The Way Forward?

Like many male voice choirs, Holman-Climax has seen a steady decline over a number of years in both traditional venues and audiences. In considering this problem, the choir firstly concluded it would not abandon its roots and would continue to take engagements in the places it has always done such as churches and chapels. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of generations of tradition.

Were there, then, any changes the choir could implement that might halt the decline? The first thought was an obvious one – to work with young people. Holman Climax is extremely fortunate in having Angela Renshaw, an MD whose day job does just that – encouraging boys and young men to sing. Her success in that area with boys’ and youth choirs is too extensive and too well known to document in detail here. Valuable though that work is, there was an awareness that this, in itself, would not be the salvation of male choirs. Young men marry, have families and lead lives so hectic that joining a choir is precluded for most. Like many of us, they might join a choir when families have grown and flown but that result would take many years to come to fruition – longer, perhaps, than some choirs could survive!

Holman Climax MVC has thought long and hard about how to broaden our appeal and has decided on an approach that could run in tandem with our traditional role. On a number of occasions during the year – four as it currently stands but with more preferred – we choose a night, other than a Sunday, and radically change the nature of our programme and the way it is presented to include young artists, vocal and instrumental, as guests, to make community singing (NOT HYMNS) a focal point of the evening, to invite choir members with a talent for entertainment, other than singing, to contribute, and still present a package of male voice arrangements. Further, the evenings are be free of charge and each member of the audience is given a pasty and a cup of tea.

In the past 18 months, Holman Climax MVC has presented 5 such evenings with young guests ranging from a 12 year old piano virtuoso to a wonderful Cornish soprano embarking on a Masters Degree and a professional career. The first night was such a success that people were turned away and subsequent sessions had to be extended to 2 nights – all to capacity audiences – whose enthusiasm had to be seen to be believed. They liked the variety, they liked the young guests and they loved the change from passive listening to active participation – they could sing themselves! What, though, of the financial cost of putting on such a venture? There was none, as buckets on the door covered costs adequately.

The next 2 evenings are planned for Friday 22nd June and Friday 29th June 2012 at Camborne School at 7.15 pm

Guests for the 22nd will be the wonderful young men’s group “Cousin Jacks” from Richard Lander School and local young singer, Lisa Thomas. Guests on the 29th will be a young Cornish tenor and soprano, Matt Eva and Maria, who will sing songs from popular shows and musicals and local instrumentalists, the Macquarrie brothers from Kehelland. Both evenings will also hear the choir in all its glory, and there will be Cornish humour in the form of dialect stories and the ever popular sing song involving the audience – plus, of course, the pasty and cup of tea. It is all free though you are invited to make a donation on leaving if you enjoyed the evening.

Booking is essential as there are usually capacity audiences by contacting David Oates by phone on 01209 716559 (don’t leave a message as the phone provider is currently unreliable) or by e-mail to (the best option). Given that there will be different guests on each night you are welcome to attend both presentations – though some of the content will be repeated.

PLEASE NOTE: Holman-Climax will be in France from 4th – 10th June so it will not be possible to confirm bookings during that period.

Come along and give it a try – you might be surprised at how much you enjoy it!