Tribute to founder starts choir’s diamond jubilee

Len Hogg
Len Hogg

THIS annual concert by the Bestwood choir in memory of much-loved founder Len Hogg has now become an eagerly-awaited event.

MUSIC — Len Hogg Memorial Concert, Bestwood Male Voice Choir, Watnall Road Baptist Church, Hucknall

The latest renewal marked the start of a very special year for the choir, during which it is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its formation.

Fifty-seven members took part in the concert and were in fine voice. On a bitterly cold night, the choir treated the large audience to a heartwarming programme.

The first two items exemplified the wide range of the choir’s repertoire. These were the ever-popular ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, ‘South Pacific’, and the much less familiar but haunting number, ‘Waters Of Time’.

There was also a marked contrast in two bass solos during the first half. Adrian Griffiths sang the poignant ‘Where Is The Life That Late I Led?’ from ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and David Riley weighed in with a heartrending song about a tragedy at sea.

After the interval, David teamed up with tenor Colin Pursglove for a moving duet, ‘Panis Angelicus’. Colin also sang a solo, the passionate ‘My Heart And I’, and was soloist for the stirring ‘African Trilogy’ finale.

For the first few items, Hilary Griffiths deputised as piano accompanist for Glenys Skidmore, who was celebrating her birthday. When Glenys arrived, the choir added an extra item to their programme — a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Mirek Rus conducted the choir and the MC was John Pritchard, whose jokes have become a familiar feature of the choir’s concerts. Proceeds from the event were for Hucknall’s Under One Roof centre, which supports voluntary work in the town.

A busy year of engagements lies ahead for the choir, culminating in a special concert at Nottingham Albert Hall on Sunday September 23.

The choir was formed very soon after Len Hogg arrived at Bestwood as manager of the village colliery in the autumn of 1952. Its first concert was at Bestwood Village Hall in November 1953.

Over the years the choir has achieved numerous successes at musical festivals and performed with some of Britain’s finest choirs as well as regimental and brass bands, raising thousands of pounds for local and national charities.

Overseas travel has included memorable visits to Malta, Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Holland and Poland.

DR