Dalesmen celebrate 40 years of singing

Founder members Colin Grout and John Thompson receive their 40 year ties
Founder members Colin Grout and John Thompson receive their 40 year ties

Danby Village Hall played host to the 40th anniversary of the of Dalesmen Singers.

Although the hall may regularly play host to such a gathering, this occasion was different – the well-known and respected choir was gathered with wives and past members to enjoy a celebratory occasion.

It’s amazing what can come out of a conversation in a pub, and it was just such a conversation 40 years ago, in the Duke of Wellington pub in Danby, which led to the formation of the Dalesmen Singers Male Voice Choir.

After all attendees were welcomed by the choir’s president, Audrey Smith. Excellent food, provided by Lillie’s Caterers, was enjoyed to the background of the wonderful Danesgarth Quartet playing a range of music from the Classical Repertoire.

Furthermore, to fully ensure there was no awkward lull and silence between courses, conjurer Mike Smith went from table to table amazing everyone with his entertaining and mind-boggling tricks.

The hall was transformed for the occasion and proved to be a most fitting venue for the event. Guests perused a specially assembled exhibition displaying moments in the history of the Dalesmen with great interest throughout the evening.

As the meal grew to a close, the anniversary cake was brought in, and the choir’s chairman, Jim Muir, invited the president to cut the cake.

Jim then gave a vote of thanks to all those who had worked so hard to make the occasion a success, with special thanks to the president and to those guests who attended.

He read out messages of congratulations from past members who were unable to attend, such as Joe Easley (the choir’s first Chairman), Peter Spencer (the first Secretary) and Walter Hartley (the first Treasurer). The evening came to a fitting close with presentations to three long-serving members of the choir. First, Ray West received a ‘25 years’ tie.

Then came the time for two founder members, Colin Grout and John Thompson, to be presented with their ‘40 years’ ties in recognition of their continuous service right from the beginning.

There was, however a note of sadness; the much loved Bill Harrison, also a founder member, had died a few months ago.

The celebrations continue with the 40th anniversary gala night concert on Saturday 15 October. This begins at 7.30pm in Danby Methodist Chapel, with refreshments afterwards in Danby Village Hall.

The guest artiste is internationally-acclaimed opera singer Suzannah Clarke, who was born and brought up in Middlesbrough. The gala is also an opportunity to support this year’s charity for the event, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Tickets cost £8 from Colin Grout (01287 660700) or other choir members.