The stereotypical image of old men in blazers and ties singing traditional hymn tunes is one that many men’s choirs, including Wessex Male Choir (WMC), are working hard to dispel. David Langley, member of the Wessex Male Choir, discusses how the group is championing the relevance of male voice choir singing for the modern age.
The choir, formed in 2001, has won over 20 prizes in national and international competition, most recently, the Krakow International Choral Festival.
Our aim is ambitious: to balance the traditional and the contemporary, attracting new choristers, having fun with our singing and promoting a vibrant, entertaining and forward-looking genre. No blazer required!
We’re undertaking a range of joint ventures with like-minded partners, on both a national and regional basis, such as collaborating with local choirs of all varieties, to both promote ourselves to the wider community, and to showcase different choral styles to encourage men of all ages to take the step from just thinking about singing to actually joining us.
We’ve recently run a free men’s singing workshop funded with a grant that we’ve obtained to promote singing for health and fun in the community.
We have also been commissioned and branded as an 'in house' choir to perform at commercial events. One of the most memorable was a performance in November 2018 on the platform at Paddington Station, to commemorate the Great Western Railway workers who lost their lives during the Great War and to celebrate the launch of GWR’ s new train, specially liveried to honour their memory.
We’ve been trying out other ideas too, such as taking song requests from our members and audiences to help us broaden our repertoire. We’ve been recruiting new members by encouraging men in the community to sing for specific events such as charity fundraisers, and collaborating with school and college choirs.
If you would like to join or work with us, please get in touch or share the journey via our website www.wessexmalechoir.co.uk