11:42am Monday 2nd May 2011
By Charles Hutchinson
PHILIP Jennings is the youngest recruit so far to the Malton District Male Voice Choir.
Sixteen-year-old Philip has been welcomed to the second tenor ranks by musical director Chris Gulley, who took over the Ryedale amateur choir last August.
Also there to greet him was the choir’s oldest member, 84-year-old Gordon Temperton, one of several octogenarians in the group.
Philip’s older brother, Tom, is already a member of the choir. “He has the lowest bass voice I’ve ever heard in a 19-year- old,” says choir publicist, chairman and baritone Tom Todd. The choir is in its fourth year and although membership has grown to nearly 30, plenty of room remains for more singers aged 15 and over.
“No musical experience is needed but an ability to sing is,” says Chris Gulley.
“Newcomers would be taught. Not being able to read music isn’t a barrier to membership: all you need is a love of music of varying styles.”
Chris, a bass-baritone from York, sings with the York Minster Choir and Opera North and also teaches singing at St Peter’s School.
He believes that singing helps keep you fit. “Singing is without doubt good for your health and it’s also much more physical than people realise – and the special comradeship in male voice choirs is similar to that found in sport,” he says.
Indeed, regular singing is beneficial all round, he suggests. “Put your problems to one side for a challenging and enjoyable couple of hours each week and you’ll be ready to tackle them the next day,” says Chris.
Since its formation in 2007, the choir has helped to raise thousands of pounds for good causes from its concerts in Ryedale and now it has entered a busy new season that began with its first joint engagement with Malton Harmonia Ladies Choir on April 2.
“We have concerts upcoming in Middleton and Great Edstone in May – both repeats, so somebody must have liked us last time round,” says chairman Tom.
“We’re doing a birthday in Harrogate in July and a wedding at All Saints’ Church, in Kirkbymoorside, in August, as the circle of events widens. We’ll be singing while the register is signed, which should provide a rousing climax to the nuptial proceedings, because the bride’s dad is Welsh and wants Cwm Rhondda!”
A further choir engagement awaits: “We’ve bagged Opera-tunity’s oratorio singer, Wendy Goodson, for our next annual concert on September 10. It’s all go in 2011!” says Tom.
Choir meetings are held each Friday from 7.45pm to 9.30pm in Malton Methodist Church, Saville Street, Malton. Anyone interested in joining should come along, or phone secretary David Ackroyd on 01944 758693 or chairman Tom Todd on 01653 692362.
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