Choir celebrates its 40th birthday

By Laura Maltby Friday 03 January 2014 Updated: 03/01 09:21

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Buy photos » The choir performing at St Mary’s Church in Warwick. (s)

PERFORMING at The Royal Albert Hall, singing with Dame Shirley Bassey and appearing on BBC Countryfile are among the highlights of Alcester Male Voice Choir's 40 year history.

And one woman who has been there to witness it all is founder, conductor and musical director, Judith Land.

Born in Cwmbran in South Wales to a father who was part of a male voice choir, she was encouraged to appreciate all forms of music from a young age.

After studying at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and qualifying as a teacher, she moved to the Midlands to take up a post as head of music at Alcester Grammar School. And it was here the Alcester Male Voice Choir was born.

Made up of pupils aged between 15 and 18, teachers and fathers of students at the school, the group began singing under Judith's leadership.

And they enjoyed it so much that when they discovered she was leaving the school to start a family, they requested she continue working with them.

Forty years on and with numerous concerts and performances under their belt, the now 80-strong group has continued to blossom - something which particularly pleases Judith.

Speaking to the Standard she said: "I am very passionate about my choir and I'm immensely proud of the last 40 years - watching a small group growing in numbers, evolving on the journey and developing into the choir it is today.

"Making our debut appearance on BBC Countryfile in December 2012 has to be among the highlights but seeing the choir gain confidence in the early days has given me just as much pleasure.

"Over the years we have been lucky enough to perform at some of the best venues in the country including Worcester Cathedral, The Royal Albert Hall, St David's Hall in Cardiff and the Symphony Hall in Birmingham.

"We have also had the opportunity to tour extensively in Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy and France as well as performing with famous faces including Dame Shirley Bassey, Willard White, Gary Griffiths and Katherine Jenkins, which have all been wonderful and a huge honour for us."

The choir still performs locally and helps raise thousands of pounds for charities, churches, schools and societies.

And on April 5 this year they will be holding a special concert at the Symphony Hall to mark their 40th anniversary.

Judith added: "Though it's hard to believe we've made it, we are all looking forward to celebrating 40 years of Alcester Male Voice Choir. We are renowned for our diversity when performing and our celebration gala will be no exception."

The choir rehearse every Wednesday evening in the Jubilee Centre on St Faiths Road with new members requiring simply a desire to sing and a commitment to regularly attend rehearsals.

Anyone who would like to join the choir can email or call 07886 139781.

Tickets can be bought by calling 0121 345 0603.

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Buy photos» Countryfile presenter John Craven after AMVC appeared on the programme in 2012. (s)

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Buy photos» AMVC performed a concert in Brittany, France. (s)

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