Swan song for male voice choir

July 2005

July 2005

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A CHOIR which has been performing regularly since 1968 is to fold.

Thornhill Male Voice Choir has struggled with a dwindling membership in recent years. At its annual meeting earlier this month, the choir’s 14 members voted against carrying on.

Chairman Stan Hodge said: “The vote was a bit divided, but with the lack of numbers we thought we may be better winding up the choir.

“We all had our own opinion as to what we should do, but the consensus was that we thought it was no longer viable.

“I was disappointed because I have been in the choir for 24 years now, and it was probably more nostalgic for me, being a long standing member, than it was for some who have not been in as long.”

The choir gave its last performance last month at its annual Christmas concert at Thornhill Cricket Club, where it used to meet every Tuesday.

Many of the members, who are in their 60s and 70s, will carry on singing with choirs in Leeds and Skelmanthorpe.

Mr Hodge, 74, said: “I’ll carry on singing. I’ve been singing all my life so I’ll not give up, but I’ve got to get over this first.”

The choir, which once performed at the Royal Albert Hall, now faces the task of cataloguing and selling the hundreds of pieces of sheet music it has collected over the last 43 years. It will also be putting its electric piano up for sale.

Mr Hodge said he expected the choir’s leftover funds to be donated to charity.

The choir was founded in 1968 as the Whistling Blackbird, because it rehearsed at the Blackbirds Club in Edge Lane.

It has had ties with Thornhill Parish Church and Thornhill Colliery and changed its name to Thornhill Male Voice Choir in 1974.