After an extraordinary 50 years singing with Honley Male Voice Choir, long-serving chorister Brian Winterbottom is celebrating with a grand charity gala concert in Huddersfield Town Hall.
The musical event on Saturday, May 20, featuring the Honley choir, world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band and the award-winning youngsters from Lindley Junior School Choir, will be a fund-raiser for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. With the help of sponsors he’s hoping to raise a whopping £10,000.
It is, says 82-year-old Brian, “my way of putting something back”.
He added: “Instead of having a beer with the lads I thought I’d organise a charity concert to celebrate my years with the choir. I’ve had an amazing time.”
Brian is a walking advertisement for the health benefits of choral singing - he’s still incredibly active; playing golf on a regular basis and singing in a community choir as well as with the Honley men. “Choristers are healthy people,” he says, “you learn to breathe properly and whatever problems you have got disappear when you start singing, so it’s great for mental health. There’s also a sociable side to it as well. Doctors and psychologists recommend singing.”
He was 29 when he joined HMVC and, apart from a short break when work took him away from Huddersfield, he has sung with the choir ever since. Brian, who was born and raised in the village of Wilshaw but now lives in Netherton, has also been a musical theatre performer and a past Mrs Sunderland Festival winner.
The choice of charity for his anniversary concert arose from his long association with Lindley school choir director Alison North, who also leads the Lindley Community Choir, of which Brian is a member. He explained: “Alison’s son Alex is severely disabled and has respite care in the hospice. It is a charity that Honley Male Voice Choir has raised funds for a number of times.”
Brian has requested a musical programme for the concert of “happy, light-hearted music”. The Lindley Junior School Choir won the Barnardo’s Children’s Choir of the Year and Songs of Praise Choir of the Year in 2016 and has performed at both the Royal Albert Hall and on the Christmas edition of the C Beebies programme Justin’s House. It is made up of seven to 11-year-olds.
Grimethorpe Colliery Band, most famously featured in the film Brassed Off, is celebrating its centenary this year. The musicians will be fresh from an appearance in Brassed Off : Live! at the Royal Albert Hall.
Tickets for the concert are £12 and £15 from kirkleestownhalls.co.uk or 01484 225755 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org