Weybridge Male Voice Choir has been performing to audiences and raising money for good causes and national and international charities for nearly one hundred years. I consider it a real honour to be the Musical Director of this choir, and my hope and expectation is to take the choir to new heights. Every Musical Director has a different approach and different views on where they would like their choir to be. I feel it is important to share these views with you, the choir and audience.
What makes a good choir isn’t just down to the choice of repertoire and perfection of musical notes. I believe it is also down to the atmosphere created by its members and their shared love of singing. I have always said that you can tell whether a choir is happy before they have even started to sing. So a friendly and happy choir is foremost in my vision for the choir. The introduction of a pub singing group will only help to give members that camaraderie that can be brought in to weekly rehearsals, as members will have a chance to mix with singers they wouldn’t normally be singing next to.
It is always hard attracting new members to any choir as the choice out there is vast. We have done very well getting around twelve new members in the last few months but I would like to see our numbers increase considerably. It is my vision that for our one hundredth year (2021) we will have one hundred singers signed up. We currently have about seventy members, so I don’t see this being an unrealistic figure. It would be a huge achievement to say we have increased the choir to one hundred members for our 100th year. It would be fitting to have our largest choir then, as I plan to have some extremely high profile concerts celebrating our hundred years in London and further afield. How we achieve these numbers is also down to us being an approachable choir, with all levels of musical ability. We are a non-audition choir, and I would like the choir to act as a platform for those less able to read music, developing this skill without it being a prerequisite for those joining, and hope to make the learning process as easy as possible with rehearsal tracks.
The repertoire of the choir has varied massively over the past 90+ years, and the choir’s library is an extensive one which will continue to grow, as I would like to introduce new pieces which singers who have been in the choir for many years won’t have sung, and which audience members who have been following us for years won’t have heard. I believe in a varied programme, which will introduce our audiences to different genres of music. From current West End musicals, to much loved hymn tunes, to some modern popular songs, I aim to give the choir interesting, engaging and loved music which they will enjoy rehearsing and performing.
Our committee works very hard to get charities on board with our concerts and the work we do for local, national and international charities is incredible. I want to add many new venues for us to perform in and experience. Our solo slot in programmes has varied over the years, and I have a very clear vision for how I see this working in the future. I would like to engage with schools and community groups a lot more for our concerts. Our tagline which has developed over the years is “Serving the community” and in my view this isn’t just through supporting local charities, it is through supporting young local talent and giving them opportunities that they may not get elsewhere. Being a primary school music teacher myself, I have a passion for inspiring children to perform and giving them the confidence that will help them later in life. So where possible, I will approach local schools and groups to see if they wish to get involved with our concerts. I will also continue to ask our own choir and guest soloists to perform alongside our engaged groups, trying to keep this as varied as possible.
I truly believe that Weybridge Male Voice Choir can be one of, if not the, leading choir in the South, a choir that others look to as an example of a thriving, challenging and enjoyable experience. We serve the community by raising lots of money for charities, but we also serve the community through laughter, enjoyment and moving music and this, for some, can be life changing.