You thought all Welshmen could sing? Think again.
When I begin to warble, birds fly away and my wife begs me to stop. Heck, I beg myself to stop, writes guest blogger John Griffith.
But take me to church on a Sunday, and providing I know the hymn (not always a certainty, I grant you) I turn into something approximating to Bryn Terfel.
That’s not strictly true of course, but I sound alright to me and my wife doesn’t seem too upset.
The Love of Singing in Choirs
I put it down to the power of the collective and the relative removal of inhibition that releases our natural inner ability to sing.
Which is why people love singing in choirs.
There isn’t a Welsh male voice choir where I live in Sutton Coldfield (just north of Birmingham in case you weren’t sure). And if there was, my darling wife strongly suspects it would soon disband if I was to join.
(Denbigh is too far to travel for rehearsals, and though I believe I would look really good in a blazer, the Denbigh and District Male Voice Choir is going to have to manage without me.)
But there ARE choirs in our part of the West Midlands and they are increasingly popular and have little trouble in attracting new recruits.
The Challenge of Recruitment
So why is it that my brother in law Richard’s recent blog post points to the challenge facing traditional choirs in attracting new and younger recruits?
It certainly cannot be that choirs are out of fashion. As Gareth Malone has shown on prime time TV, they have never been more fashionable.
I think you know the answer. You have the same problem that traditional golf clubs have when they try to preserve themselves in aspic, with dress codes and formalities that put people off.
It’s the Blazers
It’s those blazers, you see. They seem to say “we belong and you don’t”. And though you know your choir is forward looking and friendly, it doesn’t look that way from the outside.
You may not really want to change too much or too quickly, so could you keep the blazers for formal occasions and reach out to the wider world?
Meet up on Prestatyn promenade in tee shirts and jeans and sing Beatles medleys inviting passers by to join in.
You would certainly have some fun. And you might just attract some new recruits.