I could wax lyrical (no pun intended) all day long about male voices. The depth! The resonance! I love it! And so with so few men singing in my community choir, I’m constantly on the look out (or listen out) for male voices. But why?!
I liken my choirs to cake – I may have mentioned this before. The yellow altos, with the tune, are the actual cake. The red sopranos are the icing. Now you don’t want too much icing on a cake do you? So we don’t need as many sopranos as altos…. The green altos who sing a lower harmony are the filling. The lovely jammy bit in the middle. Occasionally, there’s a cherry on the top of the cake – that’s the pink really high sopranos! Then there’s the cake board at the bottom holding everything together and that is the blue tenor part. I do have tenor ladies (hours of jokes I know) and they’re all quite lovely…. but it’s the depth and resonance of the male voices that makes this platform, this foundation, so solid.
Currently, my community choir has roughly 12 men…. and 130 women. So the balance is slightly out of kilter. The sopranos can be heard easily as the sound waves are shorter and therefore easy to hear. But in our rehearsal space when we have a decent amount of male singers, they can be heard too. It’s like a fabulous vibration of sound and it’s quite lovely – everyone comments on it!
Pre-lockdown I ran a ‘Bring a Bloke week’ to see if I could drum up any male singers – which it did, but only temporarily.
I asked recently what our lovely male singers think about being in our choir. Here’s what they said…
I think all the positive effects of singing and singing together are just as valid for our male singers. The sense of belonging isn’t exclusively for the women and the enjoyment of producing a sound we can all be proud of, extends to all of us.
What I love is that the feedback from these men is almost exactly the same as it is for the women!
Here’s what Dean had to say……
“The most difficult part of being a man in the West Bridgford Liberty Singers choir is attempting to remember the names of over 100 women.
As usual, us men are given the easy route as we only have to remember we’re the Blues – a colour we’ve been associated with all our lives. The women have Reds, Yellows and Greens to choose from; some of them multi-task.
As Blues we are more than just eye-candy. Our vocal tones impart a deep lushness to all performances. Embellishing even Coldplay songs with an ambience never envisaged by Chris Martin. And if, after nearly three years of choir membership, you still can’t remember the words to Viva La Vida without having the lyric sheet in front of you, what the hell, just hum along! No-one will notice.
Our leader, Kari (of various ages), presides over us, keeping us in line with words of encouragement and smiles of appreciation. Her enthusiasm is as infectious as the Delta variant. She has the ability to turn the stoniest of demeanours into a walk of dinosaurs or a scaled run of doe-ray-me along her fingertips before taking our raw ability and fashioning it into something we can all be proud of.
Although there are many members who sing like birds, being a good singer isn’t the point. It has never been the point. It is the journey we all go on together as we learn a new song. As we get the feel of the arrangement and realise how our small part adds to the whole and becomes something bigger than all of us.
Joining the West Bridgford Liberty Singers was a fun and novel thing for me to do in 2018, but it turned into a Godsend during lockdown as we were able to continue the choir online, singing as a collection of faces on a screen and creating works of good enough quality to be played on local radio.
Kari needs more men in her life. All the women in the choir need more men in their lives. Come along, join the Blues and share some of the name remembering burden.”
Dean is right. Community choirs really need men! I’ll be found lurking in pubs after football matches at this rate trying to recruit!!!