This is the October 2019 Edition                                                                                  To see this email at its best, click on: 
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Concert for Keith 
Preparations are now underway to hold a special concert in honour of Maestro Keith Swallow.

Readers will recall that Keith is planning to step down as accompanist to the Choir after the Christmas concerts in December. These Christmas Festivals will be the culmination of an astonishing stint as the Choir’s principal piano player of close on 63 years duration.

Keith took on a regular commitment to play for the Choir in performance and rehearsal in April 1957 and whatever the requirements of his glittering career - either as virtuoso soloist or as piano  support to the best singers and instrumentalists in the country - he always put his commitment to the Choir at the top of his engagements diary.

A date for your diary 

What’s planned for the New Year needs to go into your diary, too - a special celebration event at Saint Paul’s Hall on Sunday afternoon, March 29th.

Details will follow but you can look forward to a very special event, featuring Keith as a solo performer and as accompanist to renowned old colleague, bass soloist and operatic performer, Paul Hudson

The Choir will, of course, be performing, too, to the piano-playing of incoming ‘Principal Accompanist, ‘new boy’ Christopher Pulleyn.

It will be an occasion to remember and, we hope, a fitting tribute and thank you to a great musician and one at the core of the Choir’s many great achievements ever since he took on the job in the late fifties. (Don’t worry, Keith will stay around as ‘Accompanist Emeritus’, filling in for Chris, whenever needed.)

To whet your appetite, VotV has discovered a video of Keith, accompanying Paul Hudson. 

They are performing in Demontfort Hall in Leicester at a charity gala for 'Save the Children'

It's an old comic drinking song, ‘In Cellar Cool’. (Hence the beer glass and dishevelled appearance)

Click here or on the picture to watch it

Colne Valley men succeed at second attempt

New baritone, Andrew Ripper, and second tenor stalwart, Richard Pryor (evidently with more valour than discretion) embarked earlier this month on ‘The Three Peaks Challenge’.

That is, they set out to climb the three Yorkshire mini mountains of Whernside, Penyghent and Ingleborough in one crazy day of charity-supporting endeavour.

They picked the worst day imaginable!  

Constant horizontal rain and 40 mph gales.  

When light faded after having struggled through just two of the three ascents, good sense finally kicked in.  They admitted temporary defeat and crawled off homewards to get dry, heal their broken spirits and nurse injuries.

You can’t keep good men down for long

Last weekend, our heroes returned to the fells to complete the challenge and to hope their sponsors would continue to support them. They topped the last peak and came down safe.  

They had triumphed. 

Their sponsors are recognising the achievement and coughing up.

They're raising large sums to support social charities organised by the Salvation Army.

Richard told Voice of the Valley:-

The charity we were risking life and limb for is The Salvation Army Social Services. They respond to emergency situations - anything from bomb blasts down to homelessness. They don’t get much publicity or even seek publicity but you will find them supporting the emergency services on major incidents up and down the country. 

When you see incidents on the news you will see the police, army and fire services but you can be assured that somewhere in the background is the Salvation Army supporting both the public and emergency services. They are funded mainly by public subscription through events like the challenge that we have undertaken.

Thank you to all who have sponsored us, especially those who have paid up and those who have donated afterwards.”

Well done, Lads 

On Tour again 

Colne Valley men were again visiting performers at local schools - for the second time this year - on tour to recruit new youngsters for our very own, Colne Valley Boys Choir.  Five different primary schools, in a busy schedule of performance, sing-alongs (complete with actions), musical education and sheer musical pleasure, made for a terrifically fun day - not just for the 1,000 kids  but also for the 25 (or so) men, who were able to free up a full day to represent the Choir.

We were at Cowlersley, Golcar, Leymoor, Netherton and Linthwaite and a fine time was had by all, thanks to stand-in piano-player, Roland Mander and, of course, to the very talented and unflappable, Thom Meredith as ring-master.

Rave Reviews

The schools were very pleased and gave us positive reviews:-

“We were very lucky to have a visit from Colne Valley Male Voice Choir today, They were very inspirational." 

“Did you know that 30 members of Colne Valley Male Voice Choir and a pianist came into school last Friday to perform to the children?  It was incredible!  The children were given the opportunity to listen to the choir perform and had plenty of chances to join in through singing and performing actions to the songs.  It was a lovely way to end another fabulous week at South Crosland C.E. Junior School”

Good questions

Amongst the many good questions, that only momentarily flummoxed our conductor, were these two, asked by girls sitting on the hall floors:-

   Why are you all men?                                                      Are you all Grandpas?

Colne Valley Boys are thriving 

It’s too early to say how many new boys will come along to the Boys Choir as a result, but, in any case, they were in fine form last Sunday performing at the Marsden Jazz Festival. (The photo is from an earlier year.)

For keeping the 'Boys' going and organising the tours, we must thank, once again, Linda & Matt Houston.

To get a feel for the mood in Marsden over the weekend, have a look at this fine video of jazzman, Luca Sestak, (not a Colne Valley resident) playing Boogie-woogie piano.   Click here or on the picture below.

Personent Hodie - what do the words mean? 

The Latin version that Gustav Holst used in 1916 (and the version we shall be singing this Christmas) was set down in 1582 but most likely goes way back to the 12th century. 

The most common English translation of the text and the one used by Holst is credited to "James M. Joseph".

But in fact this is a pseudonym of Jane Joseph. 

Jane, a fine musician and composer in her own right, was Holst’s collaborator and amanuensis who worked with him on many musical projects.  She died at just 35 years of age so we can only speculate about what she might have achieved.

She translates the title as "On this Day, Earth shall Ring", and it is her ‘transformed’ version with Holst’s music that remains most popular today.

Literally, though, the Latin translates as something like:- 

Magi tres venerunt

Re Radius Opera 

Baritone, Michael Parkinson writes to VotV  ...

"On 24 June we hosted three of the principals from opera company, Radius Opera and what an unusual evening.  

In well-advanced planning for their newest production they needed crowds of discontents to express their emotions and rebel against Zeus’s monopoly of power and harsh repression of the people.

I think we rather enjoyed being a mob of discontents for a couple of hours and, no doubt, several wondered how the recordings they made would be integrated into the subsequent live performances.

Curiosity got the better of me so I took myself to The Lawrence Batley Theatre on Saturday 21 September.

With minimal staging and just five soloists in the cast they drew the story together with impressive rendition, clear vocalisations and convincing personality profiles.

The action on stage was overtaken from time to time with the unseen off-stage “thousand voices” delivered by Colne Valley Male Voice Choir along with thirteen other various mixed choirs,

The effect was impressive and often overwhelming.  And the production has been getting great reviews!"



These are some of the reviews:-

'The '1,000 voices' chorus was spine-tinglingly effective: With several performances completed, our audience feedback being amazing and with more performances to come, you can't miss out on this fantastic opera!'

'A spectacular show featuring brilliant virtuoso singers and the digitally combined voices of over 1,000 volunteers, telling the story of Prometheus and Pandora.'

Remaining Performances

Wednesday 30th October                            The Repertory Theatre, Stoke on Trent
Saturday 9th November              Click here to book:   The Hippodrome, Todmorden

Attractive event for Mrs Sunderland Festival 2020

Next spring will see Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, joining in the choral competitions at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival, hoping to maintain our unrivalled record of competition achievements, spread over close on 100 years of participation.

But this Festival will have an added attraction that readers of VotV will relish: the chance to prepare in a day’s workshop and then join Musica Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra under the guidance of the wonderful, Thom Meredith, in an early evening performance of music from the ‘Last night of the Proms’.

It will be great fun!

Potential singers will need to register before November 30th 2019 at the latest.  See the poster for details.  Or contact the festival via email at this address:

Reflections - on Diana Ross and the Supremes

This single, apparently, was released at the height of the ‘Summer of Love’ in 1967.  (It was also when Colour TV's began to become common in UK homes.)

It was the first Supremes' release to delve into psychedelic pop. The production, influenced by the psychedelic sounds of bands such as the Beatles and the Beachboys was a shift in Motown's pop sound during the latter half of the 1960s.  

The arrangement, is sometimes cited as one of the first ‘Motown’ pop recordings to feature a Moog Synthesiser but the unusual sounds on the track were actually generated on a test oscillator and treated with effects. 

I thought it was fantastic when I was 17.

Click here or on the TV to recapture the sounds

Enjoy the music with its accompanying - and slightly odd - collection of 1960’s images

Well it made me smile .....

And don’t forget to check our website to get the full picture:-

                       Voice of the Valley            
                                     Editor: John C Clark

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Colne Valley Male Voice Choir · 19 Britannia Road · Slaithwaite · Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD7 5HF · United Kingdom

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