Churchdown Male Voice Choir
50 years of Singing
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Some of the singers shown in the above photograps are still with the choir, many have died but we are sure there are still some who may be able to identify some that we have lost touch with. If you can recognise any of the members we would be glad if you would contact the website.
Formed in 1965 by a small group of enthusiasts and under its original name of Churchdown Male Chorus, the choir's first conductor was Roy Dorrington. Under its current name, the choir's next conductor was John Stead, who handed over to John Blenkinsopp in 1974.
Several pianists have accompanied the choir through the years. Richard Hatton was followed by David Mitchell, Mary Carter, Peggy Brooks, Sister Mary Morton, Margaret Holloway, Jane Harper and from 1998 until April 2010, the brilliant Pam Taverner. Pam was valued for her accompaniment to the choir and to the choir soloists, her own solo performances and her willingness to become involved in all sorts of music making.
In 2000, Ralph Barnes joined the choir and within a few years was appointed Assistant Musical Director. Ralph has brought a new dimension to the choir through his youth and enthusiasm. He is also a soloist, and his lovely tenor voice is much appreciated by both choir and audiences. In 2008 Ralph was appointed Deputy MD. He is now the choir's Musical Director
Musical Director John Blenkinsopp provided a wonderful example of musicianship and dedication for more than 35 years. He worked hard with the choir to produce as fine a sound as possible and introduced to the repertoire songs not normally sung by male voice choirs. Extended works from the classics, songs to accompany soloists and operatic choruses sung with orchestras and bands have all been featured in the last few years. In 2004, Cheltenham Arts Council presented John with the Opera Cup in recognition of his contribution to music in the county.
March 2010 saw the retirement of John Blenkinsopp and In August of the same year Ralph Barnes was promoted to Musical Director. At the same time Pam Taverner left the choir and her place was taken by the very able Mike Haines. Mike left in June 2012 to persue further interests and the assistant accompanist James Quinn has now taken over as choir accompanist.
The choir has always enjoyed appearing with soloists of the highest quality. Many local singers have sung with the choir, and a particular favourite is Sue Black from Malvern, who has been steadfast in her support for the choir over 30 years. With her beautiful soprano voice and sparkling stage presence she has charmed audiences in this country and on tour.
Over the years the choir has had a great privilege of sharing the stage with many great singers and performers.The choir combined with both the National Association of Choirs (NAC) and the English Association of Male Voice Choirs (EAMVC), and concert guests have included; Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Cliff Richard, Dennis O'Neill, Max Boyce, Elaine Paige, Michael Dennison, Honor Blackman and many others