Gala night marks 40th anniversary for choir

Dalesmen Singers at their 40th Gala Night.
Dalesmen Singers at their 40th Gala Night.

THE Dalesmen Male Voice Choir gave their 40th anniversary gala night concert at Danby Methodist Church a week last Saturday.

The programme ranged from moving settings of hymns to rousing anthems of praise; from the enchanting Eriskay love lilt to rousing traditional songs; from beautifully arranged versions of modern popular songs to foot-tapping renditions of There is Nothing Like a Dame and Rhythm of Life.

Suzannah Clarke performing at the Gala Night.

Suzannah Clarke performing at the Gala Night.

The quality of singing was enthusiastically received by the capacity audience, whether the music was sweet and gentle or energetically rumbustious.

Sadly, the Dalesmen’s musical director, Steve Maltby, was unable at the last minute to conduct this concert due to a back injury.

However, Andy Dyer, one of the members of the choir, stepped in and with true Yorkshire grit the choir gave of its best in what was a truly great performance, supported as ever by its fine pianist Ann Hartley.

The guest artiste for the evening was the domestically and internationally acclaimed operatic singer, Suzannah Clarke.

Suzannah charmed members of the audience and choir alike as she moved effortlessly from famous operatic arias to gentle love songs, all beautifully accompanied by her own pianist, Margaret Reed.

And there was more than a smattering of humour in her act too; a hush fell over the chapel during her sad unaccompanied song about the feelings of a girl as her loved one braved the dangers of sea voyages – shattered by the final revelation that the sea journey was in fact the ferry from North to South Shields.

The audience also joined in with great enthusiasm for the chorus of a song about the changing face of the Tyne, a song that included the immortal words ‘where the sewers flow into the Tyne’.

In his introduction to the evening the Dalesmen’s Chairman, Jim Muir, referred to the long and successful history of the choir during the 40 years of its existence, with success not just in its concerts at home and abroad, but also in its fund-raising for charities – more than £70,000 pounds in total.

The tradition of donating all the proceeds from gala night was continued this year with the presentation by Dalesmen President Audrey Smith of a cheque for £1,392 to Vicky Peterson representing this year’s charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

At the end of the concert, Mr Muir thanked everyone who attended.

He then thanked Suzannah Clarke and Margaret Reed who were presented with bouquets by founder members Colin Grout and John Thompson, before presenting Ann Hartley with a bouquet, thanking her for her excellent work accompanying the choir.

Finally he thanked the conductor, Andy Dyer, who was presented with a gift by Vice-Chairman, Phil Hunton.

The evening concluded with refreshments in a packed Danby Village Hall, where one of the honoured guests, the Mayor of Scarborough, Councillor John Blackburn, paid tribute to the choir and hoped he would be able to visit Danby again in the future.