Christmas is fast approaching. Searching for gift ideas? Books make good presents. Here are some suggestions on books about choirs.
Choir: Gareth Malone (2013) Collins
Gareth Malone has had a meteoric rise from selling ice cream on the promenade at Bournemouth.
Following successive acclaimed TV programmes he is now the face of popular choral programmes.
‘Choir’ tells the heart warming stories behind the show that got Britain singing. Malone has the personality and enthusiasm to make a difference.
He accepts kids from unlikely comprehensives and turns them into a talented performing choir. As unlikely as it seems, he takes young offenders to Glyndebourne.
Gareth took ‘The Military Wives’ version of ‘Wherever You Are’ to a Christmas Number One.
This is powerful television. The backdrop of war in Afghanistan providing powerful emotions.
The ‘Choir’ is his account of a time in which he influenced so many lives. It’s a fascinating read that will touch all readers.
Welsh Books About Choirs
Do You Hear the People Sing? The Male Voice Choirs of Wales – Gareth Williams (2015) Gwasg Gomer
Author Gareth Williams traces the origins and development of male voice singing in Wales.
Competing at the national Eisteddfod enables comparisons between the choirs.
There is an account of winners of every male voice choir competition since 1881.
Also of major interest is the caustic and sobering remarks of the adjudicators.
Gareth Williams, a cultural historian, outlines the influence of industry on communities. And how the chapels provided the background for a choral revolution in the 19th century.
Only Men Aloud’s founder and musical director Tim Rhys-Evans provides the Foreword. He describes the book as a “compelling account of Wales’s most famous musical export”.
North Wales Male Voice Choirs – Meurig Owen (2009) Llygad Gwalch
No one can deny the inspirational sounds created by the men of north Wales when they meet for choir practice.
Meurig Owen interviewed over forty choirs in his well-researched book. Though the choirs are male, many of the conductors, are women.
Such as Phyllis Dryhurst Dodd. She conducted the Denbigh and District Male Voice Choir from 1988-2002.
Owen gives a potted history of the origins of the choir culture. Together with a fascinating glimpse at the men who have participated.
At the end of each section Owen gives a summary of the leading members of each choir.
For those who might feel that this is a text purely for the initiated, let me say that they could be mistaken, and find Owen’s book an absorbing read. Certainly, it is a fitting tribute to the Male Voice Choirs of north Wales.
A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Finally, Happy Christmas Shopping one and all.