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After completing the first run through of Candide with Surrey Opera last Thursday evening, I hastily returned home full of excitement for the day to follow. Friday began with an early start, checking my bags, which I had carefully packed the previous morning and downloading my pre-ordered train ticket for Buxton. Where I would have the pleasure of performing alongside my friends in the Tideswell Male Voice Choir in Tideswell, Derbyshire.

The weather was fabulous and made for a lovely journey from London to the Peak District, with its amazing views of the picturesque Towns and Villages.  George Todica, who was to accompany me for the concert, had traveled down from Glasgow and luckily without delay, which ensured that we both arrived in Stockport within ten minutes of each other, ready to catch the train to Buxton together.

Malcolm and Alison Bennison with Me before the concert

We were met at the station in Buxton by Malcolm and Alison Bennison who had kindly agreed to drive us the final 20 minutes to the Village.  Malcolm had arranged for the choir to perform an afternoon concert for the residents of Nicholson Court, a care home in the village, as many could not make it along to the evening performance. This concert was to celebrate the newly refurbished interior of the home. He asked if George and I would like to perform with them, we happily agreed, so our first stop was at Nicolson Court.

It was lovely to have the chance to sing for the residents, who were so friendly and made us feel really welcome.  It was lovely when talking to them after the concert to hear how music had touched their lives in so many different ways. After a light lunch, it was time for a sound check in the Church before getting changed for the evening performance.

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Village

It was a warm evening with clear blue skies, such a difference from my last visit when the heavens opened and poured continuously during the concert.  Nick Montague, the choir’s music director welcomed the audience and set the tone for the evening, which was friendly and relaxed.  Nick is the new music director for the choir and also directs a ladies choir called the Knutsford Star Choir in Knutsford where I went to school.

The choir’s programme included a wide variety of songs such as Anthem, Let it Be Me, What a Wonderful World and an amazing rendition of Right Said Fred ornamented with props and percussive instruments to add to the joyful atmosphere. Their performances were full of heart and sang with enthusiasm and panache.  They were skilfully accompanied throughout the evening by pianist Alison Wheeldon.

The Choir Singing Right Said Fred

Altogether After The Concert, the only person missing is Edwina Currie ( who was taking a picture too )

If you get the opportunity to go and watch the choir perform I would thoroughly recommend it, I believe they are going to provide some of the onboard entertainment on a Fred Olsen cruise to Scandinavia so if you happen to be on the same cruise you are in for a treat.

If you are from the local area and would like to try your hand at singing in the choir then you could go along to one of their rehearsals, which happen on a Tuesday evening from 7:30 pm at the old grammar school in Tideswell or give Thomas Eccles a call on 01298 872800.

I had an amazing time catching up Edwina Currie, the choir’s President, spending time with my friends and making some new ones, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I hope that I get to sing with the choir again in the future.  I wish them all every success in their future performances and I hope they continue to enjoy singing these beautiful songs as much as we all enjoyed listening to them.

Me With Maurice Hargreaves, a good friend, and an excellent singer

As I sign off tonight I do so in fond remembrance of my friend John Richie, he was a member of the choir for 30 years, a very talented musician whom I met at the Hazel Grove Music festival when I first started to sing seriously. His constant encouragement and kind words will always be remembered.

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