerves
had died down. I find it hard learning new music, but most rewarding when it all come stogether at concerts.
Previously, I only ever sang with the Sunday School and at he "Sermons Days" and then with the adult choir at St Hilda's church in Moira, 45 years ago. The church has since been demolished !!
I have other sporting interests, having played cricket with Rawdon Colliery for 40 years. I am a season ticket holder at Leicester City and watch Burton Albion occasionally.
Philip Bath, Second Tenor
Terry Jones, Second Tenor
I spent all my childhood in “The Avenues” Midway, Swadlincote, the eldest of 6 children.All my working life has been centred on the electrical – instrumental control field, serving my apprenticeship at Drakelow Power Station. Over the years I moved on to Allied Breweries in Burton on Trent, Arabian American Oil Company in Saudia Arabia, Tasman Paper Company in New Zealand and finally for my last 25yrs at Rolls Royce, Derby from where I retired in 2008.
I sang my first solo in 1955 at the age of 10yrs at Rowland Memorial Methodist Chapel, Midway and then at 14yrs of age played Scrooge in Granville Secondary School’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”
I didn’t take up singing and acting again until I joined Ashby Operatic Society (now Ashbeian Musical Theatre Group) in 1997, when I played the role of Bennie, the news reporter, in “The Desert Song.” My last show at Ashby was in 2005 when I enjoyed playing the role of Moonface Martin in “Anything Goes.”
I also sing in a group called Out of the Hat based at The Magic Attic, Sharpe’s Pottery, Swadlincote.
I joined GMVC in 2008 after taking early-retirement from Rolls Royce. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge that singing in the choir gives, and have made many new friends, and also resurrected friendships from my childhood.
I look forward to being with the choir for many years to come!
Robert Grummett, Baritone