Rossendale Free Press

Men raise voices to help others

- Barry Hyde Chair of the Rossendale Community Support Network

THIS week, we are looking at the work of The Rossendale Male Voice Choir.

The choir has a great history, and in 2024 they will celebrate a hundred years since they were founded by Fred Tomlinson.

He took a group of local singers and formed the choir which, among other honours, would go on to win the Llangollen Eisteddfod.

Matthew Thomas, the current musical director, took over in 2015 and has brought a fresh approach to the choir’s repertoire, adding a more theatrical element.

This has resulted in been placed highly in every competitio­n they have entered under his tutelage, including “Song of the Competitio­n” at the Cornwall Internatio­nal Choir Festival 2019.

The choir’s love of singing starts here in the Valley, where they regularly perform to raise funds for local charities, and appreciate the value of singing to members’ well-being.

Fundraisin­g events give the choir the chance to let their hair down and entertain their friends, neighbours and the Rossendale community.

The members believe that singing is good for your physical and mental health, builds confidence, reduces stress and anxiety, helps you lose weight and after rehearsals you can go for a beer and a chat with the guys.

The choir’s charity concerts and performanc­es raise thousands for deserving local causes such as the Rossendale Hospice and the NSPCC.

The choir recently travelled the length of the East Lancashire Railway entertaini­ng folk on station platforms. Matthew Thomas said of the trip, “All told, a super day out for the men, fun and appreciati­on by our audiences. We had several very positive conversati­ons with men who are interested to join us”.

So if you are looking for an opportunit­y to sing and make new friends, why not go along to a rehearsal?

●●THEY are held every Monday at 7.30pm, at St Peter’s, Haslingden. For further informatio­n please go to www. rossendale malevoice

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