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A tribute to Arthur Brown from our Musical Director, Steve Lawry

Mousehole Male Voice Choir have lost one of their finest. Arthur Brown joined the choir in 1951 as a fresh faced youngster, and has been a loyal, keen and enthusiastic choir member ever since. The choir honoured him as a Life Member, but sadly his life has run it's course, after a difficult last few months of ill health.

However Arthur will be remembered by all those who have been in the choir with him as a gentleman full of fun, with a witty remark or ribald comment for every occasion! He remained a strong singer to the end, and always gave a warm welcome to new choristers. There are many good stories about Arthur from local events and tours, and it is obvious that he was generally in the thick of the action! He may have calmed down in later years, but the sense of fun and mischief and the twinkle in the eye never left him.

Arthur has always been a great ambassador for the choir amongst visitors to Mousehole, telling them what concerts are coming up, and soliciting support (as well as the occasional pint) from folk who called in the Ship Inn. It has always been apparent that he is beloved by holiday makers, as if he was ever missing from a harbour concert it was amazing how many people would come up at the end to inquire after him!

If he got as much fun out of his 68 years of dedicated service to the choir as he gave to others then Arthur will have had an abundance of joy.

Thank you Arthur. Rest in peace.

Item updated 11/06/19


THE Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir is sad to report the death, three days short of his 94th birthday, of our oldest member, Fred Luckraft - possibly the federation's oldest active cloister. With his rich bass voice he was a fully active member to the last, always first in line - ahead of younger men - to help store equipment after rehearsals.

So it was fitting that the choir paid tribute in Maker Church, on May 17, at a memorial service celebrating his life in the very place where Fred had first discovered his love of singing, having performed there as a choirboy. The following day he had been due to sing in a Maker concert which, with the help of Wadebridge MVC, raised £550 for the iconic bell tower which is in need of repair.

Fred was among the Rame choir's earliest members when it was founded in 1976, and played a significant part in the charitable ethos which was instrumental in them receiving the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service last year. When Cornwall Council honoured the choir with a reception, it was Fred who was charged with accepting a framed parchment on their behalf from the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall.

Fred was no stranger to the notion of service to others, in a range of roles not only remarkable on the basis of longevity. He was simply peerless.

He served for many years as secretary of the Millbrook Permanent Annuity Society, supporting members' widows, and was a member of the Pelican Masonic Lodge. He was the Rame choir almoner, and also, for some three decades, Rame's representative at the Cornish Federation of Male Voice Choirs where his wise and friendly counsel was much valued. He was delighted when nominated by his colleagues to receive the federation honour of the President's Plate.

During his service as federation rep, the choir participated in several concerts, the two most recent of which, at the Royal Albert Hall and in Plymouth, resulted in more than £90,000 being raised by the federation for Cornish charities.

Fred was born in Cawsand on August 25, 1925, into a naval family - his father, George, was in the Royal Navy - and a world where films were silent, the first TV images were yet to be transmitted, and Britain was heading into the Depression with two million unemployed.

The family lived in Garrett Street in a spectacular location overlooking Cawsand Bay, but when he was just five years old, the idyll was shattered when he lost his mum, Gladys. She had gone to nurse the vicar of Maker Church's two-year-old daughter, who was suffering from tuberculosis. The child survived, but Fred's mother contracted the illness, and died.

Fred attended Four Lanes End Junior School and then Hoe Grammar School in Plymouth before studying engineering at Camborne College until the summer of 1945.

Thereafter he served in the Royal Navy, as a radar operator on board the corvette, HMS Jasmine, seeing active service in the Middle East, Burma, and Indian Ocean, before being being demobilised in 1946.

On leaving the service he worked for the South West Electricity Board before studying at St Paul's College in Cheltenham (now the University of Gloucestershire) as a mature student in order to become a teacher. He was a secondary school teacher of maths and technical drawing in Devon and Cornwall for the rest of his working life, retiring at 55. He taught at schools in Liskeard, Callington, and Torpoint, although he continued to do supply teaching thereafter.

He married a Millbrook girl, Dorcas Caroline Jane Austin, in 1952. She predeceased him in July 2005. His younger brother, John, passed away some 10 years ago. Fred is survived by his daughter, June Caroline, granddaughter Emma, grandson Noel (married to Jennie) and great-granddaughter Eva.

Fred was a fine all-round sportsman. He was employed as a lifeguard at Plymouth Hoe swimming pool while on holiday breaks from St Paul's, and he became an instructor/examiner for the Duke of Edinburgh award, which on occasion called for him to go out on rescue missions on Dartmoor.

Fellow choristers recall him as an excellent batsman with Mount Edgcumbe Cricket Club and he was a forward with Plymouth Albion Rugby Club from 1948 - '52. He boxed in the navy, and later became a national schoolboy boxing coach before serving as chairman of the Schools Amateur Boxing Association. For many years he sailed a 23-foot Hurley competitively. They also recall him helping push a borrowed piano the wrong way along a one-way street, then returning it after choir practice!

A man of forthright opinions, which he was not slow to share, he would admit that he might have his faults, "but being wrong is not one of them!"

He and Dorcas took great pleasure in their touring caravan in the late 70's and then later enjoyed a static caravan on The Lizard which Fred continued to use until last year. They very much enjoyed holidays with the family in the USA, and in Portugal, also visiting Tunisia.

He was every inch a local character and was among the subjects whom the noted Whitsand artist, Louise Courtnell, selected for Project Lydos which involved her painting portraits of many of the characters and worthies of the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. It was often assumed that the project's name had some profound classical allusion. In fact, as Louise confided, it stood for: "Lift your drawers or swim," - fishermen's advice regarding toilet facilities!

Fred will surely be an asset to God's choir in the sky where Rame members who have beaten him to it will be in for some earache if they failed to lay in some Pusser's rum for his arrival!

Terry Hodge, Chairman, presents the President's Silver Plate Award 2016
to Fred Luckraft of Rame Peninsula MVC

Fred with the choir's youngest member, Robin Willoughby,
when Cornwall Council presented us with a parchment
to mark Rame having been nominated for the Queen's Award.

Item updated 02/06/19



On Thursday 7th March Burraton Male Choir had their first concert of the year. The concert was held at Saltash Wesley Methodist Church and a most enjoyable evening was had by all. Special guests at the concert was Grace Notes Acapella, a Ladies Acapella Chorus based in Saltash singing four-part harmony in the barbershop style.

The evening was compered by Radio Cornwall's Donna Birrell and Sheila Pender secretary of the Burraton Ladies Committee presented a cheque for £400 to Children's Hospice Southwest.
The evening ended with everyone enjoying a Cornish supper laid on by the Ladies Committee.

Item updated 04/04/19



Photo by John Evans

THE Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir is helping a project to prevent the demise a 13th century bell tower in East Cornwall.
The Maker Ringers, who use the tower for weekly practice, and perform there at services, weddings, funerals, and to celebrate national events, have already contributed £2000 to kick start their "Appeal to keep Maker bells pealing" for generations to come. Fund-raising events are planned and potential grants are being explored.
The Church of St Mary and St Julian at Maker has perched upon the high ground above Mount Edgcumbe for almost 900 years. From its iconic 13th century sandstone tower the bells have called the peninsula's faithful to worship, tolled to signal the death of monarchs, rung in rejoicing at weddings, and marked great historic events since the Napoleonic era.
However, its six bells, cast in 1808 - the heaviest weighing 13cwt - now risk being silenced.
Urgent restoration, to strengthen the belfry floor and repair its roof, will cost an estimated minimum of £20,000. Professional survey is on-going.
The tower's Grade I listing by Historic England speaks of a significance far beyond its status as a landmark on Admiralty charts.
It commands sweeping views of Plymouth Sound and the Hamoaze, and if its stones could talk, might whisper of murder within its walls (a watchman manning the signal station above the belfry, killed for his watch and silver shoe buckles).
Yet much more might have been witnessed from its lofty pinnacles: Barbary pirates enslaving Cornish fishermen; Drake venturing forth against the Armada; the Mayflower setting off for the New World; Hawkins pioneering England's role in the slave trade; Nelson slipping ashore for alleged romantic assignations; French frigates anchored with impunity in Cawsand Bay; Napoleon captive on board Bellerophon; the conclusion of successful global circumnavigations by Drake and Chichester; the blitz of Plymouth, Mount Edgcumbe House in flames, and the nightly wartime anti-aircraft barrage.
Preserving this bell tower, so deeply embedded in local and national history, is of paramount importance to the community.

A coffee morning in Kingsand Institute on Saturday March 30 (10am) is scheduled, and further fund-raising is planned by opening the tower to visitors from 11.00am to 2.30pm on two Bank Holiday weekends:
Easter Sat/Sun/Mon (April 19, 20, 21); and Saturday May 4 and Sunday May 5. Refreshments will be available. Come up and see one of East Cornwall's most splendid views. If you wish to support the appeal, please contact the bell tower captain, John Evans (, or phone 01752 823066.

Submitted by Doug Gillon
Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir

Item updated 04/04/19


Rame Choir and the Derriford Molecular Scanner Appeal

The Plymouth Hospitals Charity Annual Review 2017-2018 contains a piece about the Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir which describes the work Derriford are doing with the technology associated with molecular scanners. Rame MVC - along with many other Cornish choirs - have made great efforts to collect a lot of money for this worthy cause.

If anyone would like to donate to this worth while cause, please contact Rame Choir direct.

Submitted by Graham Hoare
Webmaster for Rame Peninsula Male Voice Choir

Item updated 12/02/19


Camborne Music Festival 2018

St Stythians MVC were delighted to finish joint second in the Advanced Male Voice Choir section of the Camborne Music Festival last Saturday. In an extremely strong section, which boasted The Celtic Male Ensemble (winners), Holman Climax MVC and Kerrier MC, St Stythians rose to the occasion scoring 86;85 and 87 with their three pieces. The highest score being achieved by The River of Life, an original piece composed by Gareth Churcher and words by Bob Willmott (a top tenor with the choir).
The adjudicator, Marilynne Davies, BA; Med; LRAM; PGCA; FRSA, gave detailed and informed comments on all the choirs' pieces, with a touch of wry humour.

If you feel that you would enjoy spending time with a very social group of people who enjoy singing and raising money for charity then why not join us.
Our practice night takes place every Tuesday night (7:45-9:30) in the schoolroom at Stithians Methodist Church, where there is plenty of parking (TR3 7AN).
Please check the choir website for further details; or follow us on Facebook.
You could also contact: Secretary: Jackie Dunstan 01872 553276; Chairman: John Houldsworth 01326 250744 or any other choir member.

Annual Dinner and Presentation Night 2018

St Stythians Male Voice Choir celebrated their annual dinner at the Penmorvah Manor Hotel last Friday (23rd November).
Over 70 choristers and friends enjoyed an excellent meal and were entertained by Akoustek. Karen Hurn and Barbara Martyn were the choir's guests of honour. Karen regaled her audience with humorous anecdotes from her musical past.
A prodigious fund raiser, Karen has used her "gift of singing" to raise approaching £200,000 for charity. Chairperson, John Houldsworth, then thanked Karen, the staff of the Penmorvah and J C Williams (Helston), the choir's main sponsor.
Long service awards were then presented to Mark Curnow for 10 years; John Musgrave, Mike Paddon, Glyn Pettifer, David Wilkin and Chris Dunstan for 20 years.
Chris was also presented with a certificate from the Cornwall Federation of Male Voice Choirs in recognition of 50 years' service, which included membership of other Cornish choirs.
Flowers were then presented to Lynda Jones (Ladies committee) and Karen Hurn, as well as a special presentation to Jackie Dunstan for her efficient work as choir secretary.
Once the formalities were completed, it was time to relax and socialise whilst listening to the smooth music of Akoustek.

Garnet Martin's Table

John Houldsworth making a presentation to Chris Dunstan

John Houldsworth making a presentation to Mark Curnow

Karen Hurn, Kathryn Downing and Barbara Martin

Ken and Kathryn Downing's Table

Ken Downing making presentation to Jackie Dunstan

Ken Downing presenting flowers to Karen Hurn

Ken Tregove's Table

Reports by John Houldsworth

Item updated 04/08/18


Building a Modern Choir

Picture of Russell with the new men

In 2016, City of Truro Male Choir appointed Russell Pascoe to be their Music Director. Since his arrival and due much to his recruiting prowess, the Choir has gained over twenty new members of all ages and is going from strength to strength.

Russell was born in Cornwall and educated at Helston School and Bristol University, where he studied composition with Derek Bourgeois. In 1987 he founded the Cornwall Youth Chamber Choir and was awarded the Gorsedd prize. He also worked with the Cornwall Male Voice Choir, Duchy Opera and ran five school based choirs including the popular 'Cousin Jacks' choir for boys at Richard Lander School in Truro.

As a composer, Russell has had his music performed from Finland to Mexico and has produced music in most genres; opera, orchestral, chamber and choral. He has taught composition for the South West Music School and in 2000 was nominated as one of Classic FM's Music Teachers of the Year. He was runner-up in the South West Teacher of the Year 2004 and was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd in 2000.

Since his appointment as Music Director for Truro's Male Voice Choir, Russell has led the choir in numerous concerts throughout Cornwall, including the Cornwall Music Festival, where the choir were awarded a Distinction.

Russell says. 'As a proud Cornishman, it is a great honour to conduct City of Truro Male Choir ­ a choir in the heart of Cornwall. It is a great opportunity forge a community of singers and to let them enjoy singing in concerts and purely for fun in pubs! It is fantastic that we have been able to engage so many new members of varied ages'.

The choir practices at All Saints Church, Highertown, Truro on Thursday nights at 7.30PM. They offer a friendly and supportive environment in which to enjoy singing. Our website and Facebook page show us in action.

Report by Harry Haward
Publicity Officer for Truro Male Choir

Item updated 04/08/18


Below is a very intersting article sent by Linda and Tom Jones after a visit to London.

On a recent visit to London, we discovered an interesting fact about Burlington House, home of the Royal Academy: Burlington House cornices have something surprising and special about them!

The main (north) building of what is now Burlington House in London’s Piccadilly was built as a private residence in the early 1700s. East and west wings were subsequently added, and it was eventually sold to the British government in 1854 for £140,000. It was renovated by the architect Sydney Smirke RA who replaced the east and west wings with larger structures, but left the main building largely intact. The main building was then leased to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1868.

During the renovation process, complex moulded cornices were fitted to ceilings in the main galleries. Fragments of these cornices were on show at a recent exhibition in the RA. The first photograph shows what appears to be a typically complex cornice - fit for a palace. However, the second photograph shows its edge profile which is a beautiful replica of … a map of Cornwall!

As explained in the exhibition, the “cornices can still be read as abstract objects. But to those who recognise the shape of their profile, they appear as architectural elements with a specific meaning that connects to personal myths and biographies: a trip to the seaside, childhood holiday or simply part of everyday life.”

'Cornice viewed from front'

'Cornice viewed in profile'

Item updated 29/01/17


Please find below an email sent to Penny. I wonder if anybodoy can assist, if so please email Eric Harris direct

For years now I've been trying to track down a recording of this Songs of Praise from Truro cathedral in 1992, my VHS went haywire and I have a very poor quality tape.I have a good recording of the later Songs of Praise, but in my view it's not a patch on the earlier one. Is a similar event planned for 2017 ?

I realise this was a BBC event but I wondered if recordings still exist and are available to buy. Many thanks in anticipation.

Eric Harris

Item updated 01/01/17

by Jeff Campbell of Tamar Valley MVC

Men of Song, written by Jeff Campbell, sets out the history of British male voice singing; it is a book likely to be be of great interest to male voice choristers and fans of choral singing around the UK.

Jeff Campbell has dedicated his time to researching his book, a subject about which he is passionate. He also decided he would like this project to be a means of helping his 11 year old granddaughter, Skye Campbell, who suffers from Down's Syndrome together with some serious health complications including a heart condition. Skye attends the Bidwell Brook School, a special school which Jeff states does wonderful work with the children. He intends to give any proceeds from the sale of his book to a fund to assist his granddaughter's future.

The paperback contains 344 pages with full colour pictures. It is available now from Jeff direct priced £11 this includes post and packaging or Ebay priced £12, both can be payed for by using PayPal. For further details please contact Jeff on 01548 831559 or email to

Item updated on 13/11/2016


A new Song Book has been compiled by members of Nankersey Male Choir. The Song Book contains 51 well known songs and hymns and is intended to be used on informal occasions (possibly with a pint in hand!) whenever choir members get together for a sing song outside of concert "conditions". It is also intended to act as an aide memoire for those who find themselves at a loss to join in because the words are either unknown or temporarily forgotten! Thanks to everyone who has helped in the compilation.

We are pricing the Song Book competitively at £2.50 only and this must represent good value as it is handily sized for placing in a jacket pocket and the cover is laminated for durability. The Song Book is dedicated to Nankersey's 12 founder members and a photograph of those worthy gentlemen appears in the book.

Choir members within the Federation qualify for this bargain price provided the song book(s) can be delivered by hand (at a Federation meeting for instance) or song books may be obtained for £3.50 by post. Anyone who is interested in obtaining a copy or copies should please get in touch with Fred Bidgood, tel: 01326 373984;

Sent by Fred Bidgood, Nankersey MC


Neil Shepherd, MD of "Laudate!" and also a qualified travel agent and tour operator has kindly offered suggestions and advice to choirs planning tours.

This item first posted June 2009 and retained for reference. Click on the link below.


2 June 2019 - Stephen Ley