Stithians St. Stythians Male Voice Choir Cornwall, UK


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Review of 2006......................BACK TO PRESENT
Our first concert of the year was a Sankey Evening at Stithians Methodist Church in late January. The Choir joined with the Stithians Ladies Choir for this event. More than a decade has elapsed since the two choirs recorded our Sankey collections, Sankey - The Fifth Album. The Choirs have produced five 'Sankey' recordings over the years since 1974. This collection totals 73 hymns and may well be one of the most complete. Sankey was originally an amateur singer, composer and choirmaster. Dwight Moody was a preacher. Sankey composed several hymns and Moody wrote several poems and songs. But primarily they were a worship team. Sankey used hymns from many sources and composers but usually those of the characteristic style that has lived on. Though from America, Sankey and Moody participated in the great Methodist revival in the UK in 1873-75, touring England and Scotland. After a slow start this was a roaring success. The success continued on their return home. One example - the New York crusade - began on February 7th, 1876 at the Great Roman Hippodrome on Madison Avenue. A choir of 600 voices was led by Sankey, and Moody had his largest audience to date. Our concert at the Methodist Church, albeit on a smaller scale, allows us to imagine such an event.

Our next two concerts were also 'joint' with Rame Peninsula MVC (at Millbrook) and with Torpoint Ladies who were making a reciprocal return visit to Stithians. The fourth concert of the year was 'joint' in a big way. Eleven choirs from S.E. England and ourselves from Cornwall combined to give a massed choirs concert (about 400 voices) in the Fairfield Halls in Croydon. This was the third such concert organised by the Croydon Male Voice Choir and it was a huge success with an appreciative audience of approximately 1500 people. Continuing in the mode of shared concerts (a coincidence), Saturday 24th June found us at Centenary Methodist Chapel, Camborne, performing with the Siendorf Beaumaris Band, tenor David Rashleigh and baritone Sydney Mitchell. The compere was Rebecca Wills of Spotlight SW. The concert was in support of The Centenary Centre and Cornwall Hospice Care. The Beaumaris Band had departed Anglesey, N. Wales, at 6.00 a.m. and after their 13 hour trip (it was a summer Saturday!) gave an electrifying performance that included some singing (!). This was serious competition! It was the best live band performance that some of us had ever heard. The Choir and soloists were very much the supporting acts but we are confident enough to play this role - and, judging from audience response, our contribution was much appreciated.

Earlier in the year a Bristol TV production company, Available Light Productions, found the choir on the internet and asked if we would help in the making of an episode of How the West was made (for ITV1). The Director, Presenter (Chris Chapman) and team filmed voice-overs in June outside and inside Stithians Methodist Church and filmed the Choir singing the two verses of Jerusalem. The second series of How the West was made examined the effect of the Industrial Revolution on the Westcountry. The episode involving the Choir was aired in September.

We performed 4 'patio concerts' at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth throughout the summer. These are less formal than our usual performances and are much enjoyed by our supporters and holidaymakers. Another summer concert was up at Par Methodist Church. It was one of those very hot 2006 summer evenings and as we were singing up in the gallery, we had to make it a 'jackets off' performance. We do not do this lightly - but occasionally needs must. In September we were the closing event of the Mawnan Country Fair. The following week we supported a Battle of Britain commemoration at Illogan Parish Church.

The Federation of Cornish Male Voice Choirs organised a concert held on 23rd September in the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. We participated in this event as a Choir and our MD, Ken Downing, played a lead role by conducting the opening three pieces. About 230 singers were involved; the event was a sell-out; and the concert was a resounding success. It was in support of Cornwall Hospice Care and more than £10,000 was raised for the Hospices. One criticism (from within the body of the singers) was that the programme relied too heavily on the usual 'golden oldies' mix of songs. It is difficult to judge just how much new music the Male Voice community should introduce at these events. The views of our regular supporters on this issue would be welcome.

We performed in Trewoon Village Hall and Mullion Methodist Church in October
and held our Annual Gala Concert at All Saints' Church in Falmouth on 19th November. This was well attended in spite of some atrocious weather. We were pleased to welcome four of our regular soloists: the duo John and Rosemary Heard, Alison Harvey and Angela Thomas. Their different styles, mixed with the Choir's efforts, made for a varied programme that seemed to be appreciated. The annual carol service at the Stithians Methodist Church was held on 3rd December. Traditionally we combine with the Ladies Choir to lead the carol singing. The concert year was completed with a visit to Nancegollan Village Hall and finally Stithians Village Hall for traditional carol singing with Stithians Ladies Choir.

We are most grateful to the soloists who have supported our concerts throughout the years: Claire and Gareth Churcher, Alison Harvey, John and Rosemary Heard, Amy Roberts and Angela Thomas. We also thank our Ladies Committee who give us help throughout the year and our loyal supporters who attend so many concerts and travel with on our expeditions over the border into England.

Summary of 2006 Concert Programme

Sankey Evening, Stithians
Rame Peninsula MVC at Millbrook
Torpoint Ladies at Stithians
Fairfield Halls, Croydon
Centenary Methodist Church, Camborne
Par Methodist Church

Mullion Methodist Church
Gala Concert, All Saints' Church, Falmouth

Mawnan Smith Country Fayre
Princess Pavilion, Falmouth
(4 patio concerts)
Illogan Church
Hall for Cornwall (Hospices)
Trewoon Village Hall
Stithians Methodist Carols
Stithians Village Hall Carols