Our Christmas gig in the Sanderson Arcade on Saturday afternoon brought our singing year to a very successful conclusion!
I thought I’d reflect a bit on what we have collectively achieved this year.
On behalf of the choir I’d like to thank Jon for his inspirational leadership, encouragement and enthusiasm (and for halving the average age of the choir!!!) and both Sandra and Janice who have kindly stepped in at various times when Jon has been pursuing his day job as a professional musician .
I’d like to thank all those who have arranged gigs on our behalf this year. Concerts are the life blood and raison d’etre of the choir - to me there is no point in practicing if we don’t have gigs to perform in. I’d like to thank the committee for their quietly diligent work and to all members who, to a man, have provided such a positive feeling within the choir - it’s been such a pleasure coming to our Wednesday night sessions - we really do have a special camaraderie!!!
Please pass my sincere thanks to all your families who have supported us through out the year and have let us go out to enjoy ourselves on Wednesday nights.
And finally I’d like to thank all members - but most especially the newer members for their considerable efforts to learn our repertoire (including the Christmas repertoire!!). We’ve all been through that learning curve in our time and it isn’t always a comfortable feeling. With everything else going on in our lives it’s not easy and we really do appreciate your time and dedication.
So last Saturday our singing succeeded in bringing two ladies to tears and David M swore he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in the audience - what was in that mulled cider David??? What a way to finish the year!!!
Thank you friends - love and best wishes to you and your families. Wishing you all the best for Christmas and 2024
Onwards and upwards brilliant VoiceMale - see you all on the 17th January.
Good day fellow choristers.
A good session last night. A bit of a hairy journey for the Rothbury lads from Coquetdale to Morpeth (I think the gritters must’ve been on their tea break!!) but no problem getting back home. Chris P mentioned that he had similar difficulties getting down from Embleton - winter is upon us. This morning the skies are full of snow and it’s being deposited quite generously on the ground - quite appropriate then that we’re entering the festive season.
With Jon and Sandra we had a well needed run through what we are doing for the Warkworth gig and we have another chance to practice those songs at our regular practice next Wednesday. It’s a bit different getting used to singing with Sandra’s squeeze box for accompaniment - but I think we got used to it in the end and hopefully didn’t sound too bad.
However our first challenge is our gig for the Christmas Tree Festival at Blyth next Tuesday. The venue is St Cuthberts Church, Plessey Road, Blyth NE 24 3BE - I’m sure Jon will be providing the set list and arrival time in due course (soon!!) - then we’ll all need to get back to learning the words as best we can and practice our warbling in the shower so that we’re all match fit for the concerts ! I’m sure we’ll be allowed our (discreet) black folders but my suggestion would be that if you’re fairly sure of the words then stand in the front row and if you’re less sure of the words then as normal stand in the back row - looks more professional
Have a great weekend guys - let’s hope the weather doesn’t interfere too much with your sporting () activities - and anyway, if you’re stuck for something to do why not spend an extra hour in the shower learning all those words and harmonies??? You know it’s good for you
Onwards and upwards VoiceMale
With best wishes from a snowy Upper Coquetdale - see yous all on Tuesday in sunny Blyth.
Fellow chanteurs, grandes cantantes, tolle Sänger,
Fabulous turnout last night - 24 of us plus Jon!!! But winter is on its way - out of all of us it was only Dave E who was brave enough to still show his knees - (just saying Michael R!!!) - with only one singing week to go before November is finally upon us, my fiver seems safe for now😊😂👍🏼
Which reminds me, we’re having a well deserved mid term break on the 25th October so don’t turn up then!!!! But we ARE still singing next Wednesday.
So what did we sing last night - well we all went together to pick/pull/pluck Wild Mountain Thyme (Tyne😂!) - don’t forget that 2 second gap in the penultimate chorus chaps!!! - no doubt Paul will be sending us the recording this morning. How about we sing it with a reggae beat next week 🎉🎶👍🏼🥳. And where has this year gone - we’re already singing Logs to Burn 🔥 🪵 - and judging by the ground frost in Upper Coquetdale this morning it’s actually quite appropriate!!! The central heating is back on 😳😳 and the log burner has already had quite a few excursions this autumn 🔥🪵.
By the way can we all club together to put Jon on a marketing course. He valiantly tried to interest us in a concert 🎵🎻🪕🎸🎼, held in the dark with his mates, in a tunnel, in Newcastle, in October, with no heating or seats, spooky songs, cobwebs, running, dripping water and plenty of rats…..Now call me old fashioned but I have to say that did not quite float my boat. As the senior member in the choir, George, could you take Jon to one side and explain why that might not be the best sales pitch for a gig this year😂. On the other hand Pete made a good fist of selling his band who are playing at the Alnwick Brewery this Saturday afternoon - in the dry, with heating and an endless supply of beer🍺, with seats and guaranteed rat free….methinks, a no brainer!!!!
You might have picked up that the choir is applying for a grant from Morpeth Council. As part of that you’ll be aware Paul has sent out an anonymous survey to all members to get our opinions on the benefits of the choir. I have to say the results are very heart warming. Here’s an example of some of the responses:
- 100% of the responses said it gave them friendship and camaraderie
- Almost half said they wanted to join a group of men in a shared activity
- someone said “Very fulfilling to be part of a group of like minded men”.
There are many more, invariably, positive comments. Thanks for responding to Paul.
In putting together the application for a subsidy from Morpeth David M found an interesting bit of historical information. In 2001 when the choir was formed, membership fees were £60 a term - 22 years later our current fees are £70 a term - I’m not a mathematician but I’d say with an inflation level like that we should be pushing for David to be our next Chancellor of the Exchequer!!😂👍🏼😊🥸. Big thanks to Paul and Gez for pulling the application documents together. It gets submitted next week. Fingers crossed 🤞 that it’s successful. It will help us big time!!!
Any way enough rambling on. Gentlemen, have a great weekend!!!
Onwards and upwards VoiceMale👆 🚀 👍🏼🍺🎵🎶🎼.
See you all next Wednesday.
My VoiceMale chums, mes braves, gode venner
On the 25th October 1415, 6,000 plucky Geordie archers taught 25,000 of France’s finest men a lesson and hammered them in the Battle of Agincourt - fast forward roughly 608 years to 4th October 2023 and a similar result occurred at St James Park when the Toon took the French to pieces with a 4 - 1 win in front of 52,000 delirious fans . HWTL. (In the interests of inclusivity note Sunderland also won 2-0 ).
On this day HS2 was cancelled and the dualling of the A1 north of Morpeth (for a whole 13 miles) was confirmed - on balance it was arguably a canny night for the north east albeit the dualling of the A1 will probably take 10 years!!
Meanwhile in downtown Morpeth, 23 dedicated members of VoiceMale were singing their hearts out with The Song Goes On. It’s a fabulous song - but I must admit I personally found it a real test of stamina for my voice - maybe I needed some Honest Malt Liquor or a Tyneside Blond to help my throat cope . We went back to experimenting with Will You Go Lassie Go but as the recording Paul sent out today showed we need a bit more practice on that one!!! Meanwhile I confess concentration may have occasionally lapsed amongst some of us as the latest score, with mobiles on silent, rippled round the throng - apologies Jon - but it was indeed a happy outcome.
And then the evening culminated in a visit to the Tap & Spile for some liquid relaxation and catching up on the weeks craic - a really good night.
On a none related matter, today was wor lasses birthday - and in a completely unselfish manner () I booked a tour and tasting for us both round the Ad Gefrin distillery in Wooler followed by a meal in their bistro. I can highly recommend it for a visit - really nice people, great modern architecture (for an industrial building) and excellent food and drink to consume. Thankfully wor lass loved it - specially when it came to the tasting part of the day!!! The distillery would be a fabulous location for VoiceMale to sing in - and who knows we may get a chance to do that sometime!!!
Anyway, nuff for now. Dave was still showing his knees last night (as was Michael R!) - both hardy souls. I reckon my fiver is safe with Dave (ie no long trousers worn till November) - don’t let me down Dave!!!
Have a great weekend guys - onwards and upwards VoiceMale
See you next week.
Friends, fellow warbler’s , ye mariners all️ and anyone who happens to be called Riley or Bold,
We had a super night last night, singing a big new anthem - The Song goes on - what a magic piece of music specially arranged by Jon for us - and thanks to Paul for recording that and other songs and emailing the results to us - it’ll have cheered Des up in his hospital bed to hear such lusty singing - but think how much better it’ll be when he is able to rejoin us again!!! The song was written by Mick Ryan for or about Cyril Tawney. Of course it matters not a jot to us where it came from as we all thoroughly enjoyed belting out the harmonies and the sound of Jon’s latest crowd pleaser!!!! That song is bound for VoiceMale Glory, that song ………
And the return of Ye mariners and Bold Riley were also welcomed - a good opportunity to expunge that stale air from out of the lungs and get some good endorphins flowing.
As some of you may know I missed last week as I was up doing missionary work with the sweaties across the border and so I was unable to personally welcome our latest recruit - Rob Forsyth to the group. However the rest of you must’ve done a good job in making him feel at home as he looked very well settled in to the baritones last night. You’re very welcome Rob and we hope you enjoy the ambience, the humour, the singing and the camaraderie which we hope you’ll find in abundance in VoiceMale.
Well winter (or at least Autumn) is well on the way - darker nights and cooler weather resulted in only one pair of exposed knees on show last night - Ladbrokes are taking bets on when Dave E will finally succumb to wearing long pants - a fiver says it’ll be at least November before it happens!!!
We talked about forthcoming gigs last night. At the moment we have no gigs planned in October and November, but we have 3 in December to note for your diary. December will be a busy month for us - all the following are evening events:
5th December (Tuesday) - Blyth gig
6th December (Wednesday) - normal practice Morpeth.
8th December (Friday) Warkworth gig - joint gig with Wercas Folk
13th December (Wednesday) Xmas party - Tap n Spile (end of term!!!)
15th December - (Friday) Wideopen gig
25th December (Monday) - Santa comes to play
10th January (Wednesday) - VM resumes for winter term
There was a good post match turnout at the T&S and for those toon fans amongst us a great result against Man City awaited. Washed down with a couple of pints of Yorkshire Blond, those already buzzing endorphins helped round off a very pleasant night indeed!!!!
See yous aa’ll next week lads. Well sung last night - great effort all round!!!
Onwards and upwards VoiceMale️.
Thu, 14 Sept, 11:03
Don’t mention it to ASLEF but the VoiceMale super locomotive 🚂 🚂 is Bound for Glory and will be chugging in to and out of the Aln Valley choo choo station on Sunday lunchtime - all aboard for Shenandoah, Tilbury Town (or is it Alnwick Town this week?) and Muduptomyknees. No Daydreaming lads and the words should Only, as much as possible, be remembered for all the hard working sessions we’ve had on a Wednesday night.
Promises to be much fun - meet at 11am in VoiceMale uniform - black with a splash of red - ready to go singing to the massed throng in the Engine shed!!! The boss says nae shorts 🩳 so Michael, Ricardo, Nick J and Dave E get them knees covered up. The clues about the set list are in the para above but if that’s not clears then read Jon’s email.
A good turnout last night - plenty of tunes and bari’s but slightly depleted on the tenor and bass side. However Nick J, Michael and Will rose magnificently to the challenge and more than held their own. Jon was suffering a wee bit from an excess of something on Tuesday night with a consequent lack of sleep 💤 😴 but nevertheless we were able to raise his spirits to orgasmic levels with our rendition of Bound for Glory 😇😇😇 - never seen the lad so happy!!!
Paul had the very good idea of recording our version of B4G. For the non soloists amongst us all we’ve got to remember is we don’t want no Gamblers (verse 1) and no Rustlers (verse 4) - thankfully Will and Joe will deal with those Liars and Con men 😂😂😂.
It was great to see Mike J and Antony again after their summer break and clearly we didn’t put young Peter R off last week as he returned again this week. Good to see you lads.
And then there’s that old confusing bird Shanandoah!! I long to see you, I’m bound to leave you, No more I’ll see you, I long to hear you (in dreams I’m near you) - simples!!!! - what could possibly go wrong?😂😂😂
And finally - whilst there, could I recommend to the beer loving cognicenti who I know exist within VM that you make a special point of sampling the amber nectar 🍺 from the First and Last micro brewery - the Equinox and Mad Jack Ha’ are fab - the owners are Red and Sam who are ably assisted by the very handsome Will (actually Guillaume - he’s proper French 🇫🇷 and looks and sounds just like Fred off the tv! I suggest it may be inadvisable to introduce your wives and girlfriends to him 😊🥲😂). 🍻 🍻🍺
So a really pleasing session - well done everyone - onwards and upwards on our road to glory Voicemale 🚂🚊🚆🎶🎵🍺 🚀 ☀️🏆🏉!!!! See many of you in the engine shed with spanner’s, neckerchiefs and Casey Jones hats 🎩 🎩😃😄😁 at the ready on Sunday.
Choo choo 🚂🚂🚂🚂
The knee count was close last night - 18 uncovered knees, 20 covered. I imagine 18 naked knees is some sort of record (certainly this “summer”) but I’m sure one of the longer serving members will correct me if I’m wrong - if only Richard and Des had been there then I’m sure the naked knees would have won the day. Anyway, thanks to whoever belatedly shoved the Jetstream back to where it should be this time of year resulting in our current spate of good weather . Long may it continue (but it won’t!!!).
Jon, clearly flushed with last Saturdays successful journey to Harbottle, felt the need to take a trip to the Highlands (how are the midgies Jon???) to recover and play a few songs of his own to the sweaties. With a stroke of great fortune the lovely Sandra was able to step in to the breach and larn us a couple of songs in her own inimitable style - we are much indebted Sandra. I took away one of Sandra’s main learning points , which is, it’s not enough to only know the words and dots, there has to be light and shade and empathy between singers - we have to listen to each other and moderate our personal singing accordingly - feel the emotion contained in the words we are mouthing - it will clearly make a better outcome and balance of our output. Lean on me, in particular, is a song which needs us to sing empathetically - and not necessarily like a sea shanty!!!!
Talking of balance - we had 6 tunes, 3 tenors, 3 basses - and 7 baritones last night - it’s not often the tunes are outnumbered and where did all these baritones suddenly come from???? Luckily the tunes were able to welcome new recruit Peter Ross to the fold - surprisingly Peter said he’d heard us sing a few times in the past - and yet he still decided he’d like to join us!!! Peter is from Rothbury and has therefore joined a strong cohort from upper Coquetdale members in the choir. You’re very welcome to VoiceMale Peter and we hope you find us a friendly bunch and enjoy the craic.
So our next gig is at the Aln Valley Railway on Sunday 17th September. Sandra has sent details but we’re on sometime around 1215 - unfortunately we only have a 15 minute slot which means we’ll really have to gallop through our 8 songs at a rate of knots!!! (please note Jon). The up side of this is that there is a beer festival on at the same time so we’ll have longer to get some amber nectar down our necks hic!! - no drinking before we sing though .
And so it’s onwards and upwards lads .
Have a great weekend - the rugby World Cup is on ITV - I suspect it may be a relatively short campaign for England , Scotland and Wales (sorry Gwyn) but who knows, we may be pleasantly surprised .
See you all next Wednesday!!!
No less than 23 (yes!!! Twenty three) of us, plus many of our 2 and 4 legged loved ones made the long trek to Upper Coquetdale yesterday to regale the lucky folk at the Harbottle Show with our collective dulcet tones. Thank you all for making the effort.
We were indeed well received with guesstimates on audience numbers ranging from 100 to 5,000(?😂)…..of all the music acts on show yesterday we definitely attracted the biggest crowd.
The weather was delightful and we were indeed fortunate that Jane and Anthea were there to record much of the singing - thank you ladies - see the WhatsApp messages for the videos.
The post match celebrations continued for some of us with singing and the earnest replacement of lost bodily fluids (well it was bloody hot 🥵🥵🥵) by sampling the ale at the Star - where landlady Karen was kind enough to exchange pizzas 🍕 for a few tunes…… as you can see Joe and Martin were first in the queue for the food!!! 😃😂😀.
So well done lads - I hope you and your loved ones all enjoyed a lovely day. We undoubtedly made a number of new friends and gained some admirers all the while continuing to raise our profile - interestingly Karen at the Star videoed us singing at the pub and has put it on her Facebook site - the site has in excess of 600 followers who will now be aware of who VoiceMale are and what we do - how good is that!!!!!
Thanks again to you and your families for making yesterday such a success. Onwards and upwards VoiceMale 🚀 - see you all on Wednesday 😄😀
Mis queridos compañeros cantantes,
Wow - what a return - thank you so much - it was wonderful that 24 of us were able to make it last night (including no less than 20 naked knees !!!) - it was great to be back in the relaxed company of good friends.
I have to say my vocal chords were a bit on the tight side last night - which necessitated soothing later in the evening with a couple of pints of Shuggyboat blond and a wee nip before I went to bed . How did the rest of you cope???
The Boss worked us hard - no mercy shown - but he had to get us match fit for Saturday afternoon and he did a canny job. There was a lot of positive energy and smiling faces last night - we’ve started where we left off in mid July but I think some of us (me!!) will need a bit of swotting up on the words before Saturday - in fact I’ve begun already!
Talking of positive vibes it was great to welcome Richard back to the fold last night after a short spell away. Richard is in the Premier League of bon viveurs so he’ll slot right back in without a problem. It also means that the stage coach to Upper Coquetdale is full once again - it’s a while since that was the case!!!!
And so to Saturday.
Gentlemen, it was great to see you all again last night. Looking forward to a lovely autumn term of good company and superb singing (and of course the toon doing well in Europe [sorry Keith - Hope Sunderland do well too]).
See you Saturday - onwards and upwards VoiceMale.