Choir sings for Queen on Jubilee visit

BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT -- the Bestwood Male Voice Choir
BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT -- the Bestwood Male Voice Choir

JUST LIKE the Queen, Bestwood Male Voice Choir is celebrating its diamond jubilee this year.

So it was entirely appropriate that the choir sang for the royal visit to Nottingham this week.

The choir gave a concert — surely the biggest highlight in their long history — for the Queen, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge at Vernon Park, Basford.

The choir’s musical director, Mirek Rus, said: “This was obviously a big occasion and it was a great privilege for us to be involved.”

Vernon Park — on the border of the Dispatch district — has been granted Queen Elizabeth II Field Status, meaning that it will be protected for future generations to enjoy.

The park, which holds green-flag status, has benefited from a new outdoor gym as well as a new boardwalk, planting and sculptures to revitalise the pond area.

During her visit, the Queen unveiled a plaque to mark the park’s new status and this was followed by a programme of sport and musical performances, including the Bestwood choir concert and entertainment by schoolchildren.

Based in Bestwood Village, the choir was founded by a manager of the former Bestwood Colliery, Len Hogg, and performed its first concert in Bestwood Village Hall the following year.

A previous big milestone came ihn 1964 when Bestwood became the first British choir to sing in Cologne Cathedral after World War Two.

The choir, which has more than 70 members, was in fine voice for a programme of nine songs at the Vernon Park ceremony.

There was a Hucknall link when the choir took part in a special programme aired on BBC Radio 2 during the Diamond Jubilee weekend. The finale, ‘We Are Sixty’, was a version of the national anthem recorded by the choir at Central Methodist Church on Baker Street last month.

A major event for the choir’s 60th anniversary will be a gala concert at Nottingham’s Albert Hall on Sunday September 23.

An annual concert held by the choir at Watnall Road Baptist Church, Hucknall, early this year in memory of Mr Hogg proved a big success.

Rehearsals by the choir take place at Bestwood Village Social Club on Tuesdays at 7.30 pm.