A capacity audience enjoyed the Mendip Male Voice Choir (MMVC) Annual Christmas Concert held at St John’s Church Midsomer Norton at 7:30pm on Monday 18th December.

The concert, which sold out by mid-November, was the last of five in their Christmas Season following concerts at Timsbury, Oakhill, Combe Down and Peasedown St John.

At St John’s, the choir were joined by soloist Lauren Cheshire who sang six numbers ranging from Christmas Tree Farm by Taylor Swift as well as songs from modern musical theatre, such as Sister Act and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, in two highly entertaining sets. Lauren has recently finished training at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and performed in Evoke Productions’ Christmas Pantos – Peter Pan, Dance Nation at Mountview. Lauren has also performed with the MMVC once before as a young teenager over a decade ago and is delighted to be singing with them again.

The seventy-strong choir included some eighteen new members who joined in September under the choirs “20 Mendip Men Needed” in which they pledged to rehearse and sing in the annual concert though some have sung in more and were sponsored to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. Through their sponsorship and money from the concerts at Oakhill, Peasedown St John and some from the annual concert, over £3000 has been raised for this great charity as well as £1500 for Romanian Charities through the Combe Down Concert. The choir thanks everybody for their contributions and the new members for all their hard work.

However, the concert was tinged with sadness for all members as it was the last concert with Musical Director, Jamie Knights. Jamie has been a great Musical Director and Conductor for the last eleven years but wants to spend more time with his family and plans to leave the choir in the spring.

Choir Chairman, Richard Luscombe, explained, “We will be very sorry to see Jamie leave, the choir has blossomed with him, we have great fun, and the rapport Jamie has with the choir and our fabulous accompanist Phil Every, who continues with the choir is exceptional.”

“Efforts to replace Jamie, who is only the fifth Musical Director since the choir started in 1919, have been underway for some time and details of the vacancy can be seen on our website https://www.mendipmen.co.uk”.

Rehearsals recommence at 7:30pm on Monday, January 8th at St Mary’s School, Timsbury and new members are always welcome.

Simon Martin