These Archive Pages are where you will find links to the various Leigh Orpheus archives that have been created over the years. There are several pages of them For earlier archives than 2021 use the 'Historic Archives' button at the bottom of this page.
Contributions from members are very welcome. If you have something relevant - especially pictures of the choir - please let us know.
Please note that descriptions and opinions stated on our Archive pages are personal comments and should not be interpreted as expressing official LOMVC opinions or positions. Videos on these Archive pages are for Leigh Orpheus members' enjoyment only. They should not be copied or shared or in any way made public.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed.
The Leigh Orpheus Autumn Concert. St Augustine's Church, Thorpe Bay. Saturday 16th September 2023
For the second year in a row our Autumn concert took place at St Augustine’s, Thorpe Bay. We were warmly welcomed last year and had a good audience. We hoped for the same this year.
Some Leigh Orpheus members were there early to get things organised – seating for the choir when not performing, an uncluttered performance area, the piano, a raffle table – that sort of thing.
Then the inevitable ‘positioning and sound check’ which was supposed to start at 6pm. To be fair most members were there on time. It has to be done and actually helped us to find that our performance here sounded many times better than our lack-lustre singing at rehearsal the previous evening.
After the sound check the opportunity to present Ian MacCleod, Mac, with his choir pin, this being his first full, in uniform, concert.
St Augustine’s is one of those venues where we are able to have a raffle. Leigh Orpheus members had been very generous indeed in donating raffle prizes.
We’d been rehearsing the pieces for this concert for some time. Words were challenging for some. Sticking to the sectional line was challenging for others. But, work having been done on them, it all came together pretty well on the night.
With Rev Dave having welcomed us (and having somewhat dubiously invited audience members to follow him to the toilets in the Church Hall during the interval) we kicked off with our first set. Two Frank Sinatra pieces – ‘New York, New York’ and ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, then Siyahambe and ‘Every Time I Feel the Spirit’.
Here’s a video of us singing ‘New York, New York’ (Click on the image)*
Here’s a video of us singing ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ (click on the image)*
Here’s a video us singing of ‘Siyahambe’ (you know what you have to do!)*
The audience liked them all!
Then it was time for the first of our first of three soloists – Ron Circus singing ‘If You Were the Only Girl in the World’ expertly accompanied by Jan.
Click on Ron's pic to hear and see his performance.
Our second set comprised three love songs, ‘Love is All Around’, ‘Three Times a Lady’ and our first public outing of ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.
Time for Dave’s first of three solos. A self-composed piece written in 2013 called ‘England 63’.
Then it was audience participation time. The ‘Gospel Medley followed by ‘We are the Champions’ All the usual arm-waving towards the end of ‘Champions’. Some even enjoyed it. And no ‘jazz hands’ (It’s NOT a jazz piece!)
Interval time and the relief of a trip to the Church Hall for many. Some held out in the queue for the single toilet in the church.
More raffle-ticket-purchasing meaning more lovely money into our Leigh Orpheus funds; every little helps! (and as we’ll see later, the income from the raffle wasn’t insignificant).
Lots of friendly chatting with guests.
On to the Second Half, with songs associated with water reminding those who hadn’t been to the loo during the interval that maybe they should have paid a visit.
‘Wade in the Water’, ‘Calm is the Sea’ and ‘The Wellerman’ with Dave doing another solo within this piece. That guy’s talents!!
Time for us to sit down and listen to another solo. After a surprisingly short intro to his piece Jim wowed the audience with Benjamin Britten's arrangement of WB Yeat’s ’ The Sally Gardens’. An old Irish folk song sung by an old Australian!
Then time to share even more love with three more love songs. ‘This Nearly Was Mine’, ‘Pokarekare Anna’ (crib sheets were discretely brought out) and ‘Stand by Me’. Tony Grellier’s Review on the public part of our website tells us that we are the 400th group to have performed this piece!
Here’s a video us singing of ‘Pokarecare Ana’. Our Māori is impeccable.*
Then on came Dave again with his guitar, to sing another Smudger Original, ‘If It’s Raining Where You Are’.
We try not to miss the opportunity to do a recruitment promotion and this concert offered one. Out stepped Sam to talk about how great it is to sing in the Leigh Orpheus and to exhort men in the audience to come along to our Singing Workshop on 14th October.
Then, the raffle having been drawn by Pam and her Front of House Ladies, the winning numbers were announced. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait for everyone to go and get their prizes – there were 27 of them. Audience members could collect their prizes as they left.
Then it was almost over, But not before we’d impressed the audience with our last two pieces: ‘You Raise Me Up’ and ‘American Trilogy’.
Here’s a video us singing of ‘You Raise Me Up’*
And here’s a video us singing of ‘American Trilogy'*
Another successful concert at St Augustine’s. Jan was pleased and we’ve had some lovely feedback from the Vicar at St Augustine’s saying how enjoyable it was.
We managed to do a little bit more than break even with ticket sales. But our saving grace was the raffle that itself raised £350.
- VERY IMPORTANT. The videos on our Members' area, which includes those in this Report, are for our own enjoyment only. ON NO ACCOUNT should they be shared or copied. There could be some that are not necessarily of a quality that we would want made public
The Hadleigh Community Summer Fayre. 3rd September 2023
With so many local people likely to attend this event it would be a good opportunity to promote our Autumn Concert at St Augustine's, Thorpe Bay, on 16th September and our Singing Workshop - another of our recruitment initiatives - on 14th October. We wanted to sing but there was no time for us. Nevertheless, a stall would give us a good opportunity for Leigh Orpheus promotion.
The ‘set up’ team were in place early, putting up the gazebo and creating an image that was clean and professional (which could not be said for some of the other stalls in the vicinity!).
Mac, John Hillier, George Lockheart and Neil did their finest, much assisted by items brought along by John and George.
Then it was time for the fun to begin. John Stack (who was there for a double-session), Jim Ryan and Dave Smith and Sam (both of whom would return for another session in the afternoon) kicked things off at the start. 11,00 am. As the uniform that had been suggested didn’t work, and it was going to be a hot day, open necked shirt and red waistcoat was agreed (with trousers and shoes and socks of course).
Members of the public started drifting by, some interested, some trying to avoid us. It didn’t take long to learn appropriate responses to “I’m not interested, I can’t sing to save my life.” with gems like “Never mind, let me give you this flyer for our next concert and you can come and hear us sing!”
Flyers were given out; conversations were had.
John Stack used a potentially-risky technique of approaching children and offering them sweets! All was above board though as it meant he could then very effectively interact with the accompanying father! Brilliant!
Then at 12.30 pm it was time for the next team to take over. John Stack stayed on and Michael joined.
It has to be said that everyone did well in interacting with the punters, but the team of John and Michael went the extra mile to keep people engaged. No excuse would get past them. No comment not responded to with an appropriate quip.
It was rumoured that the Orpheus Singers sang. We heard the introductions but we didn’t hear them. A challenging place to sing outdoors.
Half way through the day and the next team were in place for the 2 pm shift. Peter, Colin and George.
Again, plenty of interactions, interest shown and flyers distributed. Sadly no tickets sold by Neil who was there all day to work the Card Machine but good feedback from a member of the public that we looked good in our red waistcoats. That’s ‘marketing’ for you!
There was some consternation when one of the team exclaimed, with earshot of those around, as he talked to a lady “It’s all right, I’ve given her one.”. He was referring to having given a lady a flyer. Others misinterpreted the comment!
Then the graveyard shift at 3.30 pm. But Zed, Dave and Sam kept things alive and managed some more engagement with potential new audience and choir members.
By 4.30 pm other stalls were shutting up shop and the trickle of punters was lessening. Time for us to pack up.
Huge thanks to Mac, Dave, Sam, Zed, John Hillier, Colin and George for their swift packing away work. We even overcame the challenge of how to collapse the frame of the gazebo without bending it out of shape!
An excellent day’s work which will hopefully pay off in terms of audience members at St Augustine’s and new recruits at our Singing Workshop.
August 2023. Leigh Orpheus Welcomes Another Three New Members.
Their first full, in-uniform, perfromance was on Saturday, 19th August. On Friday, 25th August they were presented with their choir pins by Chairman Sam Coley.
The way we promoted our concerts in 2014!
Effective promotion is always a challenge! Getting the message across in a way that attracts people's attention can involve a number of techniques. Generally the more effective they are the more expensive they are. So no-cost techniques that might work are always worth considering.
Whatever made us think that pushing a piano around Leigh on Sea on a Saturday morning would attract people to a Leigh British Legion concert at West Leigh Baptist Church?
Well some of us did!
It wasn't all easy-going!
As it happened, our then President, Sir David Amess, was passing by and he joined us.
We must have thought it was effective because we did the same thing again in November 2014, promoting our Christnas Concert and a Mayor's Charity Variety Night we were involved in.
And we did it in the dark!
Don't we look different in our 'old' LOMVC uniforms?!
Who can name all of the LOMVC members involved?!
From the Southend Echo February 2008.
Recruitment in 2008. Come and Sing (2).
The LOMVC Summer Concert 2023
The Concert was preceded by our Supporters Tea to which we'd invited Patrons, Life Members, Committee Members and Honarary Members. All people who give us invaluable support. Good to see some old friends and to chat over old times. Loyal Life Member Paul Lloyd, now a member of the St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir was there. Pam had bought in some sumptuous sandwiches, cakes, and of course scones, cream and jam. The hospitality team served them to our guests. They loved it!
Also before the concert an opportunity to present two new members, performing a full concert for the first time, with their choir pins. Welcome to being a Full Member lads. We hope your time with the Leigh Orpheus will be an enjoyable and memorable one.
On to the concert which was held on a sunny evening at the Salvation Army Temple in Hadleigh. Alan had done a brillaint job selling tickets at rehearsal and our online ticket sales were fairly popular too. Hence, a good audience in our home venue but no need for us to open the back area for extra seating.
The rest of this Report is based on a Review of the concert written by Tony Grellier who was in the audience.
We'd rehearsed the pieces, including some new and newly-revived pieces, and we were ready to go. Good to see Liszi on her feet and then seated to support Kay.
Jan, suitably attired in a colourful summer dress, led us straight into Irving Berlin's lively "Alexander's Ragtime Band", which served to grab the attention of audience from the very start. Then by way of contrast this was followed by the beautiful a cappella piece "Calm is The Sea" evoking images of a fishing village harbour.
With yet another change of tone we moved on from the calm of a fishing village to the razzamatazz of "New York, New York" made famous by Frank Sinatra.
This was followed by Ralph Foulkes' debut LOMVC solo, a stirring rendition of "Stars" from Les Misérables which received a noisy and enthusiastic response from the audience. Well done, Ralph!
Next was the African American spiritual "Wade in the Water" followed by the New Zealand whaling shanty "The Wellerman" with Dave singing the solo.
Next, two familiar gospel songs "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "When the Saints go Marching In" were combined into a medley with an opportunity for the audience to participate.
The next soloist provided a rare opportunity to hear a the trombone as a solo instrument. Music teacher Claire Golding
described how she had progressed through a variety of instruments to the trombone. She then demonstrated the instrument playing the "Theme from Ground Force" and the slow movement from Rimsky-Korsakov's "Trombone Concerto". We hadn't been sure what to expect, but as it turned out we and the audience loved it.
In the second half of the concert Claire gave us an amusing insight into the difficulties of playing an instrument where the notes have to be found by the extent of the slide and variations on the mouthpiece. This was followed by her playing "Chicago Blues" and "The Acrobat".
The first half of the concert was closed with Queen's "We are the Champions" with another opportunity for audience participation. Here we are.Waving again. And yes, one stubborn member of the choir deliberately doing 'jazz hands' (as were many members of the audience).
At start of the second half we brought out three new or recently revived items: "Love is All Around" , "This Nearly Was Mine" and "Stand by Me".
Ron Circus, a regular soloist, gave a smooth performance of "That's All" a song associated with many singers from Nat King Cole through to Michael Buble.
The concert was finished in Proms-like style with The Choir singing "Sea Songs" and, with the help of the audience, "Rule Britannia", "Jerusalem" and "The National Anthem".
A good time was had by all!
Spot the members!
Our specially-made, 50th Anniversary, gold cufflinks (sadly not real gold).
Everyone who was a Leigh Orpheus member during our 50th Anniversary year will have received a pair.
If you’ve joined since 2018, our 50th Anniversary Year, we can probably make a pair of these cufflinks available to you. If you were there at the time, have lost yours, and would like another pair, some smart talking might work!
Please get in touch with Neil if you can identify the people in this pic and where it might have been taken. Dave Jefferey? Gordon Brownlee? Is that Gerwyn Parry condcuting?
Still in its infancy, and conducted by the founding MD of the Leigh Orpheus, forty years ago the choir was on tour in Florida! Who recognises the names on the programme?
We’ve got hundreds of items of archive material in store. From concert programmes to framed pictures to awards, as well as other memorabilia.
If you have the time would you consider making digital copies of some of our Archived pieces? We’d like to get rid of hard copy by digitising as much as possible. Please talk with a committee member if you’d be interested. All that is required is something that can take reasonable quality pictures (your phone?) and a bit of record-keeping.
‘On the Water’. Our joint concert with Essex Concert Orchestra and South Essex Youth Symphony Orchestra. 8th April 2023
The idea of a joint concert came about as a result of discussions between the two MD’s. Possibly something to do with the Essex Concert Orchestra’s MD being our accompanists’ brother! The fact that a venue was available at a very reasonable rate was attractive.
Meetings were conducted, ideas were exchanged, financial responsibilities and arrangements were agreed. The theme, ‘On the Water’ allowed both ECO and LOMVC to use items from their own repertoires and there were opportunities for joint pieces. LOMVC would commit to selling half the tickets and ECO the other half. Tickets were printed. Jan started us rehearsing potential joint pieces.
Then along came Covid and not only would a concert not be allowed because of restrictions, the venue was closed down anyway. The concert was off. And possibly dead in the water.
However, roll forward a couple of years and the concept was revisited. A date was set, ticket prices were agreed, and we got back to finalising and fine-tuning the planning. Jan with the repertoire and the necessary rehearsing. Neil with the logistics, publicity materials and tickets.
This concert provided us with new opportunities. Some new music for all of us, including our, hopefully, new members. And another opportunity for us to get them on stage with us. Again, we didn’t want them to stand out as different so we modified the uniform so that we were all ‘uniform’.
Lots of publicity through poster and flyers and posts on social media. Lots of rehearsing. Lots of note-bashing. Enthusiasm at the opportunity to sing some pieces with a full orchestra. Some uncertainty about how the joint pieces would be conducted.
The venue for this joint concert – The reprieved from ‘development’ Mill Hall Arts and Events Centre in Rayleigh.
Arrangements needed to be agreed about how fitting the Leigh Orpheus, the Essex Concert Orchestra and the South Essex Youth Symphony Orchestra into the venue while still having enough space for an audience. The Leigh Orpheus would be on the stage with the orchestras on the floor of the hall. Which would leave enough room for 200 audience members. But would the sound of the choir carry over the top of the orchestra or would the orchestra drown out the choir in joint pieces? (as it turned out it didn’t and all worked well!)
The scene was set and we met at 4pm on 8th April ready to rehearse with ECO. Thankfully, anticipating that our own LOMVC needs might not necessarily have been considered, last minute arrangements had been made for us to have chairs in the Upper Hall, our base and Green Room, so that we could sit down!
We rehearsed with ECO. A bit of clarification and agreement about how to deal with certain aspects and we then moved on to our own Leigh Orpheus rehearsal. No real problems and we were allowed time off for a couple of hours. Time to eat for some. Time to collect wives and partners for others.
Many of us never did get to see the full programme. However, here’s the Leigh Orpheus’s:
Wade in the Water
Calm is the Sea
Alexander’s Ragtime Band
With Cat-Like Tread (with Essex Concert Orchestra).
What Shall we do with the Drunken Sailor
Song of the Jolly Roger
Four Sea Songs (with Essex Concert Orchestra).
At 7.20 we got ready to go on stage. As we waited in the Foyer it was obvious that far too many tickets had been sold and walk-ins had been allowed. Our Front of House team, and Alan, had coped under pressure and worked hard dealing with ticket sales and making sure every single seat was filled. Extra seats (from our Green Room) had been brought down. Some potential audience members weren’t happy. They’d bought tickets, they’d arrived to find there were no seats left and they’d had to be given refunds. (now you know why we are so specific about ticket sales at our own concerts!)
Walking on stage should have been easy. But it wasn’t due to the extra seats and restricted access. But eventually we were on stage and almost ready to go.
ECO kicked off with several pieces, finishing with the easily-recognisable ‘Adagio and Dance of the Pirates’, best known to some as the music associated with BBC television drama the Onedin Line.
What was described as a splash of music from the young people from SEYSO and then it was our turn. This first set went well with Dave singing some of the verses of ‘Wellerman’ and us subsequently being complimented about that piece working well for us. ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, which had many opportunities where it could have gone wrong, went right and had the audience moving.
Then, jointly, ‘The Policeman’s Song’ and ‘With Cat Like Tread’ from Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Pirates of Penzance. We could have provided them with a good soloist for ‘The Policeman’s Song’ but ECO chose their own with us being allowed to join in the responses. But at least we then made a pretty good job of ‘With Cat Like Tread’.
Next, the interval. About 300 people all wanting refreshments. Again, our Front of House team did valiant work under considerable pressure.
Then the second half. ECO played highlights from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and we followed that with some drunken-swaying to ‘What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor’. Given the complexity of the piece and the pitfalls that had arisen in rehearsal we didn’t do at all badly! Our word perfect Māori singing of ‘Pokarekare Ana’ would have been even more greatly admired had there been any New Zealanders in the audience. Then our final solo piece, with even more piracy, ‘Song of the Jolly Roger’.
Finally, an opportunity for us to release our inner ‘Last Night Of The Proms’ along with ECO, with the Fantasia on British Sea Songs. An impressively speedy end to the Hornpipe and on to ‘Rule Britannia’. Didn’t those patriotic flags wave! The out-of-tune and out-of-time horn from the stage seemed to underline how authentic this Proms-style experience was!
It was felt to have been a very successful concert with the Leigh Orpheus playing its part well. The first outing for our new keyboard which worked well and proved to have been a good investment.
Hopefully a generous donation to the RNLI once all the finances have been reconciled.