Honley Male Voice Choir was formed in 1936 and with more than 60 singing members, we are looking forward to an exciting future with our Musical Director Steven Roberts.
The idea of creating the choir came from Ben Kinder, a well-loved local personality whose main interests were sport and music. Ben, a sales representative who died in 1952 when he was 72, had sung for many years in the now defunct Holme Valley Male Voice Choir.
He decided there was room for another choir in the Holme Valley so he and a group of like-minded friends formed themselves into a committee at a meeting which Ben called at the Wheatsheaf hotel in Honley on October 29th, 1936. Ben was elected Secretary and Ernest Armitage, who had also sung with the Holme Valley Male Voice Choir, became Honley’s first conductor.
Ben’s favourite hymn was Deep Harmony and since the choir’s formation every rehearsal has concluded with the singing of the first verse - Sweet is the work my God my King. To praise thy name give thanks and sing. To show thy love by morning light and talk of all thy truth at night –so maintaining the link with the choir’s founders and their twin aims of "excellence in male voice singing and good fellowship"
The choir’s first rehearsal was held on November 6th, 1936 at the Southgate Methodist School, which is now the Honley Theatre, and when the Second World War broke out in September, 1939, the choir had about 45 members. Twelve joined the armed forces and many others were working over-time doing war-work and so in September, 1941, it was decided to suspend the choir’s activities.
Rehearsals were resumed early the following year and the choir’s first touch of international fame followed in December, 1942 when 38 members travelled to the BBC studio in Leeds to record six songs which were broadcast in the USA in a programme called "Britain Sings"
After the war the choir won first prize at the Mrs. Sunderland Music Festival in Huddersfield in three successive years 1948-50. Since then we have had a number of successes at competitions, including winning first prizes at the Blackpool Music Festival in 1964 and the Morecambe Music Festival in 1984.
1975 saw the choir take their first of several trips to the Netherlands – the start of a link with the Ulfs Mannenkoor choir which continues to this day – and in 1991 we embarked on a concert tour of Florida USA. In 1996 we competed in an International Choir Festival in Malta and during the 1990s the choir provided pre-match entertainment at 8 National and International Rugby League and Rugby Union matches at Wembley, Twickenham, Old Trafford and The Galpharm (now John Smith) Huddersfield, stadiums.
In 1990 we had further success in the "Mrs Sunderland" and won the first National Male Voice Choir Championship and the Champion of Champions contest a year later.
Entertaining audiences has always been more important to us than competing in contests. In recent years we have staged several theatrical-style theme concerts with movement, drama and comedy and they regularly appear at the Huddersfield Town Hall with the country’s top bands. Our annual "Christmas with Honley" concert, which guests the undisputed World Champion Cory Brass Band, is now into its 9th year.
The choir has raised many thousands of pounds for good causes such as the Kirkwood Hospice and the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust Children’s Hospice and recently appeared with members of Oscar’s College of Performing Arts in aid of the Crossroads charity for Carers. Our 75th Anniversary concert raised £3,220.40 for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. We have staged two shows at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham, the first in 2005 in aid of a new cardiac unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, the second in 2008, for the RNLI. Our programme proceeds for the 2014 Lesley Garrett concert raised £788 for Yorkshire Cancer Reearch.
Honley Male voice Choir has achieved Charitable Status in 2014, with the aim of promoting singing. Registered Charity Number: 1158453.
If any of this interests you, why not come and join us, either as a singer or a supporter. More details are available from the Joining the Choir page.
Norman Mellor, our well known Bass soloist, has been compiling a history of Honley Male Voice Choir for some time.Entitled ‘75 Glorious Years’ it’s bound to be a best seller, so beat the rush and get your order in now. Now available.
Contact either Norman on 01484 851060 or our Choir Secretary Averil Manning on 01484 609605 to place your order. Cost per copy is £8.
'Eight in a Bar' is a singing group formed within Honley MVC with two singers from each section. Back row:- Tenors Mei Lewis & Philip Bowden, Baritone Roger Horner and Basses Edward Wohlman and Chris Rogers (Guitar). Front row:- Tenors David Harrison & John Platt with Baritone Roger Wild and Tenor Danny Bullit. The group sings a different selection of music to that of the normal Male Voice standards, ranging from Everley Brothers to Simon and Garfunkel, Unchained Melody and I Believe to name but a few. And yes, the more astute will spot there are NINE in the group, since we have had one floating member. When all turn up we consider ourselves 'One over the Eight' which is probably more appropriate!!!
Honley men are proud to support local Charities and recently presented a cheque for £788 punds to Yorkshire Cancer Research from the procedes of programme sales for our concert with Lesley Garrett
We have great days out with the Choir.
We sang in Bolton Abbey as guests of the Devonshire Estate and lovelly cream teas in the Devonshire Fell Pub at Burnsall.
We made a day of this travelling by either coach or car.
The acoustics in the Abbey were fantastic and very atmospheric
STEVEN ROBERTS is not only Conductor and Musical Director of Honley Male Voice Choir but also presides over Altrincham Choral Society, Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir and Musical Director of Voices Unlimited (from Sing and Discover), one of the country’s largest independent adult singing organisations. He is also an adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals and regularly adjudicates throughout the United Kingdom as well as being a music mentor for Music for Youth. He is also a member of the Board Trustees of the Federation.
Prior to 2006, Steven combined his musical activities with a full-time post at Barnsley College. During 17 years at the College Steven held a number of posts including Head of Performing Arts and Music, Head of Quality and Director of External Relations.
He has also been conductor of the Dodworth and Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choirs, the Allendale Chamber Orchestra, the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union, Sing Live UK and with The Huddersfield Choral Society, most notably for concerts with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras. He has also been chorus master for ‘The Magic of Queen’ and the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), rock classics concerts with the Hallé orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has conducted the Manchester Philharmonic, Derbyshire Sinfonia, and the National Festival Orchestra as well as the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra, Black Dyke Band and a variety of other bands and ensembles.
He is in demand as a choral and voice specialist, but studied piano, brass and voice and has equal extensive experience in each field. He has lead choral days and workshops every year since 1993 and continues to inspire singers throughout the country; also in 1993 he was guest conductor of Coro Jubilate, in Peru and spent a month preparing the choir for a number of concerts, including one for the British Ambassador. The trip, under the auspices of the British council also included masterclasses in schools and colleges.
He has also trained singers to appear in concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and the Odyssey arena, Belfast as well as the FM Hallam Arena in Sheffield. He has been privileged to conduct in The College Gardens of Westminster Abbey for The Lady Taverners, in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, St Mark’s Basilica, Venice as well as in Florence, Sorrento, Amalfi, Milan. Austria, on the Rhine and in Bavaria
Steven is proud to be a member The Lords Taverners – the cricketing charity that raises money to give ‘young people, particularly with special needs a sporting chance’.
Honley MVC are please to appoint Jason Hawkins in May 2015 following the retirement of George Marsden.
Jason is a popular young pianist and organist bursting out onto the national and international scene. His electrifying interpretations have led to numerous engagements throughout the UK and Europe.
Between 2012 and 2014 Jason was the accompanist for the Hallé Youth Choir. This lead to frequent performances at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester alongside tours of Belgium (2012) and Scotland (2013). Jason also been privileged to work as an accompanist for the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Singers and Exon Singers. Currently, Jason works throughout the UK for a variety of organisations as a Freelance Accompanist, Teacher and Choral Animateur. Jason has held the Principal Accompanist position with Honley Male Voice Choir since May 2015.
Initially, Jason studied at Chetham's School of Music receiving the Michael Abraham Piano Prize for Piano Sightreading and continued his musical studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. Following the RNCM Jason graduated from Manchester University in 2014 with a first-class honours degree in Music specialising in Piano Performance and Electroacoustic Composition.
The choir’s Deputy Conductor is Michelle Sutcliffe, who moved to the post in May 2015 is no stranger to the choir being accompanist for 3 years, also giving the choir a helping hand when they staged their 75th anniversary gala concert at the Town Hall in September 2011, understudying international opera star Lesley Garrett at rehearsals and appearing with the men in an excerpt from the musical Guys and Dolls, never thinking it would lead to a more permanent appointment.
She has been part of the local showbiz scene for many years, accompanying several local show societies; and she was for some years Artistic Director of the Kirklees Youth Performing Arts Company. In 2002 she was a finalist in the Huddersfield Examiner’s Community Awards for Music and the Arts.
We have great social events together Like the Bowls..