A&E » Arts

Sixty-strong male choir a record breaker



Who: Dursley Male Voice Choir

Where: MY Place

When: Monday, April 28

Not only could these guys break windows with their powerful singing ensemble, but they can break records too.

The Dursley Male Voice Choir hold the world height record for a public performance by a male voice choir at 37,000 feet over the Atlantic en route to Toronto on their last tour, But they hope to smash that record on the flight from London to Vancouver this week.

The Dursley Male Voice Choir from the county of Gloucestershire in the west of England are bringing 60 singers on this tour, featuring choristers from all ages and walks of life. They’re a fun and friendly bunch of traditional music lovers who will celebrate 25 years of singing in November.

The big, burley and, dare I say it, slightly balding choir started with just 18 members, some of whom are still in the group today. These men are determined to sing for pleasure and at the same time, help charitable organizations with their fundraising endeavours. Each member is paying their own way to get to Whistler from the English countryside, which if you add up expenses for a week long tour, totals around $300,000. Add to that their spouses, and you have one massive contingent arriving any day now. Please welcome them in the street and on stage. It’s an honour to have them.

We spoke with choir organizer, Huw Thomas, for some trivia tidbits on these distinguished Dursley dudes.

Sizing up the statistics:

"The choir can contain up to 80 men at any one time, practising every Wednesday evening in a local chapel. But we’ve been getting together more lately to be the best we can be for Canada."

They don’t just sing for their supper:

"Our members come from many different backgrounds doing a variety of jobs. There are also quite a number of members who are retired. I am a retired Royal Air Force navigator. There’s a retired policeman, a number of teachers, chartered accountants, a bank manager, some of them worked in the nuclear power industry, there’s two farmers – the list is endless."

Aged to perfection:

"Our members are near the top range of the age scale – middle aged-plus with a couple of 80-year-olds. Recruiting young people these days is getting harder and harder."

Experience counts:

"As far as experience is concerned, many of our members have been singing with the choir for years, some since the start. When they join they do have a voice test so that we know they can sing. However, we are not professional singers as such, just very good amateurs who join for the love of singing."

Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for students, seniors and kids, available now from the MY Place box office. Show starts 8 p.m. Call 604-935-8418.