First Place at Brighton International Male Choir Festival

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in News | Comments Off on First Place at Brighton International Male Choir Festival

First Place at Brighton International Male Choir Festival

Despite the Musical Director’s whining about having flu’, on Friday 6 October, we piled into the finest Laguna Coaches Double Decker at headed eastward for our first competition in some time.  The plan for the weekend was to give the members some time together after a hectic year so far.  Relaxations was the plan with a little gentle singing in between…….. Mmmmm…. of course the aforementioned Musical Director needed some time to rehearse and the chance of a concert as part of the Rottingdean Arts Festival was too tempting so the weekend was a whirlwind of music briefly interspersed with beer, some lovely food and even better company.

The choir arrived at our base on Newhaven mid-afternoon on Friday, after an uneventful journey; hotel prices in Brighton would have stretched our prudent pockets further than we would have liked and the Premier Inn was clean, comfortable and had a pub attached….. job done.  Appetites satisfied we travelled the eight miles to Our Lady of Lourdes Church at Rottingdean for our first concert.  We were delighted to share the stage with St Stythian’s Male Voice Choir from Cornwall and our new friends of the German Canadian Male Chorus of Calgary who we hosted in Bournemouth just a week before.  The German Canadian Chorus have also provided us with our very own ear-worm which travelled around with all weekend.  The concert, to a full house, was a great success and we are indebted to Dr Roy Wales, a very distinguished choirmaster and conductor for setting the gig up and providing the refreshments afterwards – always very welcome!

Saturday morning found us up and at it nice and early and the choir decamped close to the competition venue for a quick rehearsal at St Mary’s Church, Kemptown.  This fabulous building dates from the late 1870s and replaced a church of the same name which suddenly collapsed while being renovated. The red-brick building is in an Early English revival and French Gothic revival style and has Grade II* listed status…. just our sort of place.  An hour long rehearsal, focussed on just one or two areas got us warmed up and ready for the competition and the welcome cuppa provided by the church was gratefully received.

The choir went on stage mid afternoon and sang Non Nobis Domine by Rhosyphane Powell, Beati Mortui by Felix Mendellshonn and Sing for your Life by Alan Simmons as their competition set at the Brighton International Male Choir Festival.  The music was well received by the audience and other choirs so we retired to the pub, safe in the knowledge that we had done all we could to perform to the best of our ability.  Brighton Marina was the place for a quick meal and then back to the venue, St George’s Church Kempton for the results which declared Bournemouth Male Voice Choir the winners.

But, despite the three pint rule having been rescinded, there was still work to do…  the evening concert loomed and the choir sang some Gilbert Becaud, Snow Patrol and a little Charleston number to finish with a standing ovation from the assembled choristers and audience.  We maintained decorum and propriety for at least fifteen minutes after the end of the concert until the trophy was filled with IPA and passed around the choristers, coming last to the Musical Director (remember the aforementioned flu’)…..

We had a terrific weekend, great for the choirs morale and for bonding between choristers and supporters alike; we met some lovely folk, evangelised a little about the things we think are important to us as a choir and just had fun.  Not too bad at all…