On Thursday 18th April, and taking time out from our busy rehearsing schedule, 24 members of the Orpheus and our guests spent an enjoyable evening at the local indoor bowling the club The Royals in Hawkenbury. Bowling was a new experience to many but under the expert tuition of the members of the club we were able to pick up the basics of this fascinating indoor activity. This action shot of Glen looks like that of real professional, had he been practising we wonder ?
We were fortunate to be joined by our new Vice President Christine Parker and her husband Jim. This was the first opportunity for us to meet Christine, here giving her thanks for a fun evening and expressing her future support to the choir.
Even though it was our night off our MD Kent did not want us to waste the opportunity of a quick rehearsal for two of the numbers for the forthcoming concert at Trinity on May 11th.
March has been a sad time for the choir as we attended the funerals of two of our
long standing members, Keith Spurgeon and Martin Birkett.
Martin Birkett passed away peacefully at his home on 22nd February and Keith at his nursing home on 3rd March. Both had been with the Orpheus for some years and were strong supporters of the choir bring bringing their own unique talents as well helping new members who joined the choir. The photographs here show both in the full choir uniform, Keith on the left and Martin on the right.
Martin was the Baritone Line Leader and as one members recalls “He made me very welcome when I joined the Orpheus and helped me to overcome my nervous apprehension at joining a male voice choir” .Martin was a keen amateur guitar player and entertained us at several of our summer barbecues. At the service held at the local crematorium, existing and past members of the Orpheus sang a poignant “Bring Him Home”
Keith had been with the choir for 25 years singing as a tenor. He was an excellent racquet player and played for Kent as well as being an umpire at Wimbledon. The funeral service was held at St Lawrence Church, Bidborough and again many existing and past choir members attended the service with their own tribute, the hymn “The Lord Bless and Keep You”
We will miss them.
On Friday 21 December, the Choir was delighted to take part in BBC Radio Kent’s live Breakfast Show. With less than 24 hours notice, enough singers agreed to drop everything (including their sleep) to be at the Tunbridge Wells studio by 7.15am in full uniform. Under Kent Lee’s excellent direction, we sang carols in between the main news items to provide Christmas cheer to listeners, and were congratulated by the BBC for the quality of our singing. Good show, lads!
The Choir was again extremely privileged to take part in the Service of Remembrance in Tunbridge Wells on 11 November. The special commemorative Service and Parade marked the Centenary of the end the 1st World War, and was attended by hundreds of the town’s uniformed youth groups and thousands of local people. A sharp shower caught the choir while carrying out sound checks before the service, but fortunately conditions were dry during the Service.
Led by our new Musical Director Kent Lee, the choir sang the hymns Abide With Me and Eternal Father with the congregation, and 2 solo pieces–Steal Away and Rock of Ages–while wreaths were being laid. It was a very memorable experience. After the Service, the Choir moved down to the War Memorial where Glen Goodall laid our wreath.
The Choir with guests Cantores and soloist Arrianna Rebecca Firth, gave a concert at St Peter and St Paul Church in Tonbridge on Saturday 13th October in aid of the Hospice in the Weald. Final proceeds have yet to be detemined but the final figure will be in excess of £2100.
A surprise member of the audience was the choir’s new Music Director Kent Lee who takes over the role of MD from November.
At our last rehearsal we said goodbye to our Aussie mate Ian Dove and gave congratulations to Tim Kiddell who has run over 1300 miles this year!
Below are other members of the choir with our accompanist Adam
As part of our 80th Year Anniversary Programme the choir spent 3 days in Belgium which included taking part in the Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate, a visit to Hill 60 battle site and Sanctuary Wood Cemetery and culminating in our own concert at St Georges Church in Ypres.
WW1 Belgium Aug 2018
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A DAY OUT IN BRIGHTON
How could we resist a day out in Brighton with like-minded people ? Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? So we hired a coach and went to take part in the new Brighton Male Choir Festival, consisting of a daytime competition and an evening Gala concert. All inspired by Brighton MVC’s 90th year and a visit to the UK by the German-Canadian MVC of Calgary.
The journey was quick and got us to St George’s Church, Kemp Town early. We joined the growing throng of 250+ singers milling around looking for coffee, sorted ourselves out, and before we knew it we were on stage/altar singing our 3 pieces—My Heart Will Go On, Linden Lea, and The Gypsy– all from memory.
We’d all done a fair bit of work helped by Richard & Adam but a number of accidents and injuries left us with fewer singers than we had planned. But spirits were good and we had nice messages of support from Ray Hoff and Peter Parfitt. We enjoyed listening to the other choirs.
Some enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Marina, others explored the Kemp Town area, and just wandered around in the sea-side setting.
Then back for the competition results, and the judges announced the winner : Bournemouth MVC, who had impressed us all with the quality of their performance and choice of songs. We took heart by being closely judged with 3 other choirs ; and we reminded ourselves that we are an inclusive choir that does not audition for entry. We felt rather more relaxed when we sang in the Gala concert. We all gave the Canadians a big send-off.
Overall, an interesting day of new experiences, a chance to hear and talk to other mvcs, and of course, to shoot the breeze amongst ourselves.