How refreshing to be back performing again. After circa 18 months without singing a serious note, the choir gave a lunchtime concert in “The Winter Gardens” on Saturday 2nd October to a very appreciative audience.

We were presently surprised when newlyweds Natalie and Stephan Slancy asked if they could pose for a photograph with the choir to which we readily agreed. Here is wishing them a long and happy marriage.

The 2022 concert tour arrangements are going ahead full steam based in Padua in northern Italy. Padua claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy. According to a tradition that goes back at least to Virgil’s Aeneid, it was founded in 1183 BC by the Trojan prince Antenor, who is believed to have led the people of Eneti, or Veneti, from Paphlagonia (in the north of what is now Turkey) to Italy. In 1274, the authorities of Padua found a large stone sarcophagus in the city centre, and declared that it contained the remains of Antenor. Patavium, as Padua was called by the Romans, was inhabited by the Veneti, and had been known as a Roman municipium since 45 BC. The city centre is surrounded by the 11 km-long (6.8 mi) city walls, built during the early 16th century, by architects that include Michele Sanmicheli. There are only a few ruins left, together with two gates, of the smaller and inner 13th-century walls.

Padua is roughly situated between Verona and Venice with concerts being held in each of the cities. The big attraction for the choir will be singing in the Mass in St. Mark’s in Venice. At last something positive to look forward to after the dreaded covid.

                ELIZABETH HAMPSHIRE   1943 – 2020

It was a shock to all Choir Members, eighteen months ago, when Elizabeth told us that cancer she had over ten years ago had returned.  Although with typical determination she vowed to overcome it once more she was eventually told it was a terminal condition.  Even then, with resolution she carried on, as best she could, with her Choir activities.  Elizabeth died in the comfort of her home, with Stuart present, at 2.47 a.m. on 1st August.

With very many interests and activities, music and choirs have always been her abiding passion.  A vocal teacher by profession, her connection with Male Voice Choirs goes back to her Cornish roots, with her family steeped in Cornish songs and Mousehole MVC. She first became Accompanist and Deputy Music Director of Houghton MVC.  From there she became Music Director of Worrall MVC, with some considerable success.

In May 2010 Elizabeth took up the post of Music Director of Dore Male Voice Choir, upon the retirement of Paul Green, and has just completed ten years with the Choir.  She said to me that it has been the happiest days of her musical career.

Choir Members will remember her audition evening at rehearsal.  Choosing ‘Charlotte Town’ for our repertoire, and hearing us sing it through, she then told us of the history and purpose of the song; the fear and excitement and sorrow related in the verses.  After half an hour of rehearsal it was an entirely different piece. Quite different, quite moving.  From then on the Choir learned, improved, progressed and grew.  Dore MVC was her Choir.

Elizabeth threw her energies, enthusiasm and humour into everything the Choir did.  Festival competition success, performances in village halls and prestigious venues such as the London Guildhall and St. Peter’s in Rome, singing workshops, recordings, conference dinners, weddings, funerals and tours at home and abroad; they were all important to her and the best was expected of the Choir. Oh dear if they fell short!

The Choir appreciated her tutoring, on good sound production, on breath control, on enunciation of the words, on expression of the feeling of a piece, on the blending of voices.  It is all the stuff that makes the Dore Male Voice sound.

Elizabeth, gregarious by nature, entered into all Choir formal and social activities.  She cared for members.  She was sensitive to Members likes and dislikes and accommodated them where she saw fit.  She was keen to ensure singing was to be enjoyed. Because Elizabeth loved the Choir and always gave it of her best, of her time, her generosity and friendship; the Choir Members have been keen to respond with affection, endeavour and appreciation for all that she has done and for whom she was. For ten years Elizabeth has taken Dore Male Voice Choir on a roller coaster ride.

Elizabeth will be sorely missed; but so rich are the memories that she has left us with.

David Heslop O.B.E. (Chairman)

It is over a year since Elizabeth conducted her last full concert. During this period, the Choir has not been idling its time away.

Thanks to the help of Vivien Pike (an old friend of the Choir), for which we are grateful, Francis Wells has been taking our rehearsals, and indeed took us through most of our Concerts to date, sharing the rostrum with Elizabeth during their recent overseas tour to Sicily.

The Choir has been most fortunate and is very grateful for Fran’s guidance, tuition and work; in helping us progress with our music. He has brought a wealth of experience, following a long term, before his retirement, as Music Director of Bolsterstone MVC. Fran has kindly agreed to join the Choir’s professional team as Deputy Conductor.

A quick rehearsal outside The Church of San Giuseppe Taormina prior to our final concert 2019

Below concert in  The Duomo of Syracuse

Abbeydale Rotary Club Concert supporting Polio Plus project to eliminate Polio.

The concert raised with the Bill and Melinder Gates Foundation over £5,000

After several bottles of wine and lunch at the  Lungarotti vineyard in Torgiano

In September 2017 the Choir completed a very successful 3 concert tour of Italy that commenced with a performance at the 5 o’clock mass in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican  ( above pictures) followed by concerts in Perugia, Bevagna and Todi.

In St Peter’s they received several rounds of applause, were thanked by the priest, and invited to stand in front of the Altar for the congregation to take photographs. They were told that visiting choirs rarely received this accolade

The first concert was in Perugia. The oldest part, facing the square, is Sala dei Notari (The Lawyer’s Hall) dating from 1273; which has all its walls and ceiling lined with frescoes of the Bible and Aesop’s Fables.

The choir received a standing ovation and gifts from the Perugia Council

Then on to Bevagna in the Vale of Spoleto a little Roman town dating from the 7th century BC, the twelfth century development gives the town centre the medieval appearance of today. Teatro F. Torti, where the Choir performed is full of miniscule boxes and balconies rising four storeys above the stalls, all in crimson and gold with painted putties on the ceiling. The Choir received rapturous applause from the Italian audience.

And finally onto Todi a quintessential Italian hilltop town and regarded as one of the most historically preserved towns in Umbria. The Duomo began life in the 12th century and was built over a Roman temple, a fitting place for the Choir to complete the tour. All the local dignitaries turned up and after several encores they presented the Choir with gifts and memorabilia and so a fitting end to a wonderful tour.