We're not sure what the Welsh is for "entente cordiale" - but there was a lot more of it in September when Aled Jones appeared with us once more as our special guest in Dudley Concert Hall.
Aled last appeared with us as our special guest in September 2010 - and we were unable to satisfy the demand for tickets. So we decided we must have a repeat performance, and we are pleased to say that not only was the event repeated but we also had the same problem - too many requests for tickets, and not enough seats to go around!!
Also appearing with us were the newly-formed Classical Vocal Duo - Cripps & Saunders, and our compere once again was Sky Television News Presenter, Philippa Tomson.
As always, we promoted and participated in the annual Dudley Festival Of Remembrance, combining with the Mayor of Dudley and Dudley Metropolitan Borough in preparation for this event, and all of the proceeds were donated to the local Royal British Legion.
At our Annual General Meeting, long-standing supporter of the choir, Annie Hodkinson, was invited to become a Vice-President of the choir.
Annie has appeared on stage with us as a soloist on many occasions, and more recently, she has added the compèring of our concerts to her repertoire.We look forward to a continuing, and successful working partnership with her.
Presentation of Funds to the Royal British Legion
Following our very successful Festival of Remembrance Concert in November last year, which was held in conjunction with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, we were delighted to be able to present a cheque for £3000.00 to RBL's regional representative, Bob Townsend. The ceremony took place in the Mayor's parlour.
The Mayor's Charities
Early in May 2013, Chairman, Pete Hawthorne and Treasurer, Bob Biggs together with 9 of our longest-serving members (with a total service record of 400 years!) attended the Mayor's Parlour to present cheques totalling £4000 to the two charities which we have supported along with the Mayor during his year of office - The Dudley Stroke Association, and Diabetes UK - Stourbridge, Dudley and District Support Group (£2000 each).
Concerts In Various Venues
Tewksbury Abbey was this year’s venue for the English Association of Male Voice Choirs massed concert.
We sang in a fund raising concert at Stream Road Methodist Church, Kingswinford.
At St Mark’s Church, Pensnett, we were joined by St Mark’s School Choir and Drumming Group.
Blue Moon Harmony Choir from Cheltenham joined us in a concert in St Mary’s Church. Kingswinfor.
Susie Riddell finally appeared with us in concert as our compere in the Dudley Festival of Remembrance.
Then Christmas came round once again with our traditional Charity Concert
Our first concert in Dudley Town Hall this year should have been our Spring Concert when our special guest was to be our long-standing friend, the finalist from Britain's Got Talent, Jean Martyn. Supporting Jean should have been Susie Riddell (Tracey Horrobin from BBC Radio4's The Archers) and the choir from Cotwall End Primary School. However, some extremely heavy snow landed during the previous night, and Dudley was literally brought to a stand-still, so, reluctantly, for the first time ever, we had to cancel the concert.
We were honoured to be presented with the Mayor’s Award in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough Mayor’s Civic Awards 2013
We had a brief raid over Offa's Dyke for a weekend trip to join with our friends at Builth Male Voice Choir in a St David's Day Concert in their local Leisure Centre.
A contingent of about forty Songsters, together with a similar number of SWAGs (Songsters' Wives and Girlfriends) enjoyed a superb concert, some magnificent Welsh hospitality, glorious weather and some fantastic scenery - A good time was had by all - and here we are singing “Bring Him Home”.
The special guest at our Autumn Concert on was the magnificent soprano, Laura Wright. Both the choir and Laura were on top form, and the performances were greatly appreciated by the audience (judging by the amount of applause at the end!).
In addition to her magnificent singing,and just one week before the start of the new season of "Strictly Come Dancing", Laura introduced a new version of the programme - dubbed “Strictly Come Ducting” - and a sample of the winning couple’s performance appears in the stills below.
With over a million album sales under her belt Laura Wright has been one of the biggest selling classical artists this decade, and she is a regular sporting mascot having already performed at many high-profile events over the years. In November 2012 the RFU announced Laura as their first official anthem singer, supporting the England Rugby team at their international and 6 Nations rugby matches, and she certainly was a true English Rose at this concert - and we look forward to singing with her again in the not too distant future.
It may have escaped the attention of our 900-strong audience, but we actually did have a visit from Father Christmas during our Christmas Charity Concert - the two photos on the right are there to prove the point - just in case you missed him!!!!