I was born in Stretford, near Manchester on January 8 1949, writes Paul Denney. I lived there until I was 17 when the family moved, including me, to Bryn Rhyd yr Arian. This was a culture shock!
I eventually started my working life in the motor trade but soon found a niche for myself in the engineering department at the North Wales Hospital, Denbigh.
This was in the same building as Gwyn Hafod Elwy (Gwyn Williams, is also a choir member – Ed.) who had a habit of singing as he worked. I am sure this was instrumental in my joining the Hospital Choir which became a significant part of my musical background.
I was a member of the Hospital Choir until I joined the Merchant Navy at 21. I enjoyed my short time at sea but came home to stay when I married Lynn.
Operatic Musical Background
(In the photo above Paul and Peter are cast as Marco and Guiseppe. Ed.)
My enjoyment of harmony singing, and the next part of my musical background, had been satisfied by the Ruthin and District Operatic Society. The words of William Gilbert and the wonderful music of Arthur Sullivan.
However, RADAOS changed its name and sense of direction (now called the Ruthin Musical Theatre Ed.).
Coupled with personal health issues I looked for something else and the Denbigh and District MVC fitted the bill.
I joined the choir because of a two pronged attack by choir members Arthur Stanley Jones and Glyn Edwards, the electrician.
Although I appeared in over 40 shows for RADAOS, mainly in a tenor solo capacity, I have no wish to return to this as I have found my new niche for the foreseeable future.
Choral Musical Background
As I am not a Welsh speaker I have difficulty in learning the Welsh words. I make a habit to record the choir rehearsals.
I then play them back while looking at the musical score in the hope that something will sink in. It does sometimes!
I’ve been with the choir for about three years, check with Mike Baines, we joined at the same time. Mike was also a stalwart with RADAOS, as was Peter Davies in his younger years.
My favourite venue to perform with the choir is St John’s Church, Llandudno. Not least because of the accessible toilets and a good brew with biscuits during the interval.
I enjoy most of our repertoire but if pressed my favourite song would be ‘Song of the Jolly Roger’. This is due to the fact that I know the words, and it brings back memories of ocean sailing and cannon firing!
My favourite singers, if pressed, are the lyrical tenors John McCormack and David Lloyd. When in the shower I have been known to attempt the patter song from ‘The Mikado,’ I’ve got a little list sung by Ko-Ko.
I can only describe the sound of a Welsh Male Voice Choir as inspiring. Sometimes spine-tingling with an opportunity to have our say without female voices interrupting.
The highlight of my time with the choir has to be the 25th Anniversary Concert at St Asaph Cathedral. Spine-tingling indeed.