The Church of Christ the King in Asslar, Germany offered a modern setting for the joint concert with Werdorf choirs ‘Allegro’ and ‘MGV 1865’. With a superb contemporary mural of Christ on the cross behind the choirs, excellent acoustics due to the high ceiling and a full house we were set for an excellent evening of song.


After the welcome speeches in German and English followed by the first two songs from Werdorf MGV, their Musical Director, Reiner Genz, was presented with an award for a long list of musical achievements. Werdorf closed with ‘Ave Maria’ – very apt for a Catholic church and SEMVC took to the stage. Musical Director, Mark Jefferson, introduced each song in German (albeit with a West Midlands accent!) The first set included ‘Rachie’, ‘Anthem’ from ‘Chess’ and ‘Mulligan Musketeers’, the highlight being ‘Shall we Gather at the River’ as the last verse builds to a mighty crescendo. Before the last notes died away the crowd were cheering their appreciation. The two choirs then joined together to sing a harmonious version of Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd) before the interval.


The second half began with ‘Allegro’ – the mixed Werdorf choir – who sang three numbers including ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. SEMVC followed with ‘Aberystwyth’, ‘What Would I do Without my Music’ and ‘American Trilogy’ – there were a few tears shed due to the power and emotion expressed by the massed voices. The final song was ‘Rhythm of Life’ which everyone enjoyed so much that an encore was requested. MD and accompanist John Ottley switched places and the choir sang ‘Mustang Sally’ conducted by a very animated John, to the delight of the audience who clapped along with the music and gave a standing ovation. After a second encore of the sweet, lilting Gershwin’s ‘Embraceable You’, the two male voice choirs joined together again for ‘Softly as I Leave You’, gently bringing the audience back down to earth. The concert closed with presentations to Mark and John Ottley from SEMVC and Reiner from Werdforf MGV.


At the beginning of the concert it was said ‘music knows no borders’ which was certainly true as we enjoyed this feast of song together, followed by a fantastic feast of food and drink prepared by our hosts. Roll on October for the return visit!


Jill Davis


I know I’m biased having been a chorister at Ely Cathedral for over 4 years in the 1960s but the building has to be one of the most magnificent in the country and it’s setting – you can see it for miles around – is superb. So the chance to sing there in October as part of Huntingdon Male Voice Choir’s 50th anniversary was something that I was really looking forward to. With nearly 300 men singing it did not disappoint, what an acoustic!


Some of the many pieces we had to sing weren’t particularly inspiring but Shall we Gather at the River? and Let all Men Sing were good fun. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to Prime Brass. I also always enjoy meeting members of other choirs – a new audience for some old yarns! Saturday 20 October 2012 was a day to remember.


Ivor Thulborn


In July 2009 some members of SEMVC took part in the Estonian Song Festival (clips of this event are still on You Tube). In our section we sang with 5000 other men and when all the choirs came together at the end nearly 30,000 people were singing.


We hope to do this again in 2014 and have applied to be part of it. However, we will need to submit a tape of 2 Estonian songs to be recorded later this year, and then wait to see if we are accepted.


At present we have submitted a list of names to the organisers in Estonia. This commits those who have put their names forward to paying 15 euros for the music which will be sent from Estonia, and we can also add to this list. If we are accepted to take part we estimate it will cost £450 per person for the 3 day trip. You will also commit yourself to some Saturday morning rehearsals to learn the Estonian songs, but you can hold your music when you sing.


Wives, partners and friends are also invited to take part in this amazing event but at the moment we would like to hear from potential singers. If you would like to take part please email Ivor Thulborn.


Without question, my most memorable trip was the 2006 Baltic Tour. It had all the right ingredients, greatly helped with having Margi to chat to at the front of the coach! Their organisation and planning was excellent, with good quality hotels, which ensured the trip ran smoothly throughout. It was a great opportunity to visit for the first time and to be able to travel and see at first hand all three countries, with warm reception from all four choirs and great concerts. Especially memorable was performing the ‘Open Secret’ with the ladies choir in Tartu. A trip you couldn’t repeat.


Jan and Cliff