Autumn Showcase at Shalford, October 2016

Photography by Sue Horsman

Photography by Sue Horsman

The choir entertained a small but appreciative audience at St Andrew’s Church, Shalford, on Saturday Ocober 1.

Entitled Autumn Showcase, the evening mostly featured songs the choir had included in the May concert, but there was the added bonus of what David Wood joyously described as a ‘world premiere’. It was his own arrangement of World In Union, the song from the Rugby World Cup 1991.

In addition to the choir numbers, Brian Bain sang the Mario Lanza song Be My Love, Ian Whiteside included two saxophone pieces, Vince Horsman entertained with his views of the choir in his alleged letter to his cousin while David Kelly took three songs out of the Flanders and Swan songbook, successfully encouraging the audience to join in with the ‘mud glorious mud’ chorus. Continue reading

Filed under News | Words: Ron Fosker

Mel Hodsdon 1950 – 2016


The choir were deeply saddened to learn on the day of their concert at Bocking Village Hall in July of the death of baritone Mel Hodsdon.

Mel, who was 66, had been in the choir for more than ten years and for the past six years had been the choir’s press officer. As well as liaising with the local media, producing the design for the posters, flyers for concerts and compiling a regular newsletter, he contributed items on all choir events for this website.

Mel worked in the Home Office in London in policing and crime reduction areas before taking early retirement and then decided to take up singing again after 37 years. He had previously sung in his local church choir as a boy soprano, then with Wandworth School Choir and for a short time with the Westminster Abbey Special Choir. He sang with the school choir in St Paul’s Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Westminster Abbey, Coventry Cathedral and even in the Oncertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Despite living with cancer for a number of years he was always positive and cheerful and will be much missed.

Filed under News | Words: Ron Fosker

Spring Concert At Coggeshall, 2016

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Jazz Up Spring. St Peter And Vincula Church, Coggeshall with The Joy Ellis Trio. Saturday May 7

Church concert was a truly joyful experience

The jazz trio’s name echoed the mood of this concert, for it was truly joyful experience.

The Wild Mountain Thyme was an example of the new venue’s different acoustics. The church gave a delightfully softer sound to all parts of the choir and clarity to their words.

Stand-in accompanist, Philip Prior, was anything but temporary, in terms of his musicality. His Verdi trills were exquisite and he threw himself into the populist numbers with admirable verve. Continue reading

Vince’s Marathon

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Vince Horsman, one of our baritones, completed the London Marathon on Sunday 24th April 2016. Not having done any sort of running before, Vince decided that it was a challenge he wanted to take on, and in particular to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK after his mother-in-law died from the disease several years before he met his wife in 1993. He had been to the capital many times to watch the race but now felt it was time to take part himself.

Vice stuck rigidly to the training regime suggested by the London Marathon organisation and this took up a large part of his day. A bit different from his normal hobbies which are poetry, singing in the choir, photography and being a grandfather of 3. He found the training uncomfortable but managed to reach all his objectives. He was apprehensive about how his knees would stand up to the pounding but when running, the pain disappeared. His training took in runs to Dunmow and back, a distance of 18 miles. He also had a good training manager, his wife Sue, who spurred him on when times got tough. They also both joined the local gym to help build up his fitness. Continue reading

Filed under News | Words: Mel Hodsdon

Singing Of Note At Male Voice Choir Workshop

Men young and old attended a singing workshop organised by Braintree Male Voice Choir.  The award-winning men’s choir was bolstered by 28 first-timers to rehearse five songs, including the Beatles’ favourite “Yesterday”.

Conductor David Wood also led them through “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “The Wild Mountain Thyme”, “Ah Robin ” and “Boats And Planes”.
Continue reading

Men Sing Aloud Workshop – Saturday 13th February 2016

You'll never walk alone

This was planned as a workshop held in Braintree town centre which would hopefully attract new singers to join in with the choir and raise the profile of the choir locally. The workshop was well advertised in the local paper, the town centre and around the parishes. Many thanks go to Ian Whiteside, Bob Challis and Ernie Davis who braved the early morning chill from 6am to 8am to hand out leaflets at Braintree railway station on a bleak Monday morning. Continue reading

Filed under News | Words: Mel Hodsdon

Singing for Life Concert At The Cliffs Pavilion, Southend On Sea. Sunday 31st January 2016

The massed choirs. ed2jpg

The only rehearsal of all the singers two weeks before the concert at the Tabor Academy in Braintree heralded the main event at the Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliffe on Sea. Assembling and organising 200 singers was no mean feat. Well done to all those in Leigh Orpheus and Braintree Male Voice Choir who made all the arrangements.

“Singing For Life” was a major charity concert where the Leigh Orpheus was joined by the Braintree, St Edmundsbury and Thurrock Male Voice Choirs and the Elliott Weight Trio, with TV weatherman Francis Wilson as compère. What a treat on a winter’s afternoon! A major concert, aimed at making as much money as possible for Prostate Cancer UK, with an audience of about 1000. Continue reading

Filed under News | Words: Mel Hodsdon

Christmas Concert Full Of Festive Delights Is A Sell Out

Christmas Concert, Braintree Male Voice Choir and the Essex Police Band. Braintree Arts Theatre. December 5

I was thrilled to see, at the start of this successful, sold-out show, that Musical Director, David Wood is encouraging his choir to abandon scores where possible and focus their attention on his precise conducting, Exemplified in My Lord What A Morning and well on the way in Softly As I Leave You, it paid dividends. Continue reading

Golden Oldies (Goldies In Essex) Afternoon ‘Big Sing’ – Saturday 17th October 2015


Wow – this was an afternoon to remember. The Goldies charity representative in Braintree, Rob Cadman, had approached the choir to join in with their ‘Big Sing’. I don’t think any of us realised how such an upbeat event this would be.

The Charity was started in the West of England by Grenville Jones, who is also MD of the City of Bath Male Choir and other choirs in Bath, and has now spread across England and Wales. What an energetic pair Rob and Grenville Jones turned out to be. As well as organising ‘Big Sings’, regular singing, smile and activity sessions are held locally. They are aimed at older, lonely and isolated people. In Braintree Goldies works in partnership with Greenfields Community Housing and this event was also supported by local Lions and Rotary Clubs. The wider charity is supported by the Lottery and the Fowler and Smith Trust. Continue reading

Filed under News | Words: Mel Hodsdon