This Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, with a 400-strong massed male voice choir, at the Fairfield Halls is nearly sold out.
Only a few tickets in the gallery – at £10 each – remain for what promises to be a tub-thumping musical celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. Just don’t forget to bring along your flags (but no balloons, for some reason unexplained).
Organised by the Croydon Male Voice Choir, they have called upon 10 other choirs from London and the south-east for this gala event.
The operatic soprano Ann-Louise Straker will lead the finale, when the audience will be encouraged to wave their flags and lift their voices in a Last Night of the Proms-style patriotic singalong.
The concert is being filmed for possible future broadcast.
Croydon Male Voice Choir has been running for 35 years, starting modestly with rehearsals in the local Co-op HQ canteen. It sang ballads and pop songs, and performed in dinner jackets, raising money for causes such as local hospices and homeless charities.
When the Croydon co-operative society closed down, the choir found new rehearsal premises in a pub, the Cherry Orchard, and continued to recruit members with ads in local newspapers and postcard in newsagents.
In 1990, at the third attempt, Croydon MVC won the prestigious Morriston Orpheus prize, awarded in competition for the best choir in southern England.
Soon after, the choir moved to its current rehearsal rooms at Sandilands, home of Addiscombe Cricket Club, acquired a new musical director, Ozzie Arnold, and staged its first mass choir concert, as well as going on tour to those male voice choir heartlands in south Wales and Cornwall.
In 2000, the choir acquired its fourth director, Richard Hoyle, previously the choir pianist.
The CMVC website states: “Under Dr Hoyle’s dedicated and exacting leadership, our standards have continued to rise and our repertoire has become still more varied and eclectic. We sing English and Welsh hymns, spirituals, British and American folk songs, songs from the great musicals, and classic opera pieces. We renew our repertoire constantly in order to surprise our audiences and present our members with fresh challenges.”
Croydon’s choir has regularly supplied singers for Remembrance Day concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, and in 2007 they sang at the memorial service for Lord Weatherill, former Croydon MP and Speaker to the House of Commons.
At present, the choir has more than 60 members and has recently recorded its fourth CD.
If you want to witness Croydon’s latest mass choir concert, you will need to book tickets in a hurry. Call the Fairfield Halls box office on 020 8688 9291. It’s got to be better than Roy Chubby Brown or all-in wrestling.
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