For President Keith Lawrenson it was an ambition fulfilled for RMVC
It was always going to be the pinnacle of the choir’s activities since its inception a little over 20 years ago. An invitation to the London Welsh Festival of Male Voice Choirs at The Royal Albert Hall could only have been a dream all those years ago but now it was real and the day had arrived.
We had been warned that involvement would require dedication, an 18 month period of disruption to our established routine and the need to have 18 pieces concert ready many unknown to us and in a language which for me in all honesty resembled a particularly bad scrabble hand.
It goes without saying that the prize was waiting and the challenge taken. I am so very, very grateful for the learning schedules prepared, the hours of rehearsal undertaken and the background administration put in place to make the event possible.
I am also hugely grateful to those members of the choir who, whilst finding the learning commitment a step too far and thus involvement on the day impossible stayed loyal to the choir often attending rehearsals and encouraging the choir with supportive comments and pre-event good wishes.
It would have been so very unfortunate and upsetting had those members become disenchanted or even left the choir a position which, I understand, happened with a significant percentage of one of the participating choir’s membership.
To our musical director Marion what can I say, immense thanks for undertaking a lengthy period of time preparing Royal Albert Hall music as opposed to her own planned and preferred repertoire. Devotion well beyond the call of duty so soon after taking up the baton.
Huge and grateful thanks to Terry Morrison who was more than instrumental in furthering our application and ensuring our invitation. Terry’s involvement post invitation was quite unbelievable liaising with the London Welsh Male Voice Choir to ensure that we were ready on the day with tickets in place for our families and supporters. To Dave Witt, our concert secretary, as ever we are hugely indebted. Seamless travel arrangements for all concerned ensuring a jolly day out for all rather than a chaotic trip and no doubt some of our members still in London trying to get home!!
To our section leaders, marshalls on the day a big thank you and to our treasurer Andrew for handling the comprehensive transactions associated with the event.
To our chairman Geoff my thanks for maintaining the choir’s balance as we prepared for the Albert Hall and his immense enthusiasm for steering the choir committee during this period.
Indeed, my thanks to each and everyone concerned for what was a huge logistical undertaking and performance.
And of the day itself – a few of my recollections: The car park banter, choristers pumped up adrenalin beginning to flow but otherwise apprehensive.
A few of our number suffering the colds and flu that had plagued Romsey in the weeks before but determined to be there and give their all.
Journey complete – the splendour of the building – could it be that we were really there to perform.
The first sight of the arena and stage lit but empty – awesome – really quite awesome. And then we go to our positions not quite as expected split each side of the mighty organ but high up and over-looking what was to be a musical spectacular.
Rehearsal time begins and a thought comes to mind. There have been a number of occasions in the past where I have been asked “you must be proud” (of the choir) – well I can truly say that this was a moment which surpassed all and by a country mile. From my position in the back row I drank freely of the atmosphere and looked upon the faces of our choristers in their splendid green jackets, oh yes I was proud, proud of the choir and every chorister and friend. It has often been said that we are more than a choir - a family and this was the ultimate family outing.
Rehearsal over. There was not really any difference in dealing with the concert apart from the addition of the audience! Some 5000 plus people eagerly awaiting the drop of the baton and the music to start. What an evening, what an event, never to be forgotten and after how fitting to hear our musical director, Marion and accompanist Brian acknowledged by name.
And so accolades to all, a memory never to be forgotten.
Your very, very proud President.