The folks of the Circuit were treated to a wonderful concert on Saturday 7th March at Richmond Methodist Church. Our Superintendent, Rev Melanie has a long association with the City of Bath Male Choir. Her first appointment as a Methodist Minister was to the city of Bath in September 2005, and in the January of 2006, Grenville Jones founded the choir beginning rehearsals in one of her churches, Beechen Cliff. Her husband, Paul, was one of the earliest members. Today the choir has over 70 men regularly singing to full houses across the UK and beyond. Last year when the choir heard that Rev Melanie and her husband were moving to the North Yorkshire Dales, they were keen to make the long trip North!
From small beginnings the Choir has certainly come a long way. It's first concert was held in the Guildhall in Bath in November 2006, and what a night it was. Next, they appeared on stage at the 2007 Bath SHOWCASE charity concert in front of an audience of 1500 people with guest appearances from jazz musicians Clare Teal and Jamie Cullum. July 2007 saw them perform with Aled Jones who was knocked out by the fresh sound of England's newest Male Choir! A memorable trip to Germany took place in 2007 followed by the second packed annual concert at the Bath Guildhall. The Mayor of Bath is Patron of the Choir and in March 2007 when Rev Melanie was the Mayor's Chaplain the Choir sang at the official Mayor-Making ceremony! In June 2008, the Choir appeared on stage with Alfie Boe marking the beginning of an amazing year. For when Grenville entered the Choir for a new BBC series called Last Choir Standing, little did he know what was to come. From the hundreds of Choirs that entered, the 'boys from Bath' reached 5th place and gained the support of thousands of new fans. Following the TV show, choir members continued to increase, and they featured on a TV commercial for the Wispa chocolate bar with bookings flooding in. In recent years the "standing ovations" have continued. The tour to Japan in 2014 was an outstanding success with the choir performing in front of huge audiences, and recently they have returned from a highly successful tour of Boston in the USA. Choir leader, Grenville, has appeared many times on Television and radio, recently as one of the 100 judges on the BBC TV series, 'All Together Now'. He currently runs 7 different choirs each week as well as being the founder of the national 'Golden Oldies' movement, a Charity offering older, isolated, vulnerable and disabled individuals monthly social musical Sing & Smile daytime sessions, events and intergenerational activities, connecting communities and combating loneliness. Just this last week saw the launch of the 200th venue as it continues to spread in popularity from Cornwall right up to Yorkshire.
One of the joys of the choir is that Grenville regularly features talented guest soloists including Rev Melanie's own daughter, Rebecca, who first appeared with the choir at the age of 15. It was such a delight for everyone that Becki was able to travel over from Saudi Arabia to sing at the concert. Now 28, after discovering a love of singing at an early age, Becki began private tuition at the age of eight, and turned professional at thirteen. She has sung all over the country but made her operatic debut in Cardiff singing the main role in a new opera, 'The flooding of the plains of Gwelod' in 2009. Becki then went on to earn a prestigious place at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Greenwich, where she studied Vocal Performance, Musical Theatre and Singing Tuition. After the four-year degree course, Becki then began teaching part-time, whilst being able to indulge in another passion, floristry. Becki then worked with the national 'Rock Choir' movement and went on to conduct three choirs in and around London also appearing on stage in Hyde Park for Proms in the Park in 2018. Recently married to Alex, Rebecca now lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where her husband works. She continues to teach both piano and voice. She was delighted to appear with the choir again at Richmond and treated the audience to a varied programme of stunning vocals.
Everyone present agreed that it was a tremendous evening and one that would not be forgotten in a hurry.
The next day, before returning to Bath, the Choir sang during the Sunday morning worship service at Leyburn Methodist Chapel where the congregation celebrated their chapel anniversary.