B i o g r a p h y
The Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir
is a group of mainly retired Police Officers and,
now, many civilians who meet together to join in
song for our own pleasure and that of the
communities we entertain.
We perform at venues in Greater Manchester
as well as throughout the UK and overseas,
helping to raise funds in local community groups,
national charities and other organisations.
If we are not performing a concert, rehearsals are held each Thursday evening. Rehearsals are constructive but light hearted, as, after all, we set out to enjoy ourselves as well as preparing to entertain others. It is said that singing can prolong our lives - we can only find out if that's true if we keep on singing.
Founded in June 1974 with little more than a dozen members, the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir has since seen many changes in its ranks, but still musters up to thirty singers for concerts locally and elsewhere in the UK, as well as overseas. Some founder members are still going strong, and a few others have clocked up over thirty five years of service.
They have made several recordings since their first one in 1979, including an LP with Bryan and Michael of “Matchstalk Cats & Dogs” fame, as well as one for the NSPCC entitled “Coppers for Kids”. They were also delighted to accept an invitation from Her Majesty the Queen to sing on a CD in aid of the Deep Sea Fisherman’s Mission, of which she is the Patron, and now claim to sing “By Royal Appointment”.
Continued success in concert has led to appearances on BBC, Granada and Irish TV as well as local radio, whilst our choristers’ handsome faces have also been seen on TV screens in Sweden and Finland. They are also seen regularly on Christmas Eve in the ITV Carol Concert from the North West and have recorded a song for BBC Radio 4 which was broadcast on the Soul Music programme.
The choir have been honoured to take part in many prestigious occasions, such as the triennial concerts for Cancer Research UK at London’s Royal Albert Hall from 2006 to 2018 inclusive.
They had sung there twice before in Festivals of Police Male Voice Choirs to benefit various other charities, and all of these concerts had live recordings, sales of which helped to raise over £160,000 for the 2012 event, whilst the 2015 concert was recorded on CD and DVD. They also appeared at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on 2nd June 2012 in another DVD recorded concert to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – London obviously can’t get enough of them! They have graced the stage of the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, as well as the city’s Symphony Hall, Preston Guild Hall, the Royal Pavilion in Llangollen, the Sheffield Arena, Shrewsbury Music Hall, and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. They also sang many times in their home city at the Free Trade Hall, sadly no longer a wonderful concert venue, having been converted into a hotel.
Well known artistes with whom they have appeared are Frank Carson, Roy Walker, Jimmy Cricket, Mica Paris, Aled Jones, the Houghton Weavers, the Band of the Royal Marines, the United States Army Band, the White Russian Army Band, (formerly the Red Army Ensemble) and the Bolshoi Arts Company, whilst Masters of Ceremonies for their concerts have included Tom O’Connor, Richard Stilgoe, BBC broadcaster David Davies, and Frank Thornton of “Are You Being Served” and “Last of the Summer Wine” fame.
They are experienced travellers, having been to Sweden five times, whilst Finland and Germany have each been visited twice, always singing at least one item in the native language wherever they go. Reciprocal visits have been made by Police Choirs from each of these countries. Four tours have been undertaken to both Scotland and the Isle of Man, with others to South Wales, North East England and the West Country. Special mention must also be made of North Wales, where a concert in Llandudno has been an annual feature since 1983, always commencing with a rousing rendition of Land of My Fathers sung in Welsh and closed by that splendid hymn tune, Cwm Rhondda.
Such is their popularity that concert bookings are often taken at least a year in advance, and the members are both proud and privileged to have assisted in raising many thousands of pounds for numerous organisations and charities, including The Deep Sea Fishermen’s Mission, Scope, The Rainbow Trust, Rochdale Springhill Hospice, Bury Hospice, Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester and various Cancer Research Charities, as well as helping many local schools and churches in their endeavours.
Our repertoire has something for everyone, whatever their age or taste in music, and concerts always include a fair bit of comedy and ad-lib humour which helps them to make friends in all walks of life wherever they go.