Brighton Male Voice Choir - Logo
BBC-Programme (c1952)

Programme for FRIDAY NIGHT IS MUSIC NIGHT (c. 1952)

A Brief History.

Brighton Male Voice Choir was formed during the years following the depression of 1926. The members then were mainly recruited from the Welsh mining community who came to Brighton to work on the new Sea Defences between Black Rock and Rottingdean.
Records are few but it would appear the choir reformed after the war in 1947, with weekly rehearsals held at Rosslyns Store, in London Rd. Brighton (An old established Drapers now long gone and the present site of what used to be Woolworth's). One of the original members who joined the choir at this time, Bill Verrier, only stopped singing regularly with us at the age of 96, in 2017.
The BMVC was conducted originally by Mr. S. Bartlett, who led the choir through several live appearances at "The Dome" for the BBC radio programme "Friday Night is Music Night." The choir also participated successfully in many musical competitions that were popular at the time, winning several silver trophys.
When Mr. Bartlett retired, his place as musical director was taken by Mr. Henry Garrett and rehearsals moved to Elm Grove Primary School. He was followed by Mr. Brian Wiggins.
In the Seventies Mr. Roger Martin took over and was succeeded in the 1990's, initially by Dick Payne in 1991, and later by Mrs. Maggie Lee.
Maggie introduced a little more modern music as well as cementing some of the more traditional and classical male voice repertoire but, having successfully led the choir for a considerable period, she retired from the role and moved to France in 2007.
She was succeeded by retired Police Officer, Mr. Deryck Hanchett, who had held a similar position with the Brighton Welsh Male Voice Choir for a number of years. Deryck remained with the BMVC until moving away from Brighton in 2013. By this time Maggie Lee had fortunately returned to UK and, once again, took charge as Musical Director until sadly having to resign for domestic reasons, in the new year of 2015.
Our then accompanist, Mr. Andrew Beaizley somehow managed to combine the roles of MD and accompanist for the next 4 years, which included our inaugural, Brighton International Male Choir Festival in October 2017. Andrew also performed a busy role as President, and then Secretary, of The Brighton Organists' Association, playing in several different Churches and at regular organ recitals, but the combined stress of all this prompted him to reduce his comittments, and he resigned from BMVC in the summer of 2018.
Andrew was superceded by Mr Andy Murray, who was Head of Music at our local Longhill High School in the 1980s. At this time Andy also had a top 20 hit, appearing on BBC 'Top Of The Pops', as well as composing soundtracks for ITV cartoon series 'The Telebugs' and other corporate videos. Andy's wide experience led on to county, national and then consultant government roles in music education. Andy introduced a rigorous routine of four-part harmony for the choir which proved popular with members, but he sadly resigned, for personal reasons, after just 9 months.
The choir is currently (July 2019) seeking a new Musical Director to take us into the new year but, meanwhile Andrew Beaizley has very kindly returned to help us through the remainder of our concert season. Like all choirs we are always looking for new members. Rehearsals are held every Wednesday evening at 7.30pm in Woodingdean Methodist Church, The Ridgway, Woodingdean BN2 6PA. The Choir welcome men, 18 and over, who enjoy singing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Ability to read music is not essential and no auditions are held.
In recent years the choir has been subsidised by Brighton & Hove Council; this by means of our successful applications for discretionary grants. The Council appreciate the choir’s voluntary community involvement and fundraising over many years. We were also awarded a £1000 bursary by AMEX Incorporated in 2011.
Brighton Male Voice Choir has raised thousands of pounds for a long list of local and national charities including: Cancer Research UK; MacMillan Cancer Support; The Martlets Hospice; The Chestnut Tree Chikldrens' Hospice; The British Heart Foundation; Help For Heroes; Blind Veterans UK, and Brighton Housing Trust (combatting homelessness in Brighton and Hove).