On Friday 11th April, New Mill Male Voice Choir sang at the funeral of one of its members, Derek Haigh, who died suddenly on holiday in Cyprus. He was a sunny character who’d a great business career and who loved his music. In 2003, he and his wife, Jocelyne, were responsible for inviting the choir to two big concerts in aid of Rotary and Inner Wheel at The Winter Gardens, Blackpool and The Spa, Scarborough.
Over 300 attended the service at Kirkheaton Parish Church. Tributes came from Mirfield Rotarian, Paul Cusworth and Graham Dawson, representing the choir. The congregation progressed to Woodsome GC for refreshments, golf being another of Derek’s passions.
The following day, the choir sang at The Salvation Army Citadel, Scarborough with Manhattan Voices, a dozen or so ladies linked to the choir by a long-standing friendship between their musical director and Ray Thompson, the choir's music committee chair. They smiled a lot and their repertoire was popular and well sung, an excellent foil for the choir’s mostly traditional male voice pieces. Sadly, for a great venue with great singing, the audience, mostly camp-followers and Jocelyne, numbered little more than 40. The afterglow was enjoyed at The Red Lea Hotel, prior to an eleventh hour departure on the coach.
Two events in two days. Unusual for the choir, and well supported. Two sacred venues, one for a solemn celebration of a life, the other secular and joyful. Two strong singing spaces, ideal for the male voice genre. Pity about the unequal audience sizes.
Two contrasting experiences, brought together by Jocelyne and Derek.