After having reached his 90th birthday the previous day, new nonagenarian, John Hames, was on stage at the Derngate Theatre, Northampton performing with Northampton Male Voice Choir (NMVC) under its Musical Director, Stephen Bell.

The event, ‘Choirfest24 – Collide’, produced by West Northamptonshire Council, was held on 30 March and treated a near capacity audience to an eclectic blend of music as classical met pop and gospel – rock met jazz – and orchestral met them all. As well as singing a selection of songs from its own repertoire, NMVC joined forces with the four other local choirs on stage to perform as a mass choir of 200 voices under nationally acclaimed Music and Choir Director, Gareth Fuller and Royal Wedding Choir Director, Karen Gibson MBE.

The ground-breaking show also featured a multitude of other highly accomplished, professional singers and musicians as well as talented performers from Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT) and the evening was expertly co-hosted by professional vocalist and presenter, Wendi ‘Rubee’ Rose and Northamptonshire’s very own, John Griff.
After the show, 90 year old John, Vice President and Honorary Life Member of Northampton Male Voice Choir said ‘From my very earliest days at school I’ve always loved singing and particularly singing in choirs. I’ve been a member of NMVC for 37 years and this evening has just got to have been my best moment ever with the choir. I believe the practice and discipline of singing and being part of a team over all these years has enabled me to reach my ripe old age and having all the performers and audience stand and sing “Happy Birthday” to me at the end of the show really was the icing on my cake!’.

Commenting on John’s long and distinguished contribution to the choir, NMVC Chairman, Mark York, said ‘Since I joined NMVC, I’ve discovered that John has always been a consistent and hard-working chorister. He quickly became a member of the choir’s Executive Committee and went on to serve 12 years as Chairman. After retiring from the committee in 2015 he has continued to be responsible for procuring and distributing the choir’s uniform clothing. His enthusiasm for singing and ability to learn new music is undiminished and his sense of humour is still as sharp as ever. Happy Birthday John!’