Stithians St. Stythians Male Voice Choir Cornwall, UK
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Review of 2007................. BACK TO PRESENT
60th Anniversary Year
The Choir's first engagement of the year was a Sankey Evening with Stithians Ladies Choir at Stithians Methodist Church on Sunday 28th January. The Revd Aubin De Gruchy compèred the concert and Colin Anthony was the organist. Proceeds went to the NSPCC and more than £600 was raised. Two days later the Choir's AGM was held when Frank Hugo took over as Choir Chairman.
Our 60th Anniversary Year celebrations started in earnest with a Dinner at the Green Lawns Hotel, Falmouth on Saturday 24th February. Choir members, families and guests made a gathering of 144 people. Special guests were Angela Thomas and Alison Harvey, who frequently sing as soloists with us, and David and Gill Peters. David was the guest speaker and entertained the diners with stories drawn from his long and varied experience of choral singing in Cornwall. Awards for 40 years service were presented to Desmond Barrett, Adrian Rowe and Ken Downing and a presentation was made to Ken to mark his 20 years as Musical Director. Roy Pascoe, our President, has achieved a remarkable 60 years association with the Choir - so we had to mint a special certificate (the first!) mark this event. Our Chairman, accompanied by three seasoned choir members, visited Roy in early March and presented him with this award.
Our season proper started with a Sunday afternoon appearance at the Eden Project on 1st April. Two weeks later on 15th April, we travelled to Bude. Here, Terry Bale, had invited us to perform in Bude Central Methodist Church, sharing the concert with local band, Bude Metric. The concert was in aid of Cancer Research. The folks of North Cornwall always seem to appreciate our appearance - evidenced by the provision of a lovely tea and a large appreciative audience at the concert. After a concert at St. Elwyn's Church, Hayle, we were booked for two events on Monday Bank Holiday, May 7th. Both were part of the Third Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival. The first was one of the many informal afternoon concerts. The venue for this one was the Tate St. Ives, featuring Peterborough and St. Stythians Male Voice Choirs. The evening performance was part of the Final Gala Concert of the Festival, sharing the programme with 9 other choirs from Sweden, Canada, South Africa, Iceland, England and Cornwall. Some weeks earlier we had been asked to sing the winning entry for the Male Voice Music Composers' Competition. We had some 8 weeks warning of this and spent March and April at practices learning the new piece, Whenever There's a Life to Save, by Tony Cliff of Falmouth. Tony was presented with his prize by Festival Director, Dr. Roy Wales, before we sang the song.
The Choir's next concerts were over the Tamar. Choir members, wives and supporters left the County early on Friday 25th May. We arrived at the Holiday Inn, North Stoke in good time for a relaxed evening meal. Our first concert of the tour was held the following evening with our hosts, the Audley Male Voice Choir, at Wolstanton High School. We had an enthusiastic and responsive audience of about 250. Our new CD Congratulations - 60 Years of Song was released at this concert. John Musgrave made full use of the occasion and had a total sales of about 50 CDs, noting that our Sankey recordings also sold well in Staffordshire. We visited the Wedgwood Visitor Centre in the village of Barleston, Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday. Josiah Wedgwood moved his factory to this green field site in the mid-1800s to avoid the pollution of the urban potteries areas. In the evening we participated in a Pentecost Sunday service at Audley Methodist Church.
Our 60th Anniversary celebrations continued with the visit of the Pontarddulais Male Choir for a concert at Redruth Methodist Church on Saturday 16th June. The Pontarddulais choir of 85 filled the church with sound and our soprano soloist, the lovely Caroline Brooke Lester from London, complemented the choirs with her outstanding performance. The next day the choir returned to 'normal' with a local concert at St. Day, helping to celebrate the Feast Day there. Local celebrities, Ivy Curnow and Bernard Trembath, were our guests at our first Patio Concert of the year at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth on Monday 2nd July. This was the second appearance of Ivy (Heather Thomas) and Bernard (Ivor Bray) with the Choir and their interchanges in Cornish dialect went down very well. Our summer programme continued with a concert at St. Agnes Parish Church on Sunday 8th July. Amy Richards of Truro School was our soloist.
We participated in a Proms in the Park concert with the St. Stythians and Hayle Bands at the Princess Pavilion on Sunday 22nd July. We returned to the Princess Pavilion on 3rd September for our second Patio Concert of the year. Angela Thomas was our soloist and she gave her usual powerful contralto performance. There followed a concert organised by the Friends of St. Michael's Church, Newquay. Alison Harvey was our guest soloist accompanied sensitively by our own Kathryn Baldry. Alison's lovely soprano voice matched the beautiful setting and acoustics of St. Michael's Church.
The summer ended with our last concert on the Patio at the Princess Pavilion on Monday the 17th September. We used a "Request Night" format which proved very popular with the audience. Our soloists were Joanna Tisdale and Amy Richards who sang separately and together as a duo - two youngsters carrying on the live music tradition in Cornwall. The following week the Choir gave a concert at the Carbis Bay Wesley Methodist Church Harvest celebration. Soprano Susan Lancaster (of the Duchy Opera and the Goonvrea Singers) was our soloist. She delighted the audience and choir alike. Two weeks later, Susan was again our soloist at St. Michael's Church, Helston at a concert organised by the Royal Air Force Association to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of it's formation in Helston.
The last major event of our anniversary year was our Gala Concert at Stithians Methodist Church on Saturday 27th October. The event was a three-choir concert shared with Mevagissey and Mousehole Male Voice Choirs and guest soprano, Sarah-Jane Dale, an opera singer from London. The talented Philip Davey of Truro Methodist Church accompanied Sarah-Jane Dale on the piano. Rebecca Wills of BBC Spotlight Southwest compèred the concert. A capacity audience of more than 300 people were entertained. Sarah-Jane Dale delighted the audience with her mixture of operatic and lighter songs.
The last two months of the year was taken up with engagements at Trewoon Village Hall, the traditional Carol Service at Stithians Methodist Church which we shared with the Stithians Ladies Choir, a visit to the Culdrose Community Centre in Helston and to Townshend near Leedstown. Finally, carols at the Stithians Village Hall with the Ladies Choir and the Band went with its usual swing.
Summary of our 2007 Programme:
Stithians (Sankey Evening), Eden Prpject, Bude, Tate St. Ives, Hall for Cornwall, Audley (2 concerts), Redruth (with Pontarddulais), St. Day, St. Agnes, Princess Pavilion (3 patio concerts and Proms in the Park), Newquay (St. Michaels), Carbis Bay, Helston (St. Michaels), Stithians (2 concerts), Culdrose CC and Trewoon, Townshend and Stithians Village Halls.

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