Brian Holmes, Second Tenor with Felling Male Voice Choir has certainly enjoyed his experiences over nearly 40 years.
Here are some of his memories to share with you:
“Undoubtedly the most memorable experiences hinge on venues and occasions — singing with 1000 Welsh voices in the Royal Albert Hall as the first English choir ever to be invited ; competing in the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen ; singing in the Gewandhaus and the Russian Orthodox Church in Leipzig ; St. Vitus cathedral in Prague and many more.
Two memories of the Eisteddfod in Llangollen are :-
— the bedraggled , exhausted and rather rancid , Russian choir dressed in National costume arriving in an ancient bus. They arrived at 1.00p.m. to sing at 2.00 p.m. in the MVC competition on the closing Saturday afternoon of the week-long festival. They had had to do a one-day detour on the journey from Russia after being turned back at the Hungarian border. The adjudicator allowed them to sing last to give them time to recover.
—Pavarotti was to give a one-off concert on the following evening. He insisted on having the magnificent flower display taken down on the performance stage as he was allergic to pollen. He also brought a large entourage of staff including 5 pasta chefs — all at the expense of the festival!
Other memories include — the Austrian tour when many choir members and partners were struck down with an awful stomach bug leading to the cancellation of the highlight concert in Zell-Am -See; the European tour ending in Rouen; taking part in a military tattoo in Assen ( Holland ); sharing a concert wit h the famous Morriston Orpheus choir; competing in the Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year competition in the Royal Albert Hall and progressing to the semi-final in Buxton…….
As enriching and interesting as all these ‘worldly’ experiences are however, the resultant personal well-being and acquisition of a great network of friends / acquaintances has made every minute of my choir membership more than worthwhile.”