Late Christmas concert brings early year cheer

Christmas may have come and gone but Basingstoke Hospital Male Voice Choir (BHMVC) proved that some things are worth waiting for as they put on their delayed festive concert.

An outbreak of Norovirus in Basingstoke hospital meant the original concert had to be postponed from December - but the show finally went on this week as BHMVC entertained and delighted their audience who came along to the performance in the hospital restaurant, where the choir regularly rehearse on Wednesday nights.

There may have been an absence of Christmas songs - it is February after all - but the rearranged running order still delivered a musical feast, despite the lack of festive flavour.

Under the leadership of musical director Dai Ogborn and deputy musical director Steve Busby, the choir performed a wide-ranging repetoire, which included songs from musicals, films, and even one song sung in Welsh - much to the particular delight of the handful of Welsh speakers in the audience.

Mark Jones, paid tribute to BHMVC's invaluable contribution to the charity's campaign to raise £5million which will fund supportive care and services, complementary therapies, and an enhanced environment in a NHS cancer treatment centre at Basingstoke hospital.

"The choir are fabulous supporters of Ark, and they have been involved in events that have collectively raised well over £100,000 for the charity," said Mark. "Not only have they helped to raise funds, but they have also raised much greater awareness of Ark's campaign to help and support cancer patients and their loved ones."

The free-to-attend concert saw refreshments provided for the supportive audience, and many people made donations to Ark, mainly by buying BHMVC's new CD 'Angels Watching Over Me'. Proceeds from the sale of the 18-track CD, which is dedicated to the memory of Hazel Gray, the popular Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust lead infection and control nurse and late wife of BHMVC singer David Gray, are going towards Ark's fundraising campaign.

The CD, which showcases the versatility and talent of the choir, is a live recorded concert that took place at St John's Church, Alresford. It was recorded, edited and mastered by BHMVC accompanist Paul Wright. Paul, his wife Marilyn, and BHMVC member Dave Daley designed the sleeve, and the CD features photography by Marie Jones and BHMVC member Peter Ball.

Picture caption: BHMVC members performing under the leadership of musical director Dai Ogborn in the staff restaurant area at Basingstoke hospital