I joined New Mill Male Voice Choir in 1992 at the ripe old age of 20!!! I remember my first practice vividly. As I walked into New Mill Junior School with my dad, Doug Shuttleworth, I thought, is this really going to be for me? The rest of the choir were at least 20 years my senior. The first decision was which section of the choir best suited my voice and I can’t remember how but I ended up as a baritone. As the practice progressed I realised it was fun, the sound created was quite tuneful and the feeling that everyone really enjoyed singing came across loud and clear.
To take part in the World Choir event at Cardiff Arms Park we all had to learn a few numbers in Welsh. Myfanwy became a choir favourite. It was a real thrill to sing it in concert as no one in the audience expected a Yorkshire choir to sing so beautifully in Welsh.
As I got more comfortable singing with the choir I was ready for a new challenge and one night at practice Len announced plans to record a CD. He needed three soloists to sing the verses of ‘Pratty Flowers’, the ‘Holmfirth Anthem’. I’m not sure why but I jumped at the chance and was invited to Len’s house along with David Haigh and Richard Green for an audition. The audition went well and I was to sing the first verse. The day of the recording came and I stood in Low Moor church, Bradford, shaking like a leaf. From memory, I think it took two takes but listening to it afterwards I was very happy with the sound and I think it is still a popular recording and gets played at all the choir dinners.
My time with the choir was really special and singing for the Summer Wine cast and crew and the SAS down in London are just some of the highlights I remember. I left the choir in the mid nineties due to relocating to Wigan and now live in Talysarn, North Wales with my partner Elaine and two sons, Oliver and Sam. I have thought about joining a local Welsh Male Voice Choir but singing all the songs in Welsh puts me off. I believe understanding the words when singing is very important to the feeling that’s portrayed in the music. These days my singing is either on my guitar at home or in a local pub in Caernarfon singing Karaoke. I really enjoyed my time with New Mill Male Voice and hope they can keep moving forward and showing that singing is all about enjoyment and having fun together.