Mike Baines, newly appointed Denbigh choir secretary writes the latest blog. I am not a typical Welsh Male Voice Choir member. I have no background of chapel or church hymn singing and have no Welsh ancestry.
I was brought up in Carlisle and came to Ruthin in 1971 to work for the old Denbighshire County Council.
I still live there and have learnt Welsh to a limited extent so I feel I can now claim to be ‘Cymraeg’. Anway Carlisle is in Cumbria which of course is the land of the Cymru.
Mike Baines and Gilbert and Sullivan
One of my first interests in music was going to see Gilbert and Sullivan shows in Carlisle with my parents. When I was at college in London I was lucky enough to see many of the Savoy Operas there.
Then, not long after coming to Ruthin, I joined Ruthin and District Amateur Operatic Society (RADAOS) who had just formed and were to put on HMS Pinafore.
Fortunately I was accepted into the ranks, along with Paul Denney and Peter Davies – now other Denbigh Choir recruits.
I enjoyed some 30 years with RADAOS taking part as a tenor chorus member of their annual shows.
These included musicals like Oklahoma and My Fair Lady, Viennese operattas such as Die Fledermaus and Merry Widow. As well as most of the well known Gilbert and Sullivan shows.
My wife, Carolyn, was also a member of RADAOS for many years and is a stalwart member of St Peter’s Church Choir.
Mike Baines Joins Denbigh Male Voice Choir
I have long enjoyed seeing and listening to Welsh Male Voice choirs. Fancying a change in direction, I came along to a rehearsal of Denbigh Choir in 2010. I was delighted to be accepted as a 2nd Tenor.
Denbigh Male Voice Choir is an especially friendly organisation. Rehearsals which carry on throughout the year are always enjoyable with plenty of humour.
But at the same time serious discipline demanded by musical director Arwyn Roberts to get everything just right.
I like the fact that we sing, almost equally, in Welsh and in English. We have a varied repertoire from gentle lullabies to rousing hymns and fun songs.
Trying to pick a favourite is difficult. I tend to prefer the rousing numbers and the American Trilogy is hard to beat.
Singing regularly in concerts keeps us all on our toes and is a great incentive to improve. I really enjoy the concerts we have undertaken with other choirs or soloists – allowing us to be in the audience as well as performers.
Mike Baines Choir Highlights
For me our 25th Anniversary Concert in St Asaph Cathedral in 2013 with Rhys Meirion and Annette Bryn Parri and the concert in St Mary’s Church, Denbigh last year with Denbighshire Youth Brass Band are top of the list.
In another vein I was greatly involved, for about 10 years, in running and developing Ruthin Festival into an annual week long musical event.
I am delighted that Denbigh Choir is singing at a concert in the English Presbyterian Church, Ruthin, during this year’s Festival programme.
Yes, it is great to be part of this wonderful choir. But we do constantly need more recruits as age catches us up.
So if anyone reading this fancies having a go, like I did several years ago, why not come along to one our rehearsals.
Ed. Note: Mike is now the Choir Secretary having served as the Choir Librarian.