The Noughties (Volume 3)

GSMVC 50th Anniversary

For our 50th anniversary we performed a series of concerts staged in all areas of the Borough of Dudley

The first of these was at St Andrews Congregational Church, Wall Heath where the choir was founded, and which was its rehearsal home in the early days. Our only remaining founder member, Don Marsh (now a Vice-President) acted as compère - using the opportunity to recount a few "old tales" about the choir and its members.

The next concert in the series took place in Stourbridge Town Hall, and included a performance by the young people from the Side By Side Theatre Group. Once again we were very grateful to Adrian Goldberg who agreed to be compère on this occasion.

Dudley Concert Hall was the venue for our Spring Concert when, our Honorary Member, Pam Ayres was the guest artist. Helping keep order on stage during this concert was another great friend of the choir - local historian and radio celebrity Professor Carl Chinn.

Brierley Hill Civic Hall was the venue for a concert with The Bachelors featuring John Stokes. The compère for the evening was local man Doug Parker

Philippa TomsonThe Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain were our guests once more - this time at our Annual Concert in Dudley during October, and what a concert it was - the "Sold Out" notice having to be posted a few days before curtain-up. Both the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and the Gentlemen Songsters Male Voice Choir were on tip top form, as was our compère, Michael Collie.

Pictured left is Michael Collie, who got some of the choir together to have a ukulele rehearsal session

Other concerts during 2007 included ...

"Tsunami - The Work Continues" opened proceedings for the year, and once again, presenter, Adrian Goldberg, acted as compère.

We contributed to Birmingham’s St George’s Day celebrations once more, and later we performed in a joint concert at Walsall Town Hall with Warley Male Choir and the hosts, Shelfield Male Voice Choir.

A very wet-under-foot Tewkesbury Abbey was the venue for this year’s EAMVC Concert.

Phoenix West Midlands Brass, Doug Parker and Mel Thomas joined us in the Dudley Festival of Remembrance – this year being in support of the Soldiers, Sailors and Airforce Family Association.

In November, we appeared for the first time at Kinver Methodist Church- an event which raised money for the Methodist Homes for the Aged.

As we approached the Christmas season, we joined with the Langley Band and other artists to perform in the Mayor of Sandwell's Christmas Carol concert at West Bromwich Town Hall.

2008 The Summary of a Typically Busy Year

Saturday 2nd February - WORDSLEY Holy Trinity Church
Tsunami - The Work Continues - with Adrian Goldberg and guests Summerhill Choral Society

Saturday 5th April - DUDLEY Dudley Concert Hall
Spring Concert. Guest artist Jean Martyn Compère Mel Thomas

Saturday 26th April - BIRMINGHAM Birmingham Symphony Hall
St George's Day concert

Saturday 7th June - KIDDERMINSTER Kidderminster Town Hall
A concert with Kidderminster Valentines Ladies Choir to celebrate their 20th Anniversary along with Kidderminster Male Choir and the Malvern Singers

Sunday 22nd June - BRIERLEY HILL Brierley Hill Civic Hall
Concert with other Black Country artists in memory of Dolly Allen.

Saturday 28th June - BIRMINGHAM Birmingham Town Hall
Concert with the English Association of Male Voice Choirs hosted by Prof. Carl Chinn.

Saturday 5th July - SWINDON (Staffs) St John’s Church
Church Church Anniversary Concert.

Friday 15th August - HIMLEY (Staffs) Himley Country Hotel

Saturday 30th August - WALL HEATH Roman Catholic Church

Sunday 14th September - DUDLEY Dixon's Green Methodist Church
Young Mens' Bible Class Anniversary Service

Saturday 27th September - DUDLEY Dudley Concert Hall
Concert hosted by Viva Musica with Kidderminster Valentines and Summerhill Choral Society

Saturday 11th October - DUDLEY Dudley Concert Hall
Gentlemen Songsters Annual Concert. Guest artists Langley Band and compère Don Maclean

Thursday 6th November - DUDLEY Dudley Concert Hall
Festival of Remembrance with Phoenix West Midlands Brass

Saturday 13th December - DUDLEY Dudley Concert Hall
Christmas Charity Concert with Phoenix West Midlands Brass, St Peter's Collegiate School Choir and Harvey Andrews and compère Michael Collie.

Staff Changes

During 2007, John Walley took charge of the baton as Acting Musical Director at the end of May on the departure of Lynn Andrews.

John Walley

Steven Swindells joined us as Assistant Accompanist at the tender age of 16 - working wonders for the average age of the choir!!!

Steven Swindells

In 2008, we were pleased to announce that June Box had accepted an invitation to become a Choir Vice-President. June was our Accompanist for ten years, prior to handing over the reins to Neil Bolton, after which time she continued for a further two years as Assistant Accompanist. The Committee and Members were delighted that June accepted this role, and we look forward to many more years with June "in the ranks"

June Box

Charitable Work

Despite the near-collapse of the banking system, the credit crunch and the high unemployment figures, 2009 proved to be a record fund raising year for the choir – in summary we donated more than £9,800 from our own fund raising efforts during the year (which included the concert we organised on behalf of the EAMVC) plus more than £1700 raised in conjunction with other artists which was donated to the Kemp Hospice, Kidderminster, and a sum well in excess of £100,000 donated to Cancer Research UK as a result of the Festival of Brass and Voices concert in which we participated at the Royal Albert Hall in October. This was our second such concert, and this time, the 1000 mixed voices were accompanied by Grimethorpe and Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Bands.

The year started at Holy Trinity Church, Wordsley when we were joined "on stage" by a touring choir from The Netherlands - the DON KOZAKKENKOOR (Don Cossacks Choir) - a Dutch choir which specialises in singing Russian music. This promised to be a fantastic start to our 2009 programme, and how right that proved to be.

Don Kozakkenkoor
Don Kozakkenkoor Album
Don Kozakkenkoor Russian Songs

2009 - The End of Another Decade

We revisited the 60’s for our Spring Concert in Dudley Concert Hall, when our guests were The Rockin Berries.Our compère for the occasion was Black Country Wordsmith, David Bartley.

Dudley Metropolitan Borough's St George's Day celebrations took place with a concert also featuring Maggie O'Hara, Annie Hodkinson, The West Midlands Fire Service Band and Don Maclean.

Our efforts turned to a big event in June, when we were the host choir, and organisers of the English Association of Male Voice Choirs’ 2009 concert.

The magnificent setting of Lichfield Cathedral was the venue, and the concert featured over 250 voices from 8 male voice choirs, plus contributions from soprano, Helen Withers, and concert organist Jean Martyn, all assisted by compère, Michael Collie (whose Grandfather was once the Dean Of Lichfield Cathedral).

We are pleased to report that we had a complete sell out for our Autumn Concert, when our star guest was Hayley Westenra. This was one concert which will remain in the memory for a long time.

In the last couple of months of the year we promoted and participated in the Festival of Remembrance in Dudley Concert Hall; we were guest artists when the Central Military Band of the Ministry Of Defence of Kazakhstan appeared in the same hall, and we presented our Christmas Charity Concert, which included the Phoenix West Midlands Brass, and our compère Annie Hodkinson.

Hayley Westenra pictured at a rehearsalHayley Westenra at a rehearsal