CIRENCESTER Male Voice Choir could be excused for getting pre-performance nerves as they prepare to perform to a 5,000-strong audience at the Royal Albert Hall.
The choir, which was formed just three years ago, will perform with 14 other choirs from England, Scotland and Wales at the London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs on Saturday, October 13.
Founder Phil Kerton said it would be a proud moment for Cirencester. “We are still a young choir and this has been a big commitment for our members,” he said. “We were invited to take part in October last year and we have been practising ever since.”
When the group was first formed in 2009 it had just 12 members, but since then it has gone from strength to strength and now has 40 singers, aged between 16 and 85, who take part in concerts and competitions all over the country.
“We’ve had two practices in Swansea and more than 500 singers took part,” said Phil. “It was a complete feeling of elation to hear so many voices together and it really helped to build the choir’s confidence.”
The choir aims to be fully inclusive and has two partially sighted members. “We don’t want there to be any barriers,” said Phil. “We don’t hold auditions and we don’t expect our members to be able to read music - all we ask is that they love singing.”
The group even won the title of “happiest choir” in a recent national competition. “We aim to make singing fun and enjoyable,” he added. “Our members enjoy the sense of male bonding and comradeship.”
The members have leant seven new Welsh songs and nine English songs for the festival, which will include a mixture of secular, traditional and religious music. There will also be performances by the Cory Band, Caryl Hughes and Wyn Davies.
Choir member Keith Harding said he would not be nervous about performing next week. “I took part in the first Night of1,000 Voices concert at the Royal Albert Hall about 25 years ago. It was great fun setting a new record,” he said.
Choir festival secretary Huw Thomas said it was a great honour to be asked to take part in the festival. “It is a real feather in the cap of the choir,” he said. “It will be an eye-opener for some of our members, who have never performed on such a large scale before.”
The London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, October 13 at 7pm. Tickets start at £20. For more information on Cirencester Male Voice Choir, visit www.cirencestermvc.co.uk or call Phil Kerton on 01285 771330.