Thursday, 26 September 2019

Russian 'flash mobs' and national anthems - don't forget 'The Temperance Seven'

Local music society looks at some Russian 'flash mobs' and national anthems - don't forget 'The Temperance Seven'
A recent local music appreciation session at Holmfirth U3A covered 'Russian Flashmobs' and 'Anthems'.
  The flashmobs appeared informally in car parks, high street shops and supermarkets. There were also formal choir concert excerpts and small groups who simply turned up and sang. Moscow, Siberia, Leningrad and others. There were a couple of points for me. First the audiences. The flashmob audiences were surprised and delighted and at the finish joined in. Presumably the concerts were performed to audiences, but they were heard not seen. The small groups sang to themselves with no one listening. I've experienced this in Inverie, Scotland and at the Male Choir Festival, Cornwall. Get into a circle and enjoy harmony and singing for their own sakes - people can listen if they wish but it's not mandatory.
  Second, singing in Russian. We couldn't understand, but we were an equally delighted audience. The flashmobs included acrobats and everyone was smiling and moving. Infectious. The concerts and small groups had to rely on their singing quality and choice of music. Kalinka and The Red Army Choir didn't inspire me. A girls' choir was marginally better. The small groups, all girls, went for tight harmonies and gentle music. They moved and smiled and looked at each other. I could have listened to more. It's vocalisation (clic and see Rod Williams) - music and voices and body language and an audience that wants to do the same.
  What makes a good anthem? Much of the following: large or small audiences having an inspired experience, instinctive, emotional, not planned, people with something in common - young, old, generational, country, district, oppression, triumph (I could go on) - adopted by sports and other organisations, traditional or modern music, dramatic chorus.
  So again it's the audience that confers power to an anthem. And again voices alone or with music. Not always in recognisable language. I defy anyone to be down the Arms Park, Cardiff before an international and not be moved by 90,000 singing the Welsh National Anthem.
  Examples - God Save Our/The Queen, Rule Brittania, Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem.
  With apologies may I add Born in the USA (Springsteen), You'll Never Walk Alone (Gerry and the Pacemekers), My Generation (The Who).
  Is your fist pumping into the air? It's an anthem. The audience says so.


New Mill MVC are in concert at Huddersfield Town Hall with 

The Temperance Seven on 12th October



Sunday, 22 September 2019

Will Noble and family - don't forget THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN

Roderick Williams has featured previously on the blog - choral singing. Lately, his radio4 podcasts outlined some social history behind singing - (clic on A Singer's Guide to Britain). Songs are about people and places and belonging. Whenever and wherever their origins they help us make sense of our world. Folk songs especially seem to define who we are. Among pieces of welsh singing, Billy Bragg talking about English identity and Robbie Burns, guess who pops up? Cuthbert and Lydia Noble, children of the famous Holme Valley Will Noble, with songs about the local area and dry-stone walling.
Barry Meeres and I share experiences of cycling a ridiculous distance up and down Holme Moss (clic on here for mountain bike challenge) and a dry-stone walling course up on Crosland Moor (clic on here for dry-stone walling). We enjoyed the walling.
  Will Noble released an album of his favourites, including the Watter Rattle made infamous by non other than our Chairman, John Mallinson. Cuthbert and Lydia also feature. (For a review, clic on). The walls they repair in their day job have endured since the 18th century when the government sanctioned enclosures.

Clic here for an album sample


New Mill MVC are in concert at Huddersfield Town Hall with 

The Temperance Seven on 12th October



Saturday, 6 July 2019

Ain't Misbehaving - not at my age anyway - a new New Mill song for the 'Temperance Seven' Concert


'Fats Waller wrote this oft-recorded jazz tune with lyricist Andy Razaf and composer Harry Brooks for the off-Broadway revue Connie's Hot Chocolates. Even though the narrator is lonely, he promises to stay true to his lover and he "ain't misbehavin" by staying out late or flirting with other women. Waller told Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (of Jack Benny fame) that he wrote the song on a miniature piano while in jail on an alimony charge. His lawyer sold the song to a publisher for $250 so Waller could pay back his alimony and get out of jail.'

From songfacts

'“Ain’t Misbehavin” has resurfaced many times over the years and interpreted by many jazz artists, including Anita O’Day, Nat “King” Cole, Django Reinhardt and Dave Brubeck. It was also adapted as a rockabilly tune by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1957 and sung by actor Burt Reynolds in the comedy film Lucky Lady (1975).'

From jazziz

We have just started rehearsing this song, as a joint item I think. It's a bit odd at the moment, but we'll get the hang of it. Quiet period for the choir just now.

October 12th 
Town Hall Huddersfield


Monday, 20 May 2019

The Northern Choir at Wakefield Cathedral




Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Gala Charity Concert with Holmepride Community in Action

Gala Charity Concert with Holmepride Community in Action


Holy Trinity Church, HD9 1HA - Sat. May 25, 2019 7:15 pm

Holmepride Community in Action is a constituted group that was set up in 2017 for local people to improve all aspects of living within the Holme Valley.
They have been involved in many projects where they have improved the environment and amenity value of, for instance, Victoria Park, St John’s Church, Upperthong and the closed Rose and Crown car park in Almondbury.
 They have been highly successful in the local community,winning the Holme Valley Parish Council Community Champion award in 2017 and
HRH The Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award in 2018.
The Choir is delighted to perform this Concert, raising funds to help this Group carry on their fine work in the Holme Valley.

Please visit the choir website to book tickets online.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Swinglo - guest Steve Flynn drops in to write a post

Steve Flynn writes about Upper Denby concert

Spring Voices

New Mill MVC & Denby Dale Ladies' Choir

St John the Evangelist Church, Upper Denby. - Sat. March 16, 2019 7:15 pm

First concert of the year!

The rain fell ceaselessly all day but two Choirs performed admirably in Upper Denby. The joint items, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Tell me its not True from the musical Blood Brothers went down a storm (sorry!) with the audience and by the end of the concert it had stopped raining! Just shows you what singing can do.
After eight years this was Sarah’s last concert as Musical Director of the Ladies’ Choir. Liz, Chair of Denby Dale Ladies’, recalled the achievements of the Choir since her appointment. Consistent competition success has been a feature over the years and augmented the Choir’s reputation. However, the overriding memory will be the fun the Choir have enjoyed during both rehearsal and concert performances.
watch the following performances

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Swinglo celebrates the day the pipe organ came to town

The organ in Birks car park

clic on this link


Last Wednesday afternoon, I was minding my own business taking in a few rays on my upper deck. Suddenly a pipe organ played, sounding close enough to be at the bottom of my garden - my lower deck. We were transported to the fairground. I looked over the fence and there it was in the back of a van.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Swinglo captures New Mill relaxing

Swinglo takes his camera to Upper Denby church and finds the men in relaxing mood


We have just had our AGM. Well orchestrated and brief.

Our secretary's report was interesting. We have recently discussed the Peterborough experience - several choirs developed and run by the musical director. And not just the music. He manages their various committees as well. Apparently our conclusion was the Peterborough set up was not all it was claiming and not a model New Mill wished to follow.

I didn't hear a formal strategic New Mill direction.

There were however several clear messages.
      New Mill is a village choir.
      Fellowship is the pivot around which the choir thrives.
      Our repertoire will be entertaining.


   

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Swinglo joins The Northern Concert Choir to sing Faure's Requiem and Vivaldi's Gloria


Laurel and Hardy join NMMVC workshop in Scarboro
Laurel and Hardy tribute, Scarborough
So I'm Dave Walker, baritone, (the one on the left) from New Mill MVC and I have volunteered to help Viv out with content on Facebook. I enjoy writing so it's not much of a chore. The one on the right is Clive Hetherington, bass, another NMMVC member who is singing with The Northern Choir.

A cold wet Sunday afternoon in the back streets of Skelmanthorpe. Possibly not your ideal landscape for Faure and Vivaldi rehearsals, but it is what it is. I cannot remember where I first saw this venture advertised. It's the brainchild of Jane Hobson and Dan Timmins, both accomplished singers and choir musical directors. I've been aware of a personal need to sing choral pieces and this is a chance. Well over one hundred have signed up. A bit of a squeeze for rehearsals at Skelmanthorpe Methodists, but probably okay for our two concerts at Sheffield and Wakefield Cathedrals. Faure's Requiem and Vivaldi's Gloria are the planned performances. Two thirds or so will then move on to Malta for three further concerts.

The pieces are in latin and to say I don't get latin is an understatement. I was so bad at school they didn't waste their money on an 'O' level. There are translations, but the Requiem can be a bit dark. So the words are notes to hit. Vocalising - a recent article in the Times described a number of choirs who simply turn up and sing, with a conductor, but it seems to be primarily about enjoying making sounds and pitch could be secondary. Maybe choral music in latin is well-organised vocalisation. I'm happy with that.

Homework is expected and rehearsal aids are plentiful and helpful.

Parking is not a problem around the chapel, but I wonder what the residents think?

So far so good.The Northern Choir rehearsal sings Faure's Requiem and Vivaldi's Gloria

Dave Talboys is practising beer drinking, watched by Chris. Both are from Thurstonland Community Choir. Clive's attention has wandered.

I'm with David Millward (also sings with Holmfirth Choral), tenor, and Alan Brierley with two black eyes, musical director (also with the U3A choir).

Viv did wonder whether Facebook could make a feature of all the choirs represented in this venture. I wondered if some pics like the above might do the same with some text?

Friday, 22 February 2019

The Beach Boys - Bob Carrick inspires Shallilo-Foreveryoung with his tale of Anglesey


Scottish exile tells a Welsh story
We moved south of the border in 1991 and very soon after arriving I joined the new Mill Male Voice Choir which was in its early days. That was a breath of fresh air and an entirely new subject for me. Life was good so we better have a holiday but where to go. We had usually holidayed on Scottish Islands.

A kindly neighbour and a Welshman across the road suggested Anglesey. Not too far and friendly folk they said. With Celtic blood in the veins we thought we would be okay. And it’s an island.

A search of adverts revealed ‘secluded cottage on a farm’. Just about right. Booked for two weeks.

We arrived at the appointed time to find a delightful cottage beautifully renovated and just ideal. However its seclusion meant that it was the last in a line of byres at the end of the farm yard. By default we were part of Owens farm which he ran with two teenage sons and the district nurse who was also his wife.

While we enjoyed exploring Anglesey (or Ynys Mon as they call it) it was inevitable that we became involved in the farm. There were 80 cows to be milked twice a day and a bull who had separate privileges. On top of that the boys on the farm were bored and needed a hand to fix the quad bike which was probably their only amusement.

Owen soon got us involved by suggesting that I give a helping hand at milking time. Green wellies and a green overcoat with one sleeve were duly supplied.

Owen said I, “There is a sleeve missing on this coat.” “It’s okay boyo, it will be good.” All was made clear as we entered the (very modern) milking shed and stepped down into the pit. The cows walked on to feeding stations along the outside walls on either side thereby presenting the business end towards Owen, two boys and myself in the pit. The uncovered arm was used to apply a group of suction cups of the right number and then move swiftly out of the way lest the unexpected occur. So that’s why!

A level of skill was required in observing the presence of an older lady on the milking station and improving the efficiency of the suction cups by placing a hefty pebble on the suction cup support thus providing a useful extension and a higher yield.

The boys were highly amused at my presence and were quite overcome with laughter at my applying the milking device upside down – but were pleased that their monotonous routine had been changed and the boredom relieved at my expense. To relieve his own boredom Owen would start singing in the pit (in Welsh) but I soon got the gist of it and we discussed the merits of Male Voice Choirs which were plentiful thereabouts.

That was okay until the next day when Owen announced that the family were going to the Welsh Agricultural Show for four days – 80 cows twice a day and the bull – but don’t worry said Owen someone will come in . Okay? “Fine” said I.

Owen called in the next day to say they were ready to leave. Since my cottage had the only serviceable bath/shower on the farm he informed me that the district nurse had managed a shower under the hose in the milking shed. “Too much information Owen” I said.

Upon his return after the show Owen invited us to see a new born calf which was poorly. We pushed our way past 80 cows and the bull to see a small calf which was all but gone. Owen produced what seemed to be a piece of hose and a bag full of warm milk. The milk was then poured down the throat through the hose and almost immediately the calf’s eyes cleared and very soon after the poor thing stood up and sought out its mother. A sight probably rarely seen by city dwellers but common to the skill and presence of the farmer.

By this time we were buddies and would I like to go to choir practice with Owen? “Which choir would that be?” I asked. “Cor Y Meibion y Traeth” he said in Welsh – the choir of the men and the beach – “we call ourselves the Beach Boys.” Off we went to the local school in Pentraeth where I was announced and made to stand to receive the warm Welsh welcome from 70 or so choristers.

Their evening was being used to perfect a rendition for the forthcoming Eisteddfod. The offering to be made was Calon Lan. The conductor was half the age of any of the choristers and he had absolute control. There was no talking. Each section was taken aside and rehearsed until perfect and the whole piece performed and again. That process occupied the three hours of the practice. There followed a welcome pint but not many of the choir stayed on – maybe because there was a bit of travelling to do.

They were a proud group of men in a choir founded in 1969 and with a membership of 80 at its peak. They had enjoyed a deal of success at the Eisteddfod over the years and enjoyed tours to Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, and the USA. Like New Mill they had raised funds to support tsunami victims and other worthy causes. Such was the local tradition and dedication that they had the same accompanist for 46 years.

Regrettably Beach Boys are no longer gathered. They had failed to find a new conductor and realised that their membership was ageing and so late in 2016 decided to go out at the top – that’s nearly 50 years of singing. Time passes by and it is salutary to recall that I met them over 25 years ago. On the positive side there are still three male voice choirs thriving on Anglesey.

We have been to Anglesey many times since and the memories of that trip are still vivid – Owen’s friendship, 80 cows and a bull, how to milk and how not to, how to fix a quad bike, the recovery of the calf and not least the district nurse and I still don’t know the words of Calon lan.


Bob Carrick..


Monday, 11 February 2019

Swinglo updates on New Mill MVC


Alan the MD has taken a second holiday within a month - lucky him - he didn't have any holiday last year. Anyway, a double dose of Elizabeth which we all enjoy.

Our new pieces from the Scarborough workshop weekend (in no particular order):

  • Hallelujah - 1984 Leonard Cohen song. The draft contained 80 verses. Covered by lots of singers, including Alexandra Burke and Jeff Buckley who topped the UK singles chart in December 2008 - first time ever to have the same song at 1 and 2. Leonard was number 34.
  • Always on My Mind - top 20 hit for Elvis 1972, John Wesley Riles 1979, Willie Nelson 1982, Pet Shop Boys 1987. 300 recordings by dozens of artists. Elvis released it within weeks of separating from Priscilla.
  • "Anthem" from Chess - we first sang this back in Llandudno days which is pre 2008. The song describes the feelings of Soviet Russian chess challenger, Anatoly Sergievsky, when he defects. A concept album and later musical. First sung by Tommy Koberg in 1984.
  • Love Changes Everything - released as a single in 1989 from musical Aspects of Love composed by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. A love song.
  • All for Me Grog - traditional folk song originally popular with sailors, later adopted by folk music performers and pub singers. A tale of sacrificing everything for drink and tobacco.

The New Mill MVC music committee is going to function throughout the year. Get your ideas in quick. I've already suggested we bring back Softly and Londonderry Air.

Sadly three recent funerals and many thanks to those who donated generously.

Lots of positive feedback from the Mrs Sunderland workshop day featuring the Messiah at the Town Hall.


Friday, 25 January 2019

Voice Coaching


This hoary old chestnut has come round again.

It started with Elizabeth and Colin Jones of Cantorion. They were at college together. Then two or three more, but none seemed to go down too well.

It is still probably a good idea given where we finished in the competition in Cornwall. I think it also fits with the notion 'what sort of a choir do we want to be in 5 years time'. The Peterborough philosophy of continuous learning and improvement.

The breathing techniques and engaging the core are not contentious. 'Singing is about a series of vowels interrupted by consonants' is not controversial. That is possibly enough for one session.

Sarah is great.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Ed Turner - A Cry to Men - first published Summer 2008


Hi, I’m Edward Turner, one of the newer recruits to the choir. I began as a boy soprano and joined Honley Male Voice Choir in my late teens. Sport and studying at Huddersfield Technical College unfortunately forced me to give it up.
  As I have a captive audience I want to say few words to all you members and your partners. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 55 and would like to make you all aware that it does not just happen to ‘old men’. Any symptoms, however trivial and you really must visit your gp. Early diagnosis is an important factor here and generally a simple blood test can say you definately do not have prostate cancer and even a positive does not necessarily mean that you have it.
  I have been fortunate in that I have had excellent treatment both from HRI and Cookridge, though things have kicked in again and hence more treatment. Please, all you do if there is a doubt get checked out, and partners, do nag the men to seek advice.
  Prostate cancer is thought by many to be easy to treat and is quite curable. Sadly, I know that is not always the case. I have recently lost my brother-in-law at a young age and he was diagnosed with the same units of cancer in his blood as me. So come on all you men and don’t let it happen to you. The prostate’s not the real problem. It’s the secondary cancer that gets you, if you leave it too late.
  Gentlemen, out of nearly 50 men in our choir I am sure there must be others with the problem. Let’s be open about it and encourage as many men as possible to get an early diagnosis.
  I’ve recently had to give up my sport because of aches and pains, but I still play tennis twice a week.

(A Cry to Men is also the title of an anonymous 19th century Irish poem, written by a woman, about the dominance of men in everyday life. Now there’s a perspective)

Ed's funeral took place today at lunchtime 21.1.2019


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

New Mill in Scarborough Jan 2019