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Colne Valley Male Voice Choir and Colne Valley Boys with Brighouse and Rastrick Band at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Patricia Countess of Harewood.jpgSunday night saw the Town Hall in Huddersfield, packed as usual, to enjoy Colne Valley Male Voice Choir’s annual Christmas Concert.  This year’s Festival, once again, had Brighouse and Rastrick Band as its main guest performers along with the Colne Valley Boys.  There was a special guest in the audience, too: Patricia, Countess of Harewood, the Choir’s Patron.

The concert began, accompanied as always by keyboard maestro, Keith Swallow, with a rousing version of that fine carol, ‘On This Day Earth Shall Ring’.  From that point on, audience and Choir alike knew they were in for a night of fine seasonal entertainment and high quality music.  Concert compere, the inimitable Simon Lindley, warmed up the welcome and introduced internationally famous, Brighouse and Rastrick Band.
Under their Conductor, Garry Cutt, they began their contribution with Leroy Anderson’s ever-popular ‘Christmas Festival’.  The Band, once again Yorkshire Area Champions - which arguably means the best in the World - played with all their usual skill and artistry.   Perhaps their finest piece of the evening was, ‘The Witch of the Westmerlands’, which featured amazing virtuosity by Ciaran Young on the baritone horn and Stuart Lingard on cornet.

Then it was the turn of the Colne Valley Boys.  Their plaintive version of ‘Bethlehem’ (accompanied on the piano by rising star, Chris Pulleyn) and their final number, ‘Believe’, from Polar Express touched the audience’s heartstrings and triggered enthusiastic applause.
The first half climaxed with Band, Choir and Boys performing together in Requiem for a Soldier, the theme tune from the TV series, Band of Brothers, specially arranged by the Choir’s Musical Director, Thom Meredith.  Amongst Thom’s many achievements in the musical life of the district, he has recently celebrated 25 years as the Choir’s conductor. 

Colne Valley Male Voice Choir, now in its 93rd year, has been described as a ‘Rolls Royce’ of Choirs and with well over 60 members on stage on Sunday certainly displayed quiet power as it purred through Robat Arwyn’s ‘Benedictus’ and effortlessly backed soloist, Raymond Ellis, through the beautiful Christina Rosetti carol, ‘Love came down at Christmas’.  Then the Choir eased through the demanding pianissimo passages that begin Wagner’s ‘Pilgrims’ Chorus’ before putting its foot down, never showing any sign of strain, for the big finish; the final ‘Halleluja’.
The audience’s thoroughly good night was brought to a conclusion by the haunting, ‘Irish Blessing’, “...and until we meet again, may the God that loves us all, hold you in the palm of his hand”.

Colne Valley Male Voice Choir and Colne Valley boys in rehearsal for last Sunday’s Town Hall Concert

  Lendl Sifaka
  Concert Correspondent

Carols in the Barn

Brian Hibbert and his wife, Sue, have in recent year created a great event at their farm in Outlane – an annual carol-sing in their barn.
“We gather in the barn, sing our favourite carols and have a few mince pies.” said Brian in his typically understated way.
“This year, what with the weather being terrible, I didn’t expect much of a turnout - but lots of people came and it was a good do. 

We had a fine sing and a hot drink to keep out the chill.   Apart from the carols, we had readings, including a dialect story of the nativity and a sketch about auditions for the Angelic Choir.  The most important thing is we raised £97 for Kirkwood hospice”
Brian (actually 73 and not 34, as scurrilously misreported in the last issue of Voice of the Valley) has been a farmer most of his life and, for five years, one of the Choir’s illustrious Bass Section.   Contrary to earlier reports, his recent big win in the 200 club simply added an extra dimension to his and Sue’s recent trip to Italy.
Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, says Brian.

Alan Whitehead: My Last Christmas with CVMVC
Alan – “I’ve been proud to wear the uniform.”
The Second Tenors are about to lose another stalwart.  Alan told ‘Voice of the Valley’ that this year’s Christmas Festival had been his final Town Hall event.   “Last Sunday was fantastic.  My family were able to be there and we sang really well.  It’s best to go out on a high!
I’ve got the Marsden Christmas Concert to look forward to and then it’s time to finish.  I’ve had over 16 years in the Choir now and it’s been great.” 
Wife, Dorothy, confided that Alan will be a bit sad to leave.  “He’s sung in choirs now for over 50 years and Colne Valley MVC has been very special.  The time has come to be nearer our family, though and we are both looking forward to starting a new chapter with a move to Leeds early in the New Year.”
We say: Best of Luck, Alan.  Keep in Touch.
We hear Leeds Male Voice Choir is a decent outfit, these days.


What with pressures on the NHS and the average age of the Choir and its audiences being about 104, it seems ever more necessary for us to look after our own ailments.  

Test your diagnoses of aches, pains and embarrassing conditions with the Editor’s Christmas Quiz.

Diagnose the illness from the following clues
Example:       Went by plane.                                                   .… Flu …           
1.Central London district notorious for its spots                        …………….....…
2.Mo Farah’s pedal extremity                                                  …………….......
3.The six Northern Irish counties won’t have any tea               …………...….
4.Not the truth?  On your head be it.                                       ………………..…
5.Someone employed by Coca Cola to badmouth their main rival  …........….…
6.Cured by a tap on the head?                                                …………..………
7.Railway engine and coaches from frozen water?   No wonder it
   gives you a headache                                                            …………....…..
8.Achieves a temperature exceeding 212o Fahrenheit             …………..……
9.Huge amounts                                                                       ………………..…
10.“Out of my way, Murray,” says Federer, pushing past.      ………………..…
11.An ailment for hags and witches?                                        …………….....…
12.Sounds like white cabbage in mayonnaise to me.              ………………..…
13.Terrible phone service, awful  terrible telecomms,
     ever since they privatised the GPO.                                   ……………..……
Scroll down for the answers

Muppets Sing a Christmas Carol

Perhaps an item for next year's concerts?

Click here to bring up the video  

 Don't miss it - it's funny!

And another thing.......
The Editor Rejoices  . . . .
. . . . at the birth of his first grandchild.  
Daughter of Henry Clark and Rowan Crompton,
Baby Esther Beatrice arrived just in time for Christmas.
Grandma Cate is thrilled, too











Christmas Quiz



Christmas Quiz Answers
  1. Acne (Hackney)
  2. Athletes’s Foot
  3. Ulcer (Ulster without the t )
  4. Headlice
  5. Dyspepsia   - I  can hear you groaning
  6. Water on the brain, of course
  7. Eyestrain   - ice train – sorry
  8. Boils
  9. Piles
  10. Tennis Elbow
  11. Can’t remember  my own quiz answer – email me if you get it
  12. Cold sore
  13. Diabites   (dire BT’s  - oh dear)
Your Assessment
Less than 3     Even you could use the Choir’s Defibrillator if you needed to.  It’s designed to be idiot-proof!
3  to 6            You are woefully ignorant – but don’t look up any of these conditions on the internet – it’ll scare you to death!
7-10               Well done - You could get a job in a chemist’s.
10 or more     You are a doctor.  You’re disqualified!
13                  Let me know what the answer to question 11 was - your brain must be       even weirder than mine.

JCC/Whatmalady.doc/Christmas 02 revised 2014

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