Out from the darkness, singing with joy and laughter free.
In brotherhood united, we sang in the light of day
With harmony and laughter, we sang in the light of day.
(From Every Man Was Singing words: Mike Tomlinson; music: Gwyn Arch)
(Front cover of the album Every Man Was Singing featuring original artwork by Mike Tomlinson)
On an Autumn evening in the year 1919, a group of colliery officials sat around a fireside in the bar of the newly opened Officials Institute at Eastwood and hatched the idea of forming a male voice choir for employees of local colliery owners Barber, Walker & Co Ltd. This album commemorates the centenary of the Eastwood Collieries’ Male Voice Choir but, far from being an album which takes a retrospective look through the history books, these 15 tracks celebrate the choir’s achievements by showcasing items from its most recent repertoire.
Musical Director, Liz Moulder, set out to achieve in this CD a cross section of pieces from the latter part of the 20th and early 21st century which highlight the new music that the choir is now performing. Liz says, “Being an MD of any music group is a privilege but being in charge of a male voice choir with an incredible pedigree, which is celebrating a hundred years of singing, is extra special. ECMVC are an amazing group of men who love singing, enjoy a challenge and want to move the choir forward.”
The album features a track that was specially commissioned to mark ECMVC’s centenary. The song Every Man Was Singing has words written by choir member Mike Tomlinson and music composed by Gwyn Arch. Liz says about the song, “…we have in Everyman Was Singing a song that captures the pride and joy of a choir who have their roots in the coal industry but who continue to make music even after the industry’s demise. This had to be the title for this special CD.”
The 15 tracks provide the listener with a wide range of music styles and demonstrate the challenges and learning experiences that Liz provides for the choir. “These tracks provide a variety of genres that allow the men to show their vocal dexterity and their ability to go from a male voice fortissimo to the gentlest of pianissimos. Bui Doi and Anthem from Chess do just this with sections of power and strength to gentle, simple phrases that require a delicacy and sensitivity not often found in male voice performances. But ECMVC does this and more as seen in their performances of all the songs.”
Accompanist, Gemma Marshall, adds, “I joined ECMVC as their Principal Accompanist in 2017 – my very first male voice choir – and I am delighted to be part of their centenary celebrations.
“It’s a real pleasure working with them every Tuesday evening and at concert engagements and this CD is a fitting testament to their ongoing hard work and determination, for which they can be very proud.
“The variety of music the choir performs is particularly refreshing from an accompanist’s perspective and it has been great to work on a range of contemporary pieces as well as getting to know the more traditional male voice standards. Some personal favourites for me on the CD are And So It Goes and Anthem, both of which are sung with such passion by the men but at opposite ends of the spectrum.”
Much has changed since ECMVC started singing in 1919. What has not changed, however, is the fundamental joy members feel when performing to an audience, or their commitment to the choir, or the camaraderie they demonstrate at practice nights, or the undeniable fun and great satisfaction they get from keeping ECMVC such a vibrant group of music-makers.
Please look out for news on how to purchase the CD or download the tracks. The anticipated price of the CD is £10.