Bure Valley Male Voice Choir has held its final concert following the reluctant decision to disband.

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Age, falling numbers and a lack of musical director and accompanist had driven the Aylsham-based choir to call it a day.

Past members came to sing with the choir and friends and family made up an audience of nearly 100 for the last concert.

Choir members voted for their best-loved songs and rehearsed with returning musical director Ron Sallis.

Also returning was accompanist Barbara Downes, whose wrist problems had forced her to step down from the choir after 30 years of playing the piano, conducting and helping run the choir.

Emotions reached a high point as Barbara led the choir singing Morte Criste which she had conducted for many concerts including a mass event in Ely Cathedral in front of a choir of 300 male voices.

Founder of the choir, Chris Pike, spoke about the early days and some of the characters he remembered and was pleased to re-join the choir for its last concert.

The wives of several members who had passed on were also present to enjoy the occasion and letters were read from some ex-members unable to be there.

Mrs Downes spoke fondly about highlights included singing for a riverside wedding, joining with other choirs in Ely Cathedral, and a long standing singing link with Kings Lynn Male Voice Choir which fostered friendships.

Although the last item on the programme was Matt Monroe’s Softly As I Leave You, the audience demanded encores which were a rousing When the Saints Go Marching In, An American Trilogy and Auld Lang Syne singalong.

The choir has decided to give its remaining funds to Aylsham Care Trust, The Prostate Cancer charity and a charity supporting stroke victims.

The choir also owns 5,000 copies of music and is interested to hear from any organisation or choir which can make use of it. It is made up of many sets of male voice arrangements of a wide variety of music. Contact Mike Downes on 01263 733325 or email mj.bj.downes@live.com.






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