Hartlepool Male Voice Choir in need of singers after losing 10% of members

Members of the Hartlepool Mail Voice Choir in the Headland Square
Members of the Hartlepool Mail Voice Choir in the Headland Square

A TOP male voice choir is looking to attract new members to safeguard its future.

Hartlepool Male Voice Choir has lost around 10 per cent of its membership recently due to a combination of illness and family circumstances.

So they are holding an open night on Monday when potential new singers can learn more.

Chairman Duncan Graham, who has been in the choir for around 30 years, said: “As people get older they can’t make all the concerts and sometimes take ill.

“Some of the younger ones have moved away through work. We have lost about 10 per cent of our membership.

“We are keen to recruit people in their 30s, 40s and 50s to keep the choir going.”

Steve Cole, who joined at the start of the year, said: “I have always been into singing from way back, I was in bands in the seventies, and was looking for a choir to join.

“I arranged to go down to a practice night and was suitably impressed to come back and join. I am really enjoying it.”

New members don’t need to be able to read music as musical director David Gibson provides the music on tracks to perfect at home.

Duncan added: “The auditions are very relaxed. All David is interested in is can you hold your line.”

Alan Altringham, the choir’s longest serving member at 53 years, said: “The expression you hear most from new members is that they wish they had joined sooner.

“I just love every minute of it.”

Singing is said to be good for the breathing, self esteem and sense of belonging.

The members are all mates off stage as well and support each other through good times and bad, including sickness.

Eldest member Fred Leng, 89, added: “I enjoy the camaraderie, the sheer professionalism and the mood in which we sing. And we support local charities.”

The choir has performed with a host of celebrities including Russell ‘the voice’ Watson, Lesley Garrett and Aled Jones.

They are currently in talks to secure a yet to be announced big name star for next summer.

The choir also travel to top venues such as the Royal Albert Hall where they will perform in November, and The Sage in Gateshead next year.

The open night, on Monday, takes place at The Corner Flag at Victoria Park, off Raby Road, Hartlepool, and starts at 7pm.