Concert Reports 2013
In 2013 the choir will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. From very small beginnings we have progressed over the years, with ups and downs along the way, to become the organisation we are today, with around sixty members and a wonderful support group of almost five hundred Patrons. We hope that as many people as possible will be able to join us in our celebrations.
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Concert Reports 2013
Monday 23rd December, Private Concert, Shearings Interchange, Normanton. 9am.
Friday 20th December, Private Concert, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York 6pm.
Wednesday 18th December, Civic Service, Wilson Street 6.30.
Saturday 14th December, Christmas Concert, St. John’s Church, Carlinghow, Batley 7.15 pm. The choir sang its full Christmas programme and there were solo contributions from Jack Noble, Max bradley, Brian Grieves and Bob Humphreys. Our thanks to Paul Rhodes our Musical Director, Stuart Whitwell Assistant Musical Director and Elaine Oakley our Accompanist for all the work and support over the previous months.
Friday 13th December, Public Concert. Once again the Choir was singing at The Grove and raising money for Prince of Wales Hospice and the Second South Kirby Brownies. The Mayors of South Elmsall and South Kirby and Moorethorpe were honoured guests, and in addition to our choir, Northfield Primary School and Frickley/South Elmsall Brass Band contributed to a most enjoyable evening.
Friday 6th and Saturday 7th December. Annual Christmas Concerts. Featherstone Methodist Church, 7.15pm both nights.
Concert songs were inter-spaced by readings and communal singing. Traditional and modern carols blended with Polish, German and Trinidadian songs provided a varied programme. Brisk and lively carols, quiet lullabies and classical pieces made for a entertaining, reflective and uplifting evening. Jack Hodkinson, our new assistant accompanist played his first concert and performed with confidence and panache.
Tuesday 3rd December, Carol Concert at St. Giles Church Pontefract, 6.30. BBC Radio Leeds will be broadcasting this Concert on Christmas Eve 6pm and Christmas Day noon. This was an interesting experience with the BBC Radio Leeds’ staff wearing head phones and carrying clip boards, controlling the style and pace of the concert. An audience that filled the Church to the rafters really enjoyed the music and the occasion. Contributions also came from Lofthouse 2000 Band and the St. Giles Church Choir.
Saturday 30th November, Wakefield Hospice Concert. Carols by Candle light at Criggleston Church starting 7.15pm. This was a wonderful evening of song, laughter and community singing as we started our Christmas programme. The audience enjoyed joining in with some of the songs and were the first to hear our latest Christmas song, the ‘Cowboy Carol.’
Saturday 23rd November, Holiday Inn, Garforth. Private Concert for the Masons.
Saturday 16th November, Wedding Anniversary Celebration. George and Jane Potts at Wilson Street. A fabulous night of song and laughter earned £1000 to be shared by the Wakefield and Pontefract Hospices.
Saturday 21st September, Featherstone MVC 50th Anniversary Concert with the world famous ‘Black Dyke Band’, at Wakefield Cathedral. 7.15 pm On the 21st September 2013, Featherstone Male voice choir held a concert to celebrate its 50th anniversary. With the world famous Black Dyke Band as its guest, an evening of diverse and outstanding music was anticipated. In front of a capacity audience at the Wakefield Cathedral, both Band and Choir gave breath taking and impeccable performances.
The Cathedral proved to be an ideal venue for the celebration and enhanced both the music and the occasion. Andrew Edwards from Radio Leeds compered the evening and ensured that that the continuity matched the music, with a knowledgeable and polished performance.
The Choir was at its best and produced a varied performance in songs in tempo and mood. Upbeat renditions of The Entertainer and When I’m Sixty-Four were blended with Love Songs such as To Make You Feel My Love and Love Could I only Tell Thee and heart strings were pulled with Take me Home and I dreamed a Dream. Tracks from Musicals, films and popular music ensured that the audience were royally entertained. Congratulations to Elaine Oakley the Choir’s accompanist on an accomplished performance on her first major concert. The climax of the evening came when the choir, accompanied by the Audience and Black Dyke Band sang Jerusalem, conducted by Paul Rhodes Featherstone’s musical director. Members of the Choir enjoyed the evening so much they have decided to do it again in another fifty years!
Saturday 14th September, Public Concert, Dunnington Parish Church.
Another trip to Dunnington, near York, to help raise money for Dunnington’s ‘Village in Bloom Competition’. The Choir introduced its latest song, the great jazz standard, ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street’. It was gratifying to hear so many members of the audience praising the quality of our singing and making very positive comparisons with other choirs they had heard.
Saturday 7th September, Concert for the Prince of Wales Hospice.
Once again the Choir performed to raise funds for the Prince of Wales Hospice to a supportive and responsive audience. The concert began and ended with Choir and audience singing together Cwm Rhonda and Let there be Peace on Earth. New songs included ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘March of the Peers’ and ‘Dry Bones.’
Stuart Whitwell conducting at the Prince of Wales Hospice Concert
We received a warm welcome from Altofts Church members and audience. We sang our usual eclectic mix and as always were supported by some fine solo singing and a duet from Carol and Robert Woodhead. The programme was a mixture of fast and slow, funny and serious and traditional and modern. The talking point of the night occurred just before the interval and had nothing to do with singing. A freak accident resulted in three baritones somersaulting backwards off the stage, with an accompanying loud crash. It was literally a knock out performance with one reluctant hero taking a ten minute nap after hitting his head on the wall. An ambulance and two para-medics appeared but male voice singers are made of stern stuff and after a quick check up and dire warnings about headaches, all three recovered for the second half. They were, of course, exempt from smiling, much to the envy of the rest of the choir who pride themselves in being naturally miserable. It was generally agreed afterwards that we sing better when concussed!!
Robert and Carol Woodhead
Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June, Annual Patrons’ Concert.
Featherstone Methodist Church, 7.15pm both nights.
The Patrons’ Concerts were two very special nights of celebration. Fifty years from the establishment of the choir was a good time to produce two superb performances for our Patrons. New songs included, ‘The Entertainer’ by Scott Joplin, ‘Hey Jude’ the Beatles’ Classic and ‘With Cat Like Tread’ by Gilbert and Sullivan. We also sang Nessun Dorma at a Patrons’ Concert for the first time in many years.
Old favourites included, ‘Softly as I Leave You’, ‘Calan Lan’, ‘Speed your Journey’ and ‘Bring him Home’.
Everyone enjoyed the lighter renditions of ‘When I’m Sixty-four, ‘There is Nothing Like a Dame’ and ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat.
A very special section of songs was introduced by Paul Rhodes our Musical Director, when he talked of the recent visit to Ypres and the affect singing in such a context had on him and the Choir. He read the poem, written by Lieutenant-Colonel, In Flanders Fields and as he spoke, a bagpipe lament was being played in the background by George Potts, a member of our first tenor section. George then joined Paul in the Chapel and played ‘Going Home’ on his pipes.
This was followed by two military songs rehearsed for and sung at Ypres. ‘Mansions of the Lord’, from the film, ‘We were Soldiers, and the haunting and emotional lament, ‘Soldier’s Farewell’. We completed this section with the rousing hymn, Morte Christe, and all agreed, it was a fitting tribute to those who had given their lives for their country.
There were some outstanding solo performances throughout the programmes. On Friday night, Gary Davis sang, ‘Girls were made to Love and Kiss’, and the following night Len Barraclough sang, ‘My Heart and I’. David Brierley and Bob Humphreys sang both evenings; Dave singing, ‘The Impossible Dream’ and Bob, ‘Ave Verum Corpus’. Jack Noble had everyone laughing with one of his classic monologues and Robert and Carol Woodhead sang the John Denver song ‘Today’, while Carol played the guitar accompaniment. Brian Grieves sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, on Friday night and just to show his versitility on Saturday night he sang ‘The Anthem’ from the musical, Chess.
May 17th to 20th weekend visit to Bruges, with Choir performances at The Tyne Cott Cemetery and the Menin Gate last post ceremony in Ypres.
The first event of the choir’s fiftieth anniversary year was a visit to Ypres in Belgium to take part in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. This is a ceremony that has taken place every evening of the year at 8pm since 1927. So on Friday 17th May three coach loads of choir members, family, friends and choir supporters, 120 in total, left Featherstone on the journey to Belgium.
On Saturday morning the coaches left the hotel accompanied by official guides for a tour of the battlefields and war graves cemeteries of the First World War. The tour finished at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest commonwealth war graves’ cemetery in the world. It is an awesome sight to see the thousands of head stones neatly placed in rows and amid immaculately kept grounds. In the middle of the Cemetery is The Cross of Sacrifice and it was beneath this monument that the choir sang three items, ‘The Mansions of the Lord’, ‘The Soldier’s Farewell’ and ‘Softly as I leave you’. It was very moving and emotional to sing these songs and we all left to return to the hotel in sombre mood. At 8pm the same evening the choir in full uniform attended the Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony. There was a crowd of many hundreds of people at the gate for the event. The buglers sounded the last post and then the choir sang ‘The Mansions of the Lord’, this was followed by the exhortation and a minute’s silence. After this, while the wreaths were laid, the choir sang ‘The Soldier’s Farewell’ and the ceremony ended once more with the buglers. Throughout all this you could have heard a pin drop; the crowd was so respectful. The choir sang very well indeed and received many commendations from people in the crowd some from Australia and America. It had been a great day and also a very moving one.
On Sunday with really wonderful weather we spent the day in the beautiful City of Bruges, returning in the evening to the hotel. Here we held an impromptu concert, which went down a storm with supporters and other hotel guests. We all retired to bed tired but euphoric and satisfied after a really great day. Monday saw us return home with the general consensus being that we had had a really great weekend.
Friday 10th May, Public Concert in aid of Red Cross.
Featherstone Methodist Curch, 7.15pm. Programme as follows:
Every time I feel the Spirit, Bring Him Home, Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,
To make you feel my Love, There is Nothing Like a Dame, Calon Lan
Mansions of the Lord, Gwahoddiad, The Entertainer, The Rose, When I’m 64
American Trilogy, Autumn Leaves, You Raise me Up
Saturday 27th April Joint Public Concert with Honley Male Voice Choir. Honley Church. 7pm.
We were joined by Honley MVC in this concert. Honley were under the direction of Steven Roberts who was appointed as Musical Director in January. Ably accompanied by Michelle Sutcliffe, the Honley Choir showed its versatility by singing a mixture of Show, Traditional and Classical songs.
Our contribution to the concert was to add to the singing with a little humour and variety. Our programme was an eclectic mixture of old and new, serious and light-hearted. To give the ‘Entertainer’ a little more nostalgia and atmosphere, Paul Rhodes wore a bowler hat to conduct this item.
The choir risked life and limb by dancing, well moving to ‘There is nothing Like a Dame’. Some members enjoyed the experience; some remained grumpy about having to exert themselves but the audience were highly receptive to our antics. A love song by Bob Dylan, a poem by Rudyard Kipling, hymns, spirituals and up beat numbers such as ‘The Entertainer’, demonstrated our range and versitility. The evening was most enjoyable for both choirs and audience and we all agreed we should do it again in a couple of years.
Saturday 9th March Concert in Aid of Rarer Cancer Charity,
Featherstone Methodist church 7.15pm
The concert was organised by Robert Woodhead on behalf of the Rarer Cancer Foundation and together with the raffle we managed to raise £1086. We offer our thanks to everyone who supported us, and helped to make the evening such a resounding success. Our thanks to Lisa Ridge, our guest for the evening, who represented the Foundation.
A cancer may be classed as ‘Rarer’ either because it affects an unusual site in the body or because the cancer itself is an unusual type or requires special treatment. However, the most important feature of a ‘Rarer’ cancer is that the patient may feel isolated.
This was another entertaining and moving evening for all who were there. Joining the Choir were the St. Thomas’s Junior and Infant School Choir and soloist Sarah Whiteside.
St. Thomas’s Infant and Junior School
The School Choir gave us a wonderful performance. Confident, enthusiastic and beautifully in tune; the children provided a very accomplished performance that must have made their teachers and parents very proud.
Sarah sang a solo in each half of the concert, ‘White Flag’ before the interval and ‘Feels Like home to me’, in the second half. Both renditions were professionally performed with a strong yet polished delivery. The audience and the choir really enjoyed what was a change in tempo and style from the remainder of the concert. Well done Sarah.
The choir provided an eclectic mix of songs drawn from its vast repertoire. There were some golden oldies, such as ‘When the Saints’, ‘Calan Lan’, and ‘Autumn leaves’. Some modern; ‘To make you feel my love’, ‘You raise me up’, and ‘When I’m sixty-four’. Some moving: ‘Bring him home,’ ‘You’ll never walk alone’, and ‘The American Trilogy’. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good concert without a little bit of humour and ‘Shepherd, Shepherd’ provided just the right tone, with unrehearsed baas and sheep puppets popping up unexpectedly. The children from St Thomas’s school enjoyed this so much we sung it twice. For the adults there was ‘There is nothing like a Dame’, from South Pacific, with the choir demonstrating quite conclusively that it is impossible for men over the age of 60 the sing and move simultaneously.
A vote of thanks was given by David Shaw our Chairman, who for some inexplicable reason seemed to want to call everyone Steve!!!
Concert Reports 2012
Sunday 23rd December, Shearings’ depot.
Friday 21st December, Barristers’ Concert, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall.
Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th December, Wilson Street Methodist Church Christmas Concert, 7.15pm
The Christmas Concerts were once again a triumph of song and season. Everyone was in the festive spirit and a mixture of Carols and Christmas songs by the choir and soloist, blended well with audience participation and readings. By the end of the weekend we all felt that Christmas was just round the corner.
Sunday 18th November, Wakefield Hospice Concert, 6.30 Blacker Hall Farm, Denby Dale Road, Calder Grove, WF7 3DN
Blacker Hall Farm was an interesting venue for our singing. A great festive concert to raise money for the Wakefield Hospice, with the choir on the balcony and audience down stairs. The acoustics were excellent and the choir sang well despite it all being a bit of a squash.
Saturday 15th September, Prince of Wales Hospice Concert. Featherstone Methodist Church. 7.15pm.
A very appreciative audience listened to a varied programme of fast and slow, light hearted and serious, religious and popular songs. By the end of the evening we had raised £1900 for the Pontefract Hospice. Well done to everyone involved.
A mixed programme was greatly appreciated by the audience particularly ‘Nothing like a Dame’ complete with choreography and the world premier for male voice choir of Scott Joplin’s ‘The Entertainer’, arranged by Barry Cross.
Saturday 1st September, Joint concert with Greater Manchester Police MVC. Featherstone Methodist Church. 7.15 pm.
Each choir sang a number of songs but five songs were sung together much to the delight of the audience. They were Soldiers Chorus, Love Could I Only Tell You, When the Saints, Morte Christe and Gwahoddiad.
Saturday 14th July,
Saturday June 23rd, Jubilee Concert, St John’s Church, Elland Road, Batley.
Saturday June 9th, Filey Methodist Church, 7.30pm.
Another trip to Filey to sing at the Methodist Church as part of Filey’s Music Festival. We arrived at 5pm to be welcomed by a wonderful tea, thanks to the ladies of the Church. A quick walk down to the sea front for some bracing air and we were ready to sing.
The church was packed and for many of the audience this was their third or fourth music night of the week. Our programme was as follows:
Calan Lan, You raise me up, Autumn Leaves, To make you feel my love.
An American Trilogy, Sit down you’re rocking the Boat, The White Rose, You’ll never Walk Alone.
Every Time I Feel the Spirit, Bring him Home, Seventy-Six Trombones, The Rose.
Ready to Sing
In addition we had some excellent solo performances from seven choir members; Dave Brierley, Jack Noble, Brian Grieves, Robert Woodhead, Peter Hunt, Gary Davis and Bob Humphreys.
Sunday 3rd June, Featherstone Rovers, singing before the match.
Conditions were terrible. Rain sheeting down and wind blowing but nothing stops the intrepid members of the Choir. With Coats over uniforms we arrived at 1pm for sound checks. We stood in the stand looking around an empty stadium. The electric organ was under cover but the accompanist’s music kept blowing away. Microphones were set up and adjusted until our voices could be heard all around the ground. We then retired to a room to warm up and eat. At 2.30 with half an hour to go to the start of the match, Featherstone Rovers, English Championship winners against Pia, their French equivalent, we started our programme to an empty stadium. Slowly the stands began to fill and by three o’clock we had quite an audience who had come for the rugby but seemed to be enjoying the singing. We sang through the team warm up and completed our programme with the rousing song, ‘You’ll never walk alone’. After the national anthems some of the Choir retired to the warmth of their homes while those who are rugby fans stayed to watch. It was generally agreed that despite the weather it was a worthwhile experience much appreciated by the Rovers supporters.
Friday June 1st and Saturday June 2nd, 7.15pm Annual Patrons’ Concert, Wilson Street.
We had two sucessful nights with an appreciative audience and an outstanding Guest Artiste, Kate Chruscicka, Violinist. Kate is a classically trained violinist who feels equally comfortable performing classical and popular pieces. Her programme for the two evenings was:
Brahms -Hungarian Dance No.6, Handel- The arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Beethoven-Ode to Joy, Vivaldi-Spring (1st movement), Monti-Czardas, Mancini-Love Story Theme and Bocelli-Con Te Partio.
Gardel-Por Una Cabeza, Van Morrison-Have I told you lately, Cassidy-Songbird, Elvis-Cant Help Falling in Love, Aladdin-Whole New World and Pachelbel-Canon in D.
A technically gifted violinist, Kate played with passion and style and left the audience spell bound. In his thank you speech, David Shaw our Chairman, complimented her playing and said it was as though the violin and Kate were as one. Kate regularly plays at corporate events, as well as at a variety of private and public functions but this was her first experience of Featherstone!!! Needless to say she was given a warm, appreciative reception. For more information look on Kate’s web-site www.KateViolin .co.uk
Not to be outdone the Choir was at its very best. The audience enjoyed old favourites and new songs. The mood was relaxed and people even laughed at Paul’s jokes. Many people approached members afterwards to say this was our best ever concert. What they didn’t know was the trauma we had all gone through when rehearsing ‘There is Nothing Like a Dame.’ For more information see, ‘I Blame Gary’, in the News and Views section.
Saturday 28th April, Wedding 4.00 to 5.30pm at Kings Croft Hotel.
Saturday 20th April, Green Lane Working Men’s Club, 7.00pm
Sunday 1st April, Wath Comprehensive School, 7.15pm. Choir Competition as part of the Don Valley Festival. Featuring STRATA BRASS.
Our first competition in many years went well and our two songs were particularly well received by the audience. If their had been a ‘clapometer’ I’m sure we would have won. The adjudicator was very complementary and awarded us an overall, ‘Very Good’ but alas it wasn’t enough to win. Our thanks to Geof. Trigg for suggesting the idea of the competition and preparing us so well.
Don Valley Festival Adjudicator’s remarks
1. The words were clear and the start was soft and effective to set the scene. Rhythm was well maintained. (Tonality was a little uncertain at times.) Balance was generally well maintained and the ending well timed.
2. Accomplished rhythmic singing. The story was well related. Soft singing was especially effective. (1st tenors needed a little more prominence at times.)
3. Very well mimed ending.
4. Good stage presentation of two contrasting songs
5. Overall very good.
Saturday March 31st, Joint concert with Horbury Ladies’ Choir. Wilson Street, Methodist Church
A very enjoyable evening with both choirs performing a varied programme and producing contrasting performances. The singing was of the highest standard and it was a pleasure to see the ladies combining song and movement to great effect and providing everyone with an extra dimension to the night.
Saturday March 24th, Leeds Town Hall, The White Russian Central Band and Yorkshire choirs. This was a wonderful evening of music and dance from the White Russian Band of The Republic of Belarus and dancers from the Belarussian National Folk Acadamy.
Concert Reports 2011
Marilyn Owens and The Reverend Jacquie Evans provided two readings and the audience joined in all the Carols with enthusiasm.The quality of singing by the choir and the children was excellent but there was also lots of laughter and fun throughout the evening. ‘Shepherd Shepherd,’ was something of a triumph as Paul encouraged the children to join in with loud and regular calls of ‘Baa’, much to the delight of the audience. The remainder of the evening was interspersed with ‘Baas’, at inappropriate times which made everyone laugh, particularly the single ‘Baa’ immediately after ‘The Hallelujah Chorus’.The evening raised over £600 for Muscular Dystrophy and a thank you was offered by Sara Wilcox, The Chief Volunteer Fundraiser. Special thanks went to Robert Woodhead who was responsible for arranging and organising the concert.