During my initial preparation (see here), I identified Steeton Male Voice Choir as a community I’d like to work with (music is something important to me) and a community that meets sufficiently frequently to make the assignment achievable within a reasonable timeframe. This post provides some background on the group and details my initial approach to them.
The strap line on their website is Steeton Male Voice Choir – a hundred years of harmony, a century of song. Very catchy and reflecting their impressive centenary in 2008. The website is an excellent source of information on the choir, explaining its history, activities, how to join and list of officers. It gives the impression of a very well organised community. It sums up what the choir are about very well:
The choir is in great demand, performing about 25 times a year in venues ranging from tiny chapels and churches to magnificent cathedrals, concert halls and arenas. The choir has contributed to massed male voice choir events in the Royal Albert Hall, The National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff and the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Sheffield Arena and St George’s Hall, Bradford. Small groups from the choir also go to entertain residents in Nursing Homes and Sheltered Housing complexes. In addition to its many concerts around Britain, has travelled to the continent on a number of occasions to sing in various places in Germany, Holland and Belgium receiving tremendous applause and making many new friends there. (SMVC website)
The group has a Youtube channel sharing some of its performances (linked below). This gives a good view of how they sound and look, though I’m sure the quality of recording does not do justice to the reality. They present a refined, disciplined image. One initial visual thought is that their red blazers dominate their images – because of the intensity of colour one is drawn to the blazers above the faces and personalities of the men of the choir. A black and white treatment (also reflecting the historical roots of the choir) could be an option. See the powerful image below:
Anne Powell’s book, Treorchy Male Choir (Archive Photographs: Images of Wales), looks to be a useful visual reference, so I’ve ordered a used copy and will consider it in some detail.
My initial approach to the choir was by email, including a musical visual sign off (see pdf here). After an initial response saying that they would most likely be interested but would need to discuss in their committee, I was delighted to receive positive confirmation a few days later, including and invitation to the choir’s scaled-down pre-Christmas performance in a local pub. The choir does not then meet again for rehearsals until 17th January; there are two hours of practice every Monday, followed by ‘refreshment of their vocal chords in a local pub’.
I am absolutely thrilled that the assignment has taken this direction after what was a disappointing inception!
Steeton Male Voice Choir [website] http://malevoicechoirs.net [accessed 9.12.16]
Steeton Male Voice Choir [Youtube]. Steeton Male Voice Choir sing The Colliers’ Requiem. Available from: https://youtu.be/aKPa6dQrAd0 [accessed 9.12.16]
Powell A (2001). Treorchy Male Choir (Archive Photographs: Images of Wales). The History Press.