BOLSTERSTONE Male Voice Choir, making its fourth visit to a music festival in
Northern Ireland, was given a standing ovation and were hailed “the people’s favourite.”
In a huge boost for music director Daniel Timmins, accompanist Kim Kaye, deputy music director Fran Wells,
and the whole choir, the Bolsterstone choristers received their warmest audience reception in many years in bravura performances at the Bangor International Music Festival on April 5th-6th.
At a concert on the eve of the competition, the choir won the hearts of festivalgoers culminating in a standing ovation and enjoyed a similar reaction on each of the four occasions the Bolsterstone men t
ook to the competition platform the next day. Our final number at the concert, our signature tune Hail! Smiling Morn which we also sang at a reception in the mayor’s parlour on the afternoon of our arrival, brought long and loud applause accompanied by cheers.
There was no silverware for us this time but we won a cash prize of £100*. Typical of many comments from the audience, including from members of other choirs, were “you’re the people’s favourite, no doubt” …. and “wow, what a great sound.” The conductor of a Welsh ladies’ choir, who has also
headed male voice choirs, said she had been “blown away” by Bolsterstone.
At a reception at Castle Bangor in recognition of the choir’s 20-year association with the festival, choir chairman Mick Siddall, presented the mayor, Councillor Richard Smart, with a silver salver engraved with the message “to all our friends in Bangor”. In return the choir received a special shield.
The choir first went to the Bangor festival in 1999 and the third time was in 2008. So there were many renewed friendships and new ones forged over a hugely enjoyable weekend.
There was a worry when two days before we were due to fly our carrier Flybe cancelled 24 flights. Luckily our outward and homeward journe
ys were unaffected.
The choir is greatly thankful to Mike Bradshaw for making the travel and acccomodation arrangements.
Joan Houston, one of the main organisers of the festival and an old friend of the choir, was hugely helpful in making plans for the trip. She said: “I want to say what an absolute pleasure it was to have the choir back in Bangor. Everyone who heard you sing has been full of praise. Your
performance at the concert was superb. Daniel is taking Bolsterstone to very high levels of performance, of that I have no doubt.”
Baritone and former choir secretary Graham Walsh gamely dressed for the part when the choir performed a speciality number, Popeye the Sailor Man, at the Bangor International Music Festival. It was written by James Tuck, a musician friend of our music director Daniel Timmins. The ending was accompanied by some movement (see above), a rare occurrence in our performances. Not only did the number go down well with the audience, it won us a cash prize of £100 – to buy more spinach!