The members of Cumbernauld Male Voice choir have a long and proud tradition of fundraising for various charities.
Donning their trademark red blazers and pouring heart and soul into putting on concerts has never been a chore – but, recently, a lack of numbers has left them worried about the future.
“I have a wardrobe full of red jackets and no-one to wear them,” said choir secretary Glyn Price.
He joined the choir more than ten years ago, after he attended one of the choir’s concerts and remarked to his neighbour how much he had enjoyed it. His neighbour came to the door, told him the choir had started and they were heading for rehearsal.
“I was reluctant but I went along – and I enjoyed it,” said Glyn.
“Anyone who is in a choir will know that when you’re singing you can’t really think about anything else.”
That makes a choir a perfect place to de-stress and forget about everyday life.
It’s also good for people looking to meet new friends and socialise.
“They’re a nice bunch of guys and new members are made very welcome,” said Glyn.
The choir, which has a mixed repertoire of favourite songs, was established in the 1970s by a well-known and well-liked music teacher.
For John Seggie it was a labour of love, not only to conduct the choir but also provide many original arrangements.
Cumbernauld Male Voice Choir went on to be a great success, attracting a membership of at least 40 singers, blending tenor, baritone and bass voices in a celebration of singing.
However, when Mr Seggie announced he was retiring, many members decided they did not want to go on without his guidance.
His subsequent death, which came very sadly just a few months after his retirement, left members feeling bereft and without the man who had provided such strong leadership for so many years.
In addition to the sterling charity work which was the backbone of the group’s performances, Mr Seggie also organised work with local primary schools.
His death was a huge blow and finding a replacement has proved difficult.
However, some members were keen for the choir to continue.
A new conductor was advertised for and found, although he moved south after just one year.
The current conductor, Marcus Kitchen, has studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and he’d like to encourage younger men to sign up.
“At the moment, most of our members are aged 50 and over,” said Glyn, “and we’d very much like to get a younger age group.”
Marcus lives and works in Glasgow, as does accompanist Esther Knight, but they come to rehearsals every Thursday to put the choir members through their paces. The choir continues to meet in the village hall and has kept up a varied repertoire.
“The new conductor has his own ideas but there is a real mixture of songs from the shows, some classical pieces and American blues,” said Glyn.
The number of concerts they put on has been cut because Marcus and Esther are only available on Thursdays – but otherwise it’s business as usual for the choir.
“We had a very successful concert just before Christmas and we do our annual concert in the town hall in May,” added Glyn.
However, with numbers so low, they really need more singers to join in the fun and would love to hear from any men who’d like to give it a go.
To find out more, call Glyn on 01236 724858.