It was with real sadness that the Choir was told of the sudden death of Don Ellis as he had only attended rehearsal a week or so previously.

Don was a member of Dore MVC for over 30 years and throughout that time was an indefatigable supporter of the bass section throughout that period.

He had been a Committee member over a number of years, during that time serving on occasion as Secretary, Treasurer, Social Secretary and as the Vice-Chairman.  Don also served on the Tours subcommittee for most of its existence.

From my recollection Don always took up the position on the extreme left front row of the Choir, both in rehearsal and concert. That place was always his.

Don would always accept or volunteer for duties and responsibilities in the activities of the Choir.  Don always knew his music, always knew his words and made a great contribution to our events.  Don was a team player, a friend of all, a quiet man but with firm opinions. He had a wry sense of humour and always a good tale to tell.

Don lived life to the full.  Apart from his music he was a keen and active sportsman, skiing until well beyond his 70th birthday, and playing tennis at his local club until this his 90th year! Don was a Chartered Accountant.

It was with pride and affection that the Choir sang at Don’s funeral service with ‘Morti Christi’ and ‘Speed your Journey’ from Verdi’s Nabucco, two of Don’s favourites.

We will all miss Don Ellis, a fine man, a true gentleman.  His chair on the front row may be empty but he will not be forgotten.

David Heslop OBE Chairman

 

 

 

The last twelve month has been a year of change for Dore MVC.  Recovery from the effects of Covid has taken time.  As with all choirs, and indeed as with most group activities, the number of members in the choir went down during the pandemic, primarily through retirement or health conditions.  At the same time normal recruitment was at a halt. The Choir, however, have been most fortunate with a recent increase in our numbers to now over seventy, only a little short of pre-pandemic strength.

With Joan Spencer our new Music Director and accompanist Jonathan Lazell  supported  by Fran Wells  our Deputy Music Director a new eara begins.

Of the concerts and events of the year the Gala Concert at Ecclesall Church was a great success, with our usual full house.  The three Christmas Concerts were also joyful events.  This Christmas, with the Dore Parish Church facing major refurbishment, we moved our concerts to St. John’s Church on Abbeydale Road South, where we were able to keep within the Dore boundary for the event.  Even with atrocious weather and difficulties in parking we had full houses each evening.  The Choir is always grateful for its loyal and supportive audience.  The church, for the concert, suited our requirements admirably and we were well looked after by the church authorities.

This year, 2024, is the 60th Anniversary of Dore MVC and we are just concluding the assembly of a good programme to celebrate the event.  Our concerts include a major performance at Ranmoor Church on 22nd June.  There we will have Stannington Brass Band with us as guests together with our special guest Tom Hutchinson, the internationally known trumpeter, who originally hailed from Dore.  Locally we are also in concert in Chesterfield with Dronfield Band on 16th March, Winter Gardens on 25th May, Dore Festival on 11th July, and Ecclesall Church on 5th October for our Gala Concert.  The Dore Christmas Concerts will be on 12th, 13th and 14th December this year.

With a full programme and many new pieces to learn we have a busy year ahead.  We are always looking for new members and suggest that if you would like to come to a rehearsal evening on any Thursday at the Church Hall, Townhead Road at 7.15pm you will be made most welcome. Alternatively, you could give me a call on 0114 2365043 to see what it is all about. With no commitment it is well worth a try.

David Heslop (Chairman)

 

 

2023 for the Choir is different from our usual year in so many respects.

The Choir has a new Music Director, Joan Spencer.  You may have seen her conducting at our last Christmas Concerts.  She is a highly qualified musician, with extensive singing experience and recently retired as head of music at High Storrs School. 

The Choir is delighted that Fran Wells, such a popular music director, who helped the Choir during Elizabeth Hampshire’s illness; on the Sicily and Venice tours, with rehearsals, concerts, and most notably Elizabeth’s Memorial Concert last year, is staying with us as Deputy Music Director.

Following Mackenzie’s retirement from the Choir, we now have Jonathan Lazell as our Accompanist.  A highly respected pianist, he has helped the Choir on occasions in the past and is a welcome addition to our excellent professional team.

Recently, and very sadly, the Tideswell Male Voice Choir folded.  The choir like Dore MVC, with a national reputation, was the premier Male Voice Choir of the Peak District.  Dore has had tentative connections with Tideswell in that at least five of our members were also members of both choirs.  Since the demise  of Tideswell we have been delighted to have five of their men, with fine voices and extensive experience, join us, making a great contribution to our music.

This summer the Choir went on tour to Tenby, joining up with Tenby MVC for concerts, including one concert in St. Davids Cathedral.

The ever-popular Christmas Concerts cannot be held in the Parish Church because of alterations.  However, for this year alternative arrangements are being made and the concert will go ahead on 7th, 8th and 9th December at St John Evangelist Abbeydale Road South Dore A17 3LE.

The Choir is always pleased to welcome new members. For any men who, either as seasoned singers or as total novices, fancy the experience of singing in a male voice choir, do come along, anytime, and give it a try. We can promise that you will be given a warm welcome.  We meet every Thursday at 7.15pm. at the Community Centre in Townhead Road.

 

David Heslop (Chairman)

 

It has been a busy month for the choir, following on from the concert tour to Italy which was a great success and the long-awaited memorial concert for our late music director Elizabeth Hampshire.

Based in Padua, a beautiful city which claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy proved to be a sound decision, singing in the evening mass at St. Anthony’s Basilica where we were presented with some memorabilia, and being a short distance from Venice where we sang in the evening mass at St Mark’s.

 A trip to this part of Italy would not have been complete without a trip to an Amarone Winery which was enjoyed by everyone.

Concerts in Padua and at the Villa Ducale, around 30 minutes drive from Padua, rounded off a most enjoyable week.

The memorial concert with our two guests Lorna James and Thomas Asher who have performed with us on many occasions, along with Mackenzie Paget our accompanist for the last 6 years who was moving on to a new life as a concert pianist, ensured it was a quite emotional evening.

A bucket collection held in support of St Luke’s Hospice which raised £888.00 rounded off a memorable evening.

And finally, a date for your diary our Christmas concert will be held on the 8th,9th, and 10th of December at 7.00 pm at Christ Church, Church Lane Dore Sheffield S17 3GY. Tickets are £12 including programme and refreshments. Guest artist Erin Alexander soprano

Tickets from R Vaughan 0143 362 3999 any choir member or enquiries@doremalevoicechoir.com

 

TOM OGLEY

Tom has decided to hang up his crotchets after thirty-two years with Dore Male Voice Choir.  Singing has always been a big part of his life and his contribution to the Choir has been immense.

Tom leads from the front in the bass section of the Choir.  Always precise with his notes and words; anyone within close proximity who was not was soon made aware of his errors!

In his time he has worked extensively for the Choir, has been a Committee member for many years, Finance, Concert Secretary, Independent Examiner, Choir magazine editor among his many services.

Tom’s notable forte was his service as the Tours Organiser; taking the Choir to Cyprus on three occasions, Bruges, the Rhineland, and Barcelona.  His work has always been based on impeccable attention to detail that ensured so many successful tours. Who would forget Tom at Manchester Airport with choir ties dangling from his raised umbrella to ensure members would not miss him or the flight.  It is Tom who has provided the blueprint for our visits abroad.

We will miss Tom’s dulcet tones from the Choir, and even perhaps his curmudgeonly but invariably

appropriate observations.  Thank you Tom; a great chorister and friend of the Choir.

David Heslop (Chairman)  28 April 2022

 

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.