Choristers recruited during 2018 reflect on their journey with the choir so far.
Little did we know that, as the bells rang in New Year 2018, Northampton Male Voice Choir (NMVC) was primed and ready to launch a major recruitment campaign that would challenge Northamptonshire’s men to learn to sing and, by doing so, raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
In February over 70 men turned out to an open event held over two evenings at Franklins Gardens – home of Northampton Saints RFC (where the offer of a free pint was certainly an incentive to attend.) NMVC’s charismatic Musical Director, Stephen Bell fired up our interest and then threw down a challenge for us to learn to sing two songs and then perform them at a concert in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.
Over sixty of us took up that challenge and the charity Concert held at the Spinney Hill Theatre on 14 April, in front of a sell-out audience of 600, was a tremendous success – raising a magnificent £15,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. Immediately after the performance, while we were still backstage and positively buzzing from the experience, Stephen asked us if we would like to take part in further training with a view to joining NMVC. For many of us the answer was a resounding “Yes, please”!
In September thirty-five of us finally completed our further training and were extremely proud to be formally welcomed as members of NMVC. Our joining made NMVC one of the biggest male choirs in the country.
Thanks to NMVC and its Musical Director, Stephen Bell, 2018 was a truly amazing year for us all and one in which we found (and in some cases rekindled) a real love of choral singing. Beyond our wildest dreams it saw us singing in a wide variety of concerts and venues, including sell-out events at Northampton’s Cripps, Spinney Hill and Derngate Theatres and, to round the whole year off, at Franklin’s Gardens on 28 December in front of 15000 Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs fans.
As new recruits we have now firmly established ourselves in the Choir bringing the total of Chorister’s to 90 and helping the NMVC raise £25,000 in 2018 for charities and good causes.
Some of the personal feedback received from recruits:
“Early in 2018 I started a journey of learning to sing having never sung publicly before. Over the past months I have sung in front of 600 people, a full house, at the Derngate and at Franklins Garden in front of 15,000. What a fantastic journey and experience! I can’t wait to perform in the Concerts planned in 2019.”
“I decided to attend NMVC’s Charity Challenge as I had never sung before and I was curious to find out if I was actually able to sing, as well as challenging myself to do something completely out of my comfort zone. On a more personal note, the opportunity to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK resonated with me, having lost my father to cancer in 2017. Although initially daunting, the whole experience was fantastic and the thrill of the singing at the Charity Concert in April at the Spinney Hill Theatre is something that will stay with me.”
“I was unsure but decided to go along to the evening at the Saints ground. I was struck by the friendliness of the members and the charisma of Stephen Bell along with the free pint – it was like taking the King’s shilling – I wanted to join!!! I was and still am over the moon to have been accepted and feel it such a privilege not only to sing but to have made friends with such great guys of different ages mixing together. I just love the banter, laughs, camaraderie, and not forgetting a truly breath-taking professional sound, wow!!!
“Hearing in the early part of 2018 about the NMVC’s plans for a Prostate Cancer Charity Concert and their offering an opportunity for other men to join them in that and help raise funds for the charity, I thought I would give it a go. Although I hadn’t sung in a choir for quite a few years I was pleased once again to have the opportunity, if only for a short period. The concert was a great success and afterwards those of us who had enjoyed the experience were asked if we would like to join the choir on a long-term basis. I was one of those who said “yes” and over the past few months we have been gently but skilfully integrated into full membership of the choir.”
(Excerpted from Nene Valley News article)