The Choir was formed in 1971 since when it has grown to its current membership of 43. We are currently recruiting and our aim is to reach a membership of 50, this being the optimum for the venues in which we perform and rehearse.
In over 40 years, we have had just two Musical Directors and our last MD Elisabeth Miller retired at Christmas 2013.
We are a friendly Choir and have toured Austria, Hungary, France and Italy, as well as in the United Kingdom. We have taken part, and won, a number of competitions, although these do not feature highly in our priorities
Our ‘year’ is from September to June, with a break for July and August, although on occasions we have performed during these months. Rehearsals are for two hours in Braintree on Wednesday evenings. The two main concerts each year are in May and December. In addition we perform around five charity concerts each year in the surrounding area.
We use music folders for most of our performances although we do a few pieces from memory. We continue to use folders because members wish to have a varied programme for concerts and in the rehearsal time available, we are limited as to how many can be learnt from memory.
Our library of music consists of around 200 items, although some are quite old and have not been performed for many years.
At present, we produce rehearsal CD’s for members, using the Sibelius program, and plan to continue to do so.
Members of the choir come from all walks of life including current or retired teachers, local government officers, surveyors, builders, bakers, journalists, etc. They all come with varying different musical backgrounds. Their common aim is to reach as high a standard as possible in their performances – AND TO ENJOY THEMSELVES!! Interestingly, studies have shown that singing is good for you – good for your health, both physical and mental.
The choir, currently 43 strong, is always looking for new recruits. The best time for new members to join is at the beginning of September, or the beginning of January when the whole Choir will be given new music, so everyone is learning something new together.
“What do I have to be able to do to join the choir – do I have to read music; do I have to take an audition, do I ever have to sing alone?” The answer to these questions, is no.
To help new members integrate into the Choir, each will be allocated an existing member to act as mentor and to help those new to singing to ‘get up to speed’. This system worked very well in our recruitment drive, and the new members were very appreciative of the time and effort devoted to them. As music will be prepared for each newcomer, it would be wise for people to register their interest as soon as possible so that we can order the new music.
The choir sings at around eight to ten concerts a year, including the main concerts in May and December, plus a number of charity concerts for local churches and organisations and has recently entertained at a number of schools.
The goal for new members is to be ready to sing with the Choir at the next main concert – usually in December and May. There is a camaraderie in a male voice choir that is hard to find elsewhere. Anyone who joins will be made to feel more than welcome.
Rehearsals are held at St Peters Church Hall, St Peters in the Fields, Bocking every Wednesday from January to June (with an Easter break) and from September to early December.
Those interested in joining the sessions should contact Ian Whiteside on 01376 321908 (mobile: 07966 845533).