Concert Reports 2014
Tuesday 23rd December. Shearings Depot. Normanton
Our final concert for 2014!
On this occasion 600 people gathered at the Shearings depot at Normanton to set off for their Christmas break. We were there to send them off with a song and a smile. Some of the holiday makers joined in the songs with us and everyone enjoyed the sleigh bells which accompanied ‘Sleigh Ride’. Despite the flu which has been attacking our members there was a good turnout and we rounded off the year’s schedule with a joyful selection of songs and carols. We allowed ourselves a more casual appearance with the addition of Santa hats.
Wednesday 17th December. St Thomas’ Church, Featherstone, 6.30pm.
This concert was organised by Featherstone’s Mayor to bring together local schoolchildren and churches, so we shared the programme with junior and infant pupils from All Saints, North Featherstone and St Thonas schools. Readings were provided by Featherstone Youth Ambassadors and local church leaders. ‘Shepherd, Shepherd’ was a huge hit with the children and the church was packed, despite inclement weather. A collection was taken for Macmillan Cancer Care. John P. says “I love these events when we are singing with the children”.
Saturday 13th December. Carlinghow Church, Batley 7.15pm
Our soloists on this occasion were Brian Grieves, Jack Noble (who included one if his highly entertaining monologues) and Gary Davies. We were warmly received by the small audience and ‘Shepherd, Shepherd’ raised lots of laughs. In truth, the choir has had a very busy Christmas schedule and everyone will be ready for a break after the final two concerts.
Friday 12th December. Green Lane Club. Concert for Dr Jackson Cancer Fund. 7.00pm
For this concert we were joined by pupils of North Featherstone Junior and Infant School, and we sang together on ‘Away in a Manger’. £300 was raised for the Dr Jackson Cancer Fund.
Wednesday 10th December, Morley St Paul’s Church
Despite terrible weather throughout the region, the choir and audience were out in force. Morley Salvation Army Band joined the celebrations to raise funds for Wakefield Hospice. Our Assistant Accompanist performed a new song called December, which he has arranged, and there were solos by Brian Grieves, Bob Humphreys and Jack Noble.
Friday 5th December and Saturday 6th December. Choir Christmas Concerts at Featherstone Methodist Church.
We love to take part in the Christmas Carol concert at our ‘home’ church at Wilson Street. This year included piano solos from our Assistant Accompanist, Jack, and the offering of a Wassail bowl to audience members on the front row during our rendition of The Gloucestershire Wassail. The bell ringers from St Botolph’s Church in Knottingley added a seasonal flavour and we were delighted that St Botolph’s Belles chose our Carol Concert for their first performance away from their base.
Saturday 29th November. Christmas Concert at Crigglestone for Wakefield Hospice. 7.15 pm
Our first Christmas concert of this season, with 2 new Christmas songs in our repertoire: ‘The Little Road to Bethlehem’ and ‘The Gloucestershire Wassail’. Our soloists on this occasion were Garry Davis, Bob Humphreys, Jack Noble and Brian Grieves. The audience received us well and commented that it was a good start to their Christmas celebrations. This event raised over £400 for Wakefield Hospice and we have already been invited back in 2015.
Wednesday 26th November. Leeds Town Hall with Russian Band.
It’s always a treat to sing with other choirs, and even more special when the Russian Spectacular comes to Leeds and invites us to join them at the Town Hall. The 2014 Russian Spectacular included the Belarussian National Folk Dance Academy and guest soloists Yanina Orlovskaya and Vladimir Yaskevitch.
The massed choirs included ourselves along with male choristers from Sharlston, Beverley, Micklefield, Castleford and Greater Manchester Police. Highlights included a tribute to ‘Last night of the Proms’ and ‘Speed your Journey’, with the massed choirs accompanied by the band.
Well done to FMVC’s conductor Paul Rhodes and accompanist Elaine Oakley for leading the massed choirs.
Saturday 27th September. Wilson Street Methodist Church. In aid of Choir Funds and Prince of Wales Hospice
This concert included a number of soloists including, for the first time, our pianist Elaine who treated us to a medley of Beatles hits. Also Peter Trevor duetted with Richard Hirst to the delight of the audience and their fellow choristers.
It’s always great to ‘mix it up’ a little and we love it when our members volunteer to sing solos or demonstrate their various performance skills in our concerts.
Saturday 27th September. Wedding North Featherstone
The weather stayed fine for the wedding, and the choir sang in the church during the service before posing for a photograph with the happy couple.
Saturday 26th July. Wedding at Boroughbridge.
Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June, Annual Patrons’ Concerts. Featherstone Methodist Church 7.15 both evenings.
Friday 31st May, The Galtre Centre, Easingwold. For the Easingwold Lions. 7pm
Friday 16th to Monday 19th May,
Choir pays Tribute to World War One Soldiers
Three Shearings’ coaches set off from Wilson Street in Featherstone at 6pm on Friday 15th May 2014, taking choir members and patrons to Lille where we would be based for the weekend.
Saturday was a full, eventful and moving day as we raced from one performance to another. The day began with a trip to the Tyne Cot Cemetery. It was impossible not to be moved by the dreadful loss of life as we walked around the manicured graves. Hundreds of headstones, many inscribed ‘Known Only to God’, marked the place where these men had died during the battle of Passchendaele; the youngest a boy of fifteen.
The Choir sang three songs in tribute to the fallen; ‘Softly as I Leave You,’ ‘Soldier’s Farewell’ and ‘Mansions of the Lord’. Some members were in tears and others choked by the emotion of the moment but we sang well and with feeling as befitted the occasion.
From Tyne Cot we travelled to Ypres just in time for lunch. No sooner had we finished the meal we had to set off for the St. George’s Memorial Church to finalise preparations for our concert. As we practised, visitors on guided tours poured off luxury coaches into the Church and many sat and listened to our rehearsal. When we began the concert at 6pm it was gratifying to see so many of these visitors return to enjoy our music. The church was full and the performance outstanding. A highly appreciative audience, a unique occasion and a distinctively appropriate programme helped lift the choir’s singing to new heights. The acoustics of the church were outstanding and our singing seemed to be enhanced as the music reverberated into every corner.
Paul Rhodes, our Musical Director, had designed a programme that not only honoured the World War One dead but also allowed us to explore those shared feelings and emotions that have lasted through time and inspire our music today. Running through the programme we could feel the despair and anguish associated with war. Laments such as the Soldier’s Farewell and hymns such as the Mansions of the Lord reflected each person’s pain and loss. Songs such as ‘Comrades in Arms’ and ‘Soldiers Chorus’ gave insights into a soldier’s view of honour, duty and patriotism, while ‘Gwahoddiad’, ‘Morte Christe’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ provided a rich tapestry of hope and faith that has given us the indomitable spirit to deal with adversity in all its forms. We sang songs that those soldiers would have known. We sang new songs that we were sure they would have approved of and we sang a medley of the songs that they would have sung and enjoyed a hundred years ago. The whole programme was about faith in God, ourselves and those around us and, without being over sentimental, allowed a fitting tribute to those ordinary men and boys who laid down their lives in the hope that we would have a better future.
Once the concert was over there was no time to talk or reflect. The choir had to cross Ypres to the Menin Gate where we were expected to take part in the Last Post Ceremony at 8pm. By the time we arrived the place was jam packed and we had to wade through a sea of bodies to get to our allotted place. Once again we sang ‘Mansions of the Lords’ and ‘Soldier’s Farewell’ and afterwards were in an excellent position to see the ceremony. George Potts, one of our members played a lament on his bagpipes and two wreaths were laid; one by Maureen Dawson on behalf of the choir and one by Mrs Jan Power the Mayor of Featherstone, on behalf of the Town Council.
On Sunday we had a conducted tour of the Battlefields and an afternoon trip to either Ghent or Bruges. The sun blazed down all day and everyone had the chance to relax. All went well until the coach coming back from Bruges managed to lose its way on the outskirts of Lille and required some guidance from a Pizza delivery man!! The unfortunate occupants of this coach did not arrive back until nine p.m. and found that the hotel bar had closed at 8.30. Undaunted everyone went in search of food and drink with considerable success. Even Noel, who had been looking forward to a drink and sing along in the hotel bar, managed to raise a smile by the end of the night.
Saturday May 10th, Concert in aid of Wooden Spoon Charity. Featherstone Methodist Church 7.15pm.
Sunday April 13th, Yorkshire Association of Choirs Concert in Huddersfield Town Hall. A whole host of Choirs; male, female and mixed performed well on the day and demonstrated the range and versitility of Yorkshire Choirs. Featherstone MVC sang The Entertainer, American Trilogy and Autumn Leaves and with other choirs, The Rose and Speed Your Journey.
Saturday March 29th, Joint Concert with Melodia Ladies’ Choir, in aid of The Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Featherstone Methodist Church, 7.15pm. Both choirs contibuted to an excellent evening. Robert and Carol Woodhead sang two duets and Shirley Wright sang the solo, ‘Miss You Nights’. The first half of the concert concluded with a joint item, ‘Speed Your Journey’.
Friday March 7th, Green Lane, Working Men’s Club. Featherstone.
The choir broke off from its winter rehearsals to sing a concert with North Featherstone J&I School Choir in aid of Dr. Jackson’s Cancer Fund. New songs not yet honed to perfection for the summer season were left at home while we sang some old favourites. An eclectic mixture of popular and traditional songs pleased the audience and ‘Shepherd Shepherd’ with both singing and hand puppetry delighted the children.
The school Choir sang confidently and with gusto and it was obvious that many proud parents and grandparents enjoyed the performance. All together the children sang eight songs finishing the night with ‘Can you feel the Love tonight’.