What do the choristers think


What do I make of being in a choir? It’s been a big challenge. I have no musical experience and play no musical instruments. I joined on my own, encouraged by a few drinks with Len, who left almost immediately afterwards. I’ve found the choir complex socially. For example, buying someone a drink is not easy. Some of the guys in the choir have been in the same round since before I was born, and some of the rounds they inherited from their fathers. If you attempt to buy someone a drink you are asking them to betray their round-buddies, and if you accept a drink you are committing yourself, and your descendants, to a round for the next several hundred years. What do you do?

Stephen Dufton 2006

The best thing for me about the choir is the comradeship. There are all walks of life here and you feel you can bond to any one person or group. A prime example of this friendship was one year on our annual trip to Llandudno when one night, my room mate, Ibbo, retired to bed saying he’d leave the bedroom door ajar. Rod Gooch and Dave Haigh retired soon after, and, noticing our door open, promptly closed it. Yours truly thus found the door locked and loud tappings failed to wake an Ibbo comatose with beer. Rod and Dave heard though and emerged from next door. They said they’d seen the open door and closed it. Spotting my predicament, Dave said,‘We’ve a spare bed you can have’. I was undressed and in bed before he’d turned to shut and lock the door. True friends.

Peter Kennedy 2007

The main reason I have stuck it out being in NMMVC is because it is a great bunch of people to be around, all working on new songs together. I imagine it will never get boring. Everyone shows respect for each other. The choir aim is around choir members and not about competitions.

Mark Fisher 2006

I hadn’t given any great thought to choral singing, but after an invite to  the newly formed Male Voice Choir in New Mill I went to my first rehearsal in May 1992 and was immediately smitten.

The choir is a very important part of my life, where performing, although very enjoyable, is almost incidental to the excellent craic and fellowship afforded by the  rehearsals and social elements.

Rod Gooch 2005

I joined the choir in 1994. Despite dad playing euphonium in a brass band and my Junior School head overdosing us on Paul Robeson and Andy Stewart, I suffer from that relatively common choir malady known as dissonance. I’m also a member of the elite deaf section, so I don’t have a lot musical going for me. Could it be that I appreciate our spine-tingling harmonies simply through friendship and camaraderie? Well maybe not since I sit between Clive and Andy.

Geoff Gill 2005

Since schooldays I’ve enjoyed singing and performing. Harmonising with others is a great stress buster. I love the diversity of the choir membership and the warm, unforced, non-judgemental welcome that new members receive.

Graham Evans 2005

A member since day one when the current Chairman, that Dawson chap, dragged me along to the first rehearsal at Lydgates School. I was proud to be elected the choir’s first Chairman. Professional musician for most of my life. Music is still my hobby, so I have been blessed to have an enjoyable pastime which has also paid the bills.

Ray Thompson 2006

I came late to singing by accident, looking for pastimes in a new community having had a late career move south. In common with a lot of choir members I find a lot of pleasure in working with an entirely new subject and I’m sure we all find it quite therapeutic. [Grew up in S Africa and W Indies. Scotland to complete his education and get a career].

Bob Carrick 2006

Since the 1960s, I’d not thought much beyond my interest in folk music and singing. Then, in 1991, a chance question from a near neighbour, (D Shuttleworth – it’s all is fault!), “Would you like to join a male voice choir?” I turned up at Lydgate School and have never managed, nor wanted, to escape.

John Senior 2006

I’m still not totally sure of all my notes, particularly the choir standards most of which I’ve never heard before. In fact, up to the age of sixteen, coming from an Irish Catholic background, I naturally assumed everyone sang in Latin when they were sober.

Geoff Gill persuaded me to join New Mill. I hadn’t really thought about joining a choir until he started to nag me – nagged me for years, he did – and when I finally retired I had no excuses left.

Tom Ashworth 2011

I was encouraged to play golf by my father-in-law and have been a member at Woodsome for more than 30 years. Here I met Martin Dey and learned of New Mill Choir. He suggested I come along. That was 2007 so I am still one of the new boys. Golf and the Choir now keep me going. Whilst ever I have new songs to sing and words to learn I will keep my brain active and away from dementia. The best thing I would like to come across to you all is my love for music and the beneficial effects it can have on one’s life. Something that cannot easily be put in to words. One has to experience it to know.

Richard Barrand 2011

I have always loved music and enjoyed the rich sound of a male voice choir. For me, music is relaxing and healing and singing has a wonderful way of lifting the spirits. Thanks to Ed Turner, who brought me to a rehearsal. Despite little musical experience, the choir’s comradeship, picking up with old friends and making new ones, made me feel at home. Learning new skills has been a stretch, but very rewarding.

Robert Coombs 2011

An average student at school, I sang in the school choir and played trombone in the first junior band to be sponsored by the colliery band.

57 years later I joined the choir. It’s been wonderful enjoyment in the company of men from so many different backgrounds. I am proud and honoured to be part of New Mill Male Voice Choir.

Charlie Hall 2011

As a kid I had bright red curly hair and a bad stammer and went to a rough and not very good school. So I had a difficult time. However I discovered that when you sang, you didn’t stammer and so I joined the school choir. About seven years ago I met Donald Lister and Graham Dawson, who three years later encouraged me to join the choir; yes I know some of you may wish I hadn’t.

Bill Judd 2011

I’ve no musical background except for singing soprano in church before my voice broke and a failed attempt to learn the trumpet at high school. During my first six months with the choir I has grown in confidence and improved as a singer.

Paul Morgan 2010