Grant puts choir in fine voice

A MORPETH-BASED choir is in full voice after receiving expert help.

Earlier this year, the BBC invited music groups throughout the country to apply for grants which would enable applicants with acceptable projects to fulfil their own particular choral ambition.

A successful £1,000 application from Voicemale Men’s Choir enabled members to set up a series of workshops and voice clinics aimed at improving the choir’s performance, as well as individual vocal techniques.

So instead of the normal mid-September start, choir practice started in August as members gathered to start work under the guidance of voice coach Sally Burchell.

Musical Director Graham Stacy said: “I can hear an improvement already. All the choir members who had individual coaching from Sally found it positive and enjoyable and her work with the choir collectively was very successful.

“I could see how much the lads were enjoying themselves as they tried out Sally’s suggestions with great gusto. “From my own point of view I have learned a tremendous amount and feel that the whole experience has been invaluable.”

Voicemale was set up in 2001 as the result of an initiative by 20,000 Voices. It supported the choir until it became independent in 2002.

Initially in the care of Sandra Kerr and since 2002 in the hands of Mr Stacy, the choir has become increasingly well-known.

Choir Chairman Nigel Jenkins said: “Getting this grant from the Performing Arts Fund has provided choir members with a great opportunity to improve their individual and choral singing, which they would not otherwise have had. We are very glad to have had this kind of support from the BBC and really feel it has been money well spent.”

Ms Burchell added: “It has been really great working with the lads. There are some good voices in there.

“They produce a great sound from Graham’s arrangements and they’re all so cheerful and enthusiastic. I really hope I shall get the chance to work with them again.”

The choir meets on Wednesday evenings at Morpeth Methodist Church. Men interested in joining can visit or telephone Mr Stacy on 01669 640382.