We have been contacted by Emma Pitchford whose Grandfather, Harold Godfrey was a member of the choir in the 1950’s; apparently in 1952 a BBC radio Home Service recording was released on a 78 rpm disc which Emma’s Nana used to enjoy listening to. Unfortunately the disc was damaged beyond repair and we are trying to locate any information which may help to shed light on the event or locate a copy. We, unfortunately, do not have anyone in the choir who recalls the period in question. Can you help??
This picture from the Derbyshire Advertiser, 2nd May 1947. Harold is in the middle in the pinstripe suit.
Proud achievements in the early years
We are a well established choir, first founded in 1903. Originally formed from two chapel choirs it proved to be very well respected by a wide spectrum of the community. Many choirs were formed in the early years of the 20th Century as a good voice was a natural asset and an inexpensive method of making music when instruments were difficult to afford.
The Great War of 1914 – 1918 took it’s toll on choir activity, as well as many other traditions, and there is little reference to this period. Coming to the 1920’s it is known that the choir won at least one trophy in an important music festival.
During the next 40 years (despite further war) participating in music festivals was an important facet of male voice singing and,between 1931 and 1966, under the direction of Mr. Albert Walton, the choir attended 41 festivals and achieved 29 first, 10 second and 2 third places. In 1971, the choir was amalgamated with Pye Hill and District Male Voice Choir to form the Erewash and District Male Voice Choir. Sadly the Musical Director, Mr Alan Lindley, who sponsored this amalgamation, collapsed and died shortly after on stage at Brownhills Music Festival. Subsequently, some members felt uncomfortable with the new format and reconstituted the Pye Hill Choir, which still exists today.
In 1976 another notable conductor, Mr Frank Smith, took the opportunity to change the name to the Alfreton and District Male Voice Choir, better to reflect its location but to consider a wider catchment area for members. He successfully managed the choir for some years and continued the choir’s festival success.
Unfortunately, in 1988, the deteriorating health of Frank’s wife forced him to relinquish the post of MD, and over the next few years the choir suffered decline due to falling interest and poor support. That was until, in 1997, Mr Louis Spencer became musical director and, with his patience, guidance and understanding the choir was revived and became, again, a successful force at quality concerts and prestigious venues.
It was , therefore a notable milestone in 2003, when a centenary concert was staged at Willersley Castle; (this has turned out to be the first of 50 performances , and rising , since then at this most enjoyable venue). At the 2003 concert, Louis retired as Musical Director and Catherine Haslam carried the baton until 2006. Mr Alan Randle, our Deputy Musical Director held things together until 2007.
In 2007 we came under the watchful eyes of Mr. Terry Clay who, as Musical Director, encourages and leads the choir to achieve and improve our performances. Whilst we no longer perform competitively, we endeavour to maintain the standards we think our audiences deserve. Capably supported by our two accompanists, Lisa and Michael, we continue the Male Voice Choir traditions and strive to follow the course laid down all those years ago.
In 2008 we were awarded a grant from the National Lottery Awards For All Scheme allowing the purchase of new uniforms and new music. It was agreed that the name of the choir would be shortened to the Alfreton Male Voice Choir (it fits on the pocket better).
In 2009 we were granted Charity Status since when we have been delighted to support many charitable organisations.
In 2015 we were invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall alongside the Cory and Grimethorpe Brass Bands (and 1500 other choristers). Proceeds were to the benefit of Cancer Research UK. And we did it all again in 2018.
It’s a bit like Triggers broom. Had it 20 years and it’s good as new ; only had 4 handles and 6 brush heads.
But after 115 years, the spirit of the choir remains !
Our Next Event
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Friday 30th October at 12am Swanwick Crematorium. Dick’s funeral will be streamed to enable us to be a part of his memorial service; details of how to join will follow. October 13th. …
We were very sad to learn of the death of our old friend Ron Padley who passed away peacefully during his sleep on Monday 20th April. He was a wonderful friend to …
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