Cloughmore Male Voice Choir
Cloughmore Male Voice Choir pose for a photo during rehearsals in Warrenpoint Town Hall on Friday evening before their Sapphire Celebration Concert. Included in photo are Siobhan Taylor (Musical Director) and Derek Dunn (Accompanist)

Cloughmore Male Voice Choir launch their Sapphire Celebration in Warrenpoint Town Hall

Magnificent! Captivating! Outstanding! Great Variety!  These were just some of the words members of the audience said when they were leaving Warrenpoint Town Hall on Friday 8th June 2018, as The Cloughmore Male Voice Choir, under their Musical Director Siobhán Taylor and accompanied by Derek Dunn presented A Sapphire Celebration to mark the start of their 45th Anniversary Year; the choir having been founded on 6th February 1974.

The Guest Artistes were Vocal Point: – Rachel Thomas (Soprano), Gwen Moore (Alto) Colm Fewer (Tenor) and Paul Glennon (Bass) a four-piece jazz a cappella group based in Dublin. They certainly entertained the audience with their warm jazz harmonies and a dash of fun.

Pictured are Siobhan Taylor (Musical Director) and Derek Dunn (Accompanist)
Pictured are Siobhan Taylor (Musical Director) and Derek Dunn (Accompanist)

The Music

The choir opened proceedings with ‘The Star of the County Down’, followed by the American Folk Song ‘The Water is Wide’. Siobhán, who acted as compere for the evening introduced Vocal Point who sang their first set of numbers: First, ‘Let’s Do It’, a popular song written in 1928 by Cole Porter and introduced in his first Broadway success, the musical Paris.

They followed this with an stunning arrangement of a Beatles song released in 1965, ‘In My Life’ and completed their set with ‘Pink Bond’, a take-off on various James Bond themes.

Siobhán invited her accompanist to the stage who is an admirer of William Archibald Spooner, famous for spoonerisms. Derek recounted the tale of The Pee Little Thrigs (Three Little Pigs).

Cloughmore next performed a beautiful arrangement by Gwyn Arch of ‘Londonderry Air’ followed by a truly exhilarating and moving rendition of Alwyn Humphreys’ arrangement of ‘An American Trilogy’.

To conclude the first half of the concert, Vocal Point sang their version of Cyndi Lauper’s hit ‘True Colours’, a Blues song – ‘Sixteen Tons’, concluding with ‘Seven Sweet Dreams’.

The men of Cloughmore took to the stage to sing Paul McCartney’s song, ‘Yesterday’ and then from the musical Les Miserables, ‘I Dreamed a Dream.’

Vocal Point’s next set of songs began with an arrangement of Nat King Cole’s song ‘L-O-V-E’.  They followed this with a song written in 1940, ‘Java Jive’, concluding with ‘My Funny Valentine’, first recorded by Frank Sinatra.

The Musical Director then took to the stage and from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, gave a most moving and inspirational performance of ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, followed by the one of the great love songs in musical theatre history: from George and Ira Gershwin’s 1926 musical Oh Kay, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ – a real jazz standard.

The Choir sang Alan Simmons arrangement of ‘Softly as I leave you’, followed by two songs associated with the First World War: ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your Troubles’.

To warm applause Vocal Point came on stage for the final time and once again enthralled the audience with a breathtaking performance of ‘I Got Rhythm’, from Gershwin’s musical Girl Crazy. They followed this with an arrangement of ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’.

Vocal Point’s phenomenal performance brought a rousing response from the audience and their contributions tonight certainly enhanced this celebratory year for Cloughmore.

To conclude the evening, Siobhán conducted The Cloughmore Male Voice Choir in their final song: – the traditional spiritual, ‘Chariot’s Comin’!’

Raising funds for The Alzheimer’s Society

Pictured are L – R Derek Dunn (Accompanist), Laura Summerbell (Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser), and Siobhan Taylor (Musical Director) when they presented a cheque for £450.00
Pictured are L – R Derek Dunn (Accompanist), Laura Summerbell (Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser), and Siobhan Taylor (Musical Director) when they presented a cheque for £450.00

Before the second half of the concert began there was a Raffle Draw and the Choir thanked everyone who contributed substantial prizes; all proceeds from the raffle going to The Alzheimer’s Society.

Laura Summerbell, its Community Fundraiser for Newry & Mourne received a cheque of £450 for the charity and she gave a brief description of the work of the Society.

Presentations

The Chairman of the choir, Joe Rooney expressed thanks to everyone and presentations were made to the members of Vocal Point as well as to Derek and Siobhán.  In return, the Musical Director thanked the members of the choir and informed the audience that a challenge was given to the men for this concert. Not only did they accept it but they certainly achieved it with aplomb, excelling themselves in all aspects of performance as this was the first time in the choir’s history that the entire concert was performed without folders.

A display at the back of the hall traced the history and various events that occurred throughout the 45 years of the choir.  In the comprehensive programme the Minutes of the first meeting of the choir on 6th February 1974 were reproduced.  As well as receiving a programme each member of the audience was presented with a commemorative pen which highlighted the Choir’s Sapphire Celebrations

Recruitment Event

The choir will be holding a Workshop/Recruitment Event in September and will welcome new members as we prepare for the future.

To conclude their Sapphire Celebratory year The Cloughmore Male Voice Choir will perform in Newry Town Hall on Friday 8th February 2019, when their guests will be The Celtic Tenors – that’s only 34 weeks from now; a date for your diary!