Possibly one of the top Male Voice Choirs in West Yorkshire, England. Website: www.honleymvc.co.uk

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Concert on The Hill

Ha! Over 60 male voices singing “Dancing Queen!”  Never expected to be a part of that. Unashamedly glad I was though. Much impressed with our bass section who didn’t need the song sheet. Indeed, they looked like they had sung it before. Many times… Pretty sure some of those wags on the baritone back row had substituted “dancing” for “raving.”

A superb afternoon patriotism and song. And midges. There was a wonderful atmosphere during the finale with most if not everybody on their feet.

Lindley junior School did themselves proud with their songs. Their singing of “Rhythm of Life” was one of the highlights of the concert. Well behaved bunch of youngsters too.

Loitering with inten to sing (Medium)

HMVC loitering with tuneful intent

No wonder “The Hill” is one of the choir’s most eagerly anticipated concerts.

Flower duet

Flower duet and crowd

Good to sing with the lads of Colne Valley MVC. Good to hear them too. Another great choir from our area.

It was pointed out to me by one of the lads who joined the choir on the same night as me  it this concert was just a week or so falling short of landing on our “1st birthday.” Our first year of choir membership. One year and, I think, Severn concerts. We both agreed it’s been time very well spent and in good company.

Next stop our WW1 concert in September. That is shaping up to be a rather spectacular one off of a concert. The Armed Man is a powerful piece o’ work.

WW1 Poster 5






St Barts

Most enjoyable.

A really good concert in a beautiful church. Wonderful appreciative audience.

I’m quite getting to grips with the set we are singing now and enjoying every minute. (Big thanks to BW who “leans in” on the bits he knows I’m shaky on.)

Our superb soloists did us proud. The Legendary Norman really knows how to work an  audience. They way he handled those two gentlemen brought much delight to the proceedings. And tears to the eyes of some…  I’d love to hear 8 in a Bar add Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” to their repertoire.

three tennors

Behold a pic! And not one taken “sneaky.” Well, not much.  A noble baritone helps three lost tenors who, alas, can’t find the church…



Concert On The Hill next! Then our WWI turn at Hudds Town Hall. New music is due for the latter. I’m semi familiar with The Armed Man, its an incredibly imposing piece. Three choirs! That has to be amazing.

And the best dressed allotment holder of the night goes to….

… Me I think. I’ve never watered my onions in full evening dress before. I cut quite a dash I can tell you. I like to think its how 007 would do it. He’s romanced the leggy Russian spy, defeated the megalomaniac bald bloke and just popped into the allotment on his way back to MI6. Something like that. Anyway…

A very well received concert for the Lions tonight. Smashing brass work by the LB Brass Band and a very rousing finale in Land of Hope and Glory.

Our lads in 8 in a Bar did us outstanding service. I watched a couple of ladies in the balcony clearly enjoying every note, as I’m sure everybody else did. But those two dear ladies were enthralled.

eight in a bra

And here they are in what is considered by some to be the best view….

Very well sung lads.

Back so soon?!

Hardly had time to hang up my DJ. Back to the town hall tomorrow for our concert for our friends The Huddersfield Lions. Much looking forward to having another crack at Jerusalem, one of my favourite hymns and Land of Hope and Glory.
No organ for the Lost Chord but what of it? The lads ALWAYS nail that MVC classic whether the big old Father Willis is with us or not.
Well pleased, also, to be able to further support the choir by joining the committee.
Yet more very good feedback related back to us from Lesley Garrett at last Tuesday’s rec’. And indeed, we are to have another soprano for a couple of numbers at the Concert on the Hill. Julie, I think her name was. Lovely voice.
More to come, after the concert.

Lesley Garrett, Barnsley Youth Choir and an Outstanding MVC

Now that REALLY was a lot of fun.

Excellent reviews from everybody I spoke to from the audience, and listening to chatter as I was leaving, we made a very big impression. “Super…”, naturally, the most talked about song.

A fantastic day for me. High spirits and good humor from the lads at the rehearsal.  Lesley, down to earth and charming. A near full house of an appreciative audience and the choir singing wonderfully!

I can’t imagine any complaints from the lads. MD Steve will no doubt have a few niggles but he looked very pleased with us. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen him looking so happy.  A very good night night for Steve all round.

Two Pauls and a Malc

Behold! The reason The Lost Chord doesn’t want to be found!

SR and LG

The very gorgeous, talented and charming Mr Steve Roberts and Lesley Garrett. hehehehe….


Very proud indeed last night to a part of Honley MVC and looking forward to seeing what Steve and the committee come up with to top it.

It will have to be something VERY special.


Concert eve…

Rehearsals going thunderously well. Most helpful extra rehearsal for the baritones last Tuesday which really helped sort some niggles out in our section.

Much happier with the revised and re-revised seating. Having the superbly strong  voice of BW on my left and the lyrically accurate MP on my right keeps me on the right track when pitch and words fail me. Though, I have to say, I’m almost word perfect on our program for tomorrow. Still can’t hum in a straight line though…

And of nerves…. They’ll be at least 12 people who know me well in the audience tomorrow. Family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances. No pressure there then!

Just two more practice sets. Tonight at the church and tomorrow at the town hall with the Barnsly kids and Lesley. And that will be ALL afternoon. Steve has done a very good job though of giving us a taste of how Lesley will fit in in the numbers we’ll be doing with her but ultimately there will be, there has to be, a certain spontaneity on the night regardless of our actual rehearsal with  Lesley.

Despite nerves, that is particularly what I’m looking forward to, seeing how what we’ve been learning and working so hard over fits together in front of just short of a  thousand people.

Really can’t see the night being anything other than an outstanding…. Do I know my dress shirt is now “a bit” pink?

Actually, its a lot pink.

It’s now pink.

I swear the washing machine hates me.

It WILL be an outstanding success. And very possibly slightly more colorful than anticipated.


Post Piazza post and post lasts night’s rehearsal post…

By all accounts the open air event in the town center went well, with not one but two renditions of “Super…!” I have it on good authority that at least one lady was delighted by our performance. Hopefully we’ll be doing the same for Lesley.

(NB: There IS a joke in “How many members of HMVC does it take to delight a member of the opposite sex?” But I am far too much of a gentleman to make it. Though I will look at any answers and openly giggle.)

And last nights rehearsal! Well, lets face it. The choir are just a couple of steps away from top form. I, and others in the baritones, thought we were nailing it last night. Steve told us we are sounding “very good” ( and we only get praise from the MD when we deserve it ) and one of the long serving lads who had to sit out said so too. I have no doubt what so ever we are going to have a fantastic concert. There WILL be a standing ovation and it won’t just be for children and sopranos.

Very interest rec’ for me last night as not only do I think I’m finally getting the hang of reading the dots but I’m supporting my notes much better and thus turning out a nicer sound. I’m delighted to be making a solid, consistent, contribution. Its only taken a year or so….




In the finest of voices.

Have to say that whether its due to the increased pace of the rehearsals prior to the Lesley Garret  gig or the new music just clicking with the choir, we are sounding mightily impressive. The last two rehearsals have sounded pretty damn good. Last Tuesday nights “Speed Your Journey” was, for my money, the best I’ve heard us do. The lad are clearly working hard at home on their music and the confidence is notable in our singing. It was a real pleasure to be apart of the music last Tuesday. A joy even.

The MD keeps pointing out how many hours of rehearsal time is left before the 31st. Not many.  Trying to at least  double that with serious home practice.

An open air performance on the Piazza on Saturday. Hope the weather holds out. An excellent “promo” opportunity for the choir.









Friends Concert

A most enjoyable evening performing to the Friends of the choir. St Mary’s is a beautiful church and a lovely space to sing in.

All reports I gathered from the audience were good. Food Glorious Food seemed to … er .. go down well! And nobody could have failed to have been impressed by our outstanding soloists. They put some nice variety in to the program to boot.

Thinking about talking a couple of baritones into forming a side act. Maybe that should be “side show”…

Anyway, just a thought. “The Vary-Tones” maybe. I’m sure suggestions will follow.



“When you’re good, no one can beat you…”

Steve did a fantastic job of coaxing the best out of us at last nights rehearsal. The pace was much brisker than the norm and the choir reacted wonderfully to ..er.. “acting” in our singing. “Food” sounded like a different choir to the one on stage last Tuesday. It sounded amazing. Inspirational stuff!

Overheard last night, leaving the church under a big Spring moon…

Baritone 1) “Oooh, look at that for a beautiful moon!”
Baritone 2) “Eh? Oh, yes. Nice.
Baritone 1) “Don’t worry, just an observation. I’m not being romantic or owt.”

But can we be REALLY sure?


From last nights concert.

 From last nights concert.

If its good enough for Obama and Cameron…

Yes! Proof positive that the baritones are THE most handsome section!

An enjoyable night with clear appreciation for the songs we do so well. Much enjoyed Jerusalem and despite the lack of the Father Willis, Lost Chord, I felt, was smashing.

Feel free to add a caption to the pic. Be warned though. We know where you sing…

Town Hall Ho!

A full and, mostly, accurate run through of the set for tonight’s Rotarian concert in the bath and I’m raring to go.  And clean as a whistle to boot.

The lads have sounded very strong on the new, and old numbers, at the last rehearsals so tonight is promising to be a good one!

Slightly disappointed George wont be firing up the Father Willis for the Lost Chord but what the hey, delighted to be singing with the choir again at the  town hall.

A note left on the kitchen noticeboard. “Don’t feed the dog or eat your tea in your dinner jacket. You know what happens…”

She knows me oh so very well.




Is there anything better….

than a rehearsal night where we get to sing through great songs like Amazing Grace and The Lost Chord? I don’t think there is. Learning new material is a pleasure but being able to throw your voice and heart at those two classics that we sing so well is pretty much the last word on being in the choir.

“That’s made my night, that as.” Somebody said.  I had no choice but to agree. Delighted these will feature in the April concert.

And, as the MD himself noted, Electricity sounded “the best we’ve ever sung it.” A performance, I’m certain, bolstered by the a fore mentioned standards. We could probably put dignity and passion in to the theme from The Muppet Show after knocking those two out to a packed town hall.

An interesting thought but possible another one of my “not to approach the choir with” ideas. Like us doing a medley of Bond themes… Well, we’re already in dinner jackets was my thinking. Common sense prevailed. I’ll be serving my apprenticeship, a decade or two, before I starting making “artistic” suggestions out loud.

I’m told that’s a very wise decision with suggestions of that quality.

St. Paul’s rehersal…

I really like the church at Armitage Bridge for rehearsals. Must be an acoustic thing. Interesting, I thought we sounded much better in the brief period when the lights went out. That must be a “not being able to see the tenors” thing. Hehehehehe!

We really tucked into “Consider Yourself,” “Food” and “Who Will Buy” last night. A trio of really great to sing  songs that just has to go down well with the audience. Actually, adding the smaller members of the wonderful Barnsley Youth Choir to it and its a done deal. Its going to be a big night.

Nice idea, though I know made in jest, that the choir dresses as the Dickensian characters from Oliver! for the show. Looking round at my fellow baritones, I realised it would be more of an issue of dressing down than dressing up for our end of the stage…

Still can’t “Mmmm” and “Ah” properly for “Going Home.” Just can’t get the timing right. Probably time to stop looking at the dots on that one and trust my ears, as they say.

Missed rehersal blues in scarlet…

Scarlet Fever is NOT fun at all. Had to miss the last rehearsal and voice only just up to green house and bathroom practice. Will be up to full speed for next Tuesday though.

Thankfully one of the lads in the Tenors took some recordings last Tuesday and has mailed ’em round the choir. That’s been a big help.  The boys sound to be in good form despite the handicap of being short a certain “baritone 69.”

Sorry to hear the planned sing before a Huddersfield Town match has had to be scrapped. It might not have been the best recruiting ground, in my opinion, but I quite fancied the experience.

Running out of chairs.

Four rehearsals into the new year and every night new voices joining in. Two prospective tenors last night. I haven’t had chance to say “how do?”  yet but both looked to be enjoying getting stuck into “Super’.”

Got my tickets for Norman’s music hall night. I’m told these are always a superb night of entertainment.  Quite looking forward. Haven’t been anywhere near “music hall”  since watching The Good Old Days with me Granny Rouse.  Actually, talking of music hall, Gran was where I first heard that fabled Max Miller joke about the mountain pass… I won’t reproduce it here for fear of offending the faint of heart and anyway, most have heard it.

I’m pretty sure the bar will be set a little higher on March 8th at Southgate Theater Honley, but  bawdy is fine by me.

I did go to City Varieties in Leeds one time. Saw Steeleye Span there in fact. Well worth sitting in the cramped  stalls to hear Maddy Prior sing. THE best voice in British folk music for my money. I’m not an overt fan of folk music but a beautiful voice is a beautiful voice.

The promise of new music next week and its also an “official” recruitment night. Here’s hoping, it would be great to see yet new faces.

So far the idea, dream even, of getting seventy HMVC voices or more on stage is starting to look quite reasonable!

Excellent humour and superb new tune.

Most jolly rehearsal last night, at least in my section of the baritones. A little “Goonish” humor never goes amiss on the back row.

Good to hear that thoughts are leaning towards a new recording by the choir. I can’t help thinking that with the choir clearly riding a very positive vibe, that is would be a good time to set those particular wheels in motion.

New music last night. A very interesting and atmospheric piece from Mascagni’s one act opera, “Cavalleria Rusticana.”  The Chorus and Drinking Song, no less. Wonderful. Looking forward to being a part of that in no small measure.

Speed Your Journey opened up considerably to me last night and has become my favorite of the new songs. Sounds great belted out in the shower and the greenhouse which is the hallmark of a superior song in my humble opinion.  There is a smashing rendition on You Tube by the lad of Gresley MVC which is worth a view.

Its good getting to know one of the new chaps from Skelmanthorpe. I hadn’t appreciated they have a MVC with a history as long as Honley and a membership to match. Maybe there IS  life on other planets too. Cool!

A new poster distributed for the next recruitment night. A new design too. Far more eye-catching…

“What happened to Kitchener?” Inquired M’lady.

“This is him on his night off?” I chanced. Unconvincingly, apparently.


New tunes and yet more potential new members!

Superb! Last nights rehearsal saw two more interested gents coming through the door, swelling last nights turn out to an impressive sixty.

New music, tunes by Verdi and Strauss. Speed Your Journey sounds very rousing and I look forward to it coming up in rehearsal.  It will be amazing to sing that on stage.

Supercalifragilistic has some tricky bits. I think I spelt it four different ways last night. I’ve got one or two problems with How To Handle A Woman as well… but enough of my private life…

All in all a good night.

Going Home with Lesley and Paul…

Of the four new pieces this looks the trickiest from the “new boy perspective”… You tube to the rescue!

Found a version by the superb Paul Robeson which is not only very moving and but very helpful for getting the hang of the tune. And then one by Lesley Garret with that fine body of men, the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Both are well worth a listen even if you’ve got the song down.

Paul Robeson

Lesley Garrett

The latter clip give a tantalizing taste of what performing with Lesley might be like on May 31st. Amazing to think I get to share a stage with a soprano of such standing. Watching the clip helps to calm the nerves no end….

Into 2014. A baritone writes…

The first rehearsal of 2014 is now under our belts and we have the first four pieces of new music to learn. Interesting choices and great to sing.

Clearly, the choir is in excellent spirits after after the amazing Town Hall gig at the end of our concert season. There was a definite buzz in the rehearsal room last Tuesday and everybody I spoke to is very keen to build on last years success and make the Lesley Garret concert a real belter.

And the MD is already talking about about next Christmas! I heard a fellow baritone suggest that that might be very wise if we are to start learning more German…

Its amazing for me to think that it was only mere months ago that I mooched, cautiously, along to my very first rehearsal. I didn’t know if I could sing but knew I wanted to give it a serious go. Not being an overtly social type of chap, its a real testament to the friendliness and accepting attitude of the lads in the choir that I felt able to sit down in the baritones and croak and squeal my way through those first two rehearsal hours.

I knew I sounded terrible, but I enjoyed it anyway thanks to the voices of everybody else. That sound of the choir.  The rich swell of the basses, the tenors and baritones, in part and in unison. Even in the rehearsal of new music, the music I heard was incredibly uplifting. And the humor between songs, the good natured  barracking between sections, took the edge of my nerves in no small measure.

When I got home that night M’lady, knowing the knots of doubt and apprehension I’d got myself  into before going to see the choir, tentatively asked how it had gone…

“They made me sing Elton John!” I bleated.

” Well, never mind love, you tried it.”

“No, that’s the just it! It was really good!”

This exchange left  a wife of some twenty four years wondering what the Honley Male Voice Choir could have possible done with her REAL husband.

So, just a few months in and I’ve two Town Hall concerts to my name. Its amazing to think that I’ve gone from a croaky would-be baritone in jeans, trying not to draw too much attention to himself in that first rehearsal, to a croaky would-be baritone in evening dress trying not to draw too much attention to himself in front of a few hundred people… And loving every moment of it.

Thinking about that Christmas concert, I imagine what we’d have sounded like with 70 of us on stage. We seemed fit to raise the roof with 58! 70 would be amazing.

Its very appealing  to think of the choir sounding bigger and  louder and fuller. That’s a big part of what drives me to learn my words and do the vocal exercises that a choir buddy showed me. If I want the choir to be bigger, fuller and louder I suppose I should learn to sing bigger, louder and fuller. Thankfully, there is a wealth of experience and ready support in the choir so us newbies need not struggle too much.

I’m told that the choir has had its ups and down over the years, but it seems that there is a renewed optimism that Steven Roberts, as new MD, has ushered in. It is clearly a very exciting time for the choir. I feel rather privileged to have been accepted as a member and look forward to being able to add my voice, such as it is, and friendship to the choir throughout the new year.