YOU KNOW what its like when you pick up a tune, and you just can’t get it out of your head? Well, that’s me with “Don’t Stop Believin’!” – I picked the tune up whilst visiting a rehearsal of the Holderness Grange Choir, and it’s just a catchy tune that’s now with me for the next few days; whistling and humming it, a louder version whilst doing the washing up – and bath time is going to be downright operatic!
The song is just one of the repertoire that will feature in an “Evening of Song”, on Sunday 29th June 2014 at Holderness Grange Lifestyle Village, and if I’m anything to go by, the concert will leave you with a head full of popular tunes to delight and entertain long after the event has finished.
I visited the Holderness Grange Choir last night and what was apparent immediately was the strong social atmosphere amongst the 40-strong choir – the buzz of conversation was quite deafening as people greeted each other and caught up with things since the last rehearsal.
I had a quick chat with some of those present;
Frank Graham from Burstwick had joined the choir a couple of years ago, he had seen a poster in a shop appealing for more men to join and thought “I’ll come along for a sing-song!” But he soon realised “My ‘sing-song’ time was perhaps going to be a little bit more serious than I initially thought!” he laughed. The choir has been in rehearsal for the summer concert most of the year, but its brought him much pleasure.
Graham is still a rare breed in the choir – he was one of only six men performing in the rehearsals last night, and Dave another one of these said that the choir was still desperately seeking more male voices. Dave asks me: “Can you sing?” He’s the first of five other members who ask me the same question. The male voices add a distinctive quality to the harmonies of the choir, something pointed out to me by one of the ladies, and what is clear from all those present is everybody appreciates the contribution and work of each other. Members point out a couple of the soloists to me for particular attention, Emily and Suzanne.
Emily is one of the younger choir members present – ages range from 14 to 80. She is singing solo for two of the songs, and agrees that everyone takes it seriously, “But,” she says “it’s really light-hearted and lots of fun too.” This is praise indeed from someone who is actually involved in the serious business of training to be an opera singer!
Suzanne, another soloist, is very complimentary of the choir too: “I love the fact we do such a wide range of songs, most choirs today tend to concentrate on religious content, but we do songs from the shows and other popular pieces.” Suzanne is also doing a good job of marketing the choir – it’s her choir Twitter account @ChoirHedon that alerted the Hedon Blog to the summer concert in the first place.
At this point, Choir Director Gill Hanslip brings everyone to order to begin the rehearsal which starts with the smaller group performance of “Don’t Stop Believin!” and follows with breathing exercises – the disciplined silence of these exercises is in stark contrast to the loudness of the earlier conversation and signifies to me that the rehearsal has started for real!
I take a few photographs of the rehearsal – and although aware that the choir are in their ‘civvies’ and not in their performance costumes as they will be for the concert, I hope it reveals something about the choir. Leaving the rehearsal, I can’t help believing in the power of a choir to generate community spirit and create so much infectious enthusiasm and passion.
The “Evening of Song” takes place on Sunday 29th June 2014 at Drapers Restaurant, at the Holderness Grange Lifestyle Village on Draper’s Lane, Hedon. Get there for 6pm for a 6:30pm prompt start. Tickets £4.
We are repeating our concert again at 7.00pm on Tuesday 1st July, at Holderness Grange.
Tickets £4 available on the door.
Holderness Grange Choir regrets that the concert is not appropriate for babies and children under 8 years old.
I think these photos taken by Chris Wilkinson make the perfect final addition to this article! Chris, whose wife sings in the Choir, took these photos on the first performance night on Sunday 29th June 2014. We’ve added Chris’ Choir Photo to our Flickr page for better reproduction (just click the image below):
Pictured are Councillor Peter Turner, the Vice Chairman of the East Riding, Gill Hanslip the Choir Director, and Hedon Mayoress and Mayor Jennifer Dennis and Councillor John Dennis. We reproduce below the comments from the Hedon Mayor made on this Blog and reflective of his comments and praise for the Choir made after the concert on the 29th June:
“Just want add my congratulations to Gill, Emily and the whole choir on a thoroughly enjoyable concert.
“Jennifer and I were delighted to have been invited to the Sunday performance. It was a great night’s entertainment and they all looked to be having a lot of fun! I repeat what I told them after the concert, surely you are now at competition level. Why not give it a go Gill?
“Well done once again to you all for all your hard work. Hedon is lucky to have such a fine choir.”
668th Mayor of Hedon