New Members Always Welcome
Get involved with Ballyclare...
Join a male choir with a great history and a terrific future!
Do you enjoy music and what's more do you like singing?
The choir is continuously in search of prospective new members and although it would be an advantage, you don't have to be able to read music. You would be helped to learn the music in other ways including in-house digital recordings available on CD's or in a file format downloaded to your smart phone, tablet or PC.
It doesn't matter if you have never sung in a choir before. If you're feeling a bit apprehensive about being out of your comfort zone, just come along, bring a friend for moral support and listen to the singing, or join in if you feel like it.
Should you wish to continue with the choir, you will be placed in the section best suited to your vocal range. Soon you could be making and being supported by new friends, singing from a wide genre of music and experiencing the satisfaction of performing in public at our concerts and other musical venues.
You will find that Ballyclare is a progressive choir with many goals and ambitions still to be realised. New tours at home and abroad are already being considered along with many applications for concerts and church services.
Why not join us and exercise your vocal chords and lungs at rehearsal on Wednesday evenings at 7:30pm in Ballyclare High School from September to May. There are three ways to get in touch with the choir. Feel free to contact any member that you may know or telephone secretary Hubert Greer 028 9332 3696. But why not use the Contact Us page on this website..
Just read what some enthusiastic choir members have to say about their time in the choir.
David Hewett a golfing enthusiast writes
I like listening to classical music, older popular songs and choral music. I had never sung in a choir before joining BMC, thirty-one years ago. Hearing the choir at a church service, I was invited to a very friendly and welcoming rehearsal. After this I was hooked. I took up the challenge quite easily, especially with scores of voices singing around me. My keenness to learn has definitely improved my sight reading, vocal range, vocal quality and musical appreciation. I was never much good at learning poetry and our conductor does present us with a good mix of musical styles and challenging pieces. However I'm able to keep up with the expanding repertoire, and getting familiar with new verse is so much easier when sung to music. The annual trip is always very enjoyable and well organised. We are warmly welcomed wherever we go. In fact my whole time with BMC has been a most delightful experience.
Derek Boyd a Bio-Organic Chemist
I am fond of jazz, light classical and listening to Sunday Club on Radio Ulster. I have sung in two church choirs before joining BMC about ten years ago. I enjoy choral singing in public. I also feel that my vocal range and reading of music have improved since joining the choir. Learning new music was difficult initially, but now has become very satisfying. I find that executing the conductor's directions and tuning or blending my voice to other sections has extended my singing ability. I find that meeting up with our singing team at regular rehearsals is very uplifting, despite sometimes having earlier been through an arduous day.
Trevor Forsthye is a Civil Servant
I believe I have a wide and varied taste in music. I enjoy some disco music and particularly like northern soul. I also like some reincarnations of 80s and 90s music. I have always enjoyed music and started very young, singing in my church choir as an alto. When my voice broke, I moved on to singing bass. I decided to join BMC after my dad asked me to come along to an open rehearsal. This captured me and I realised that I was able to make a valuable contribution to the overall musical sound. I have been a member for about ten years and value first-rate choral singing in public as the pinnacle of musical achievement. Public performances, although sometimes stressful, are most enjoyable and you get to go to places like backstage at theatres, churches, football grounds.
Learning new music is a gratifying challenge. This year, one of our new pieces was Frank Sinatra's 'My Way'. Although I'd heard it several times, I had never taken the time to learn it properly. Now I think I could probably give it a good go in a karaoke bar. The choir has also taught me to listen carefully to those around me to make sure that my harmony blends with the sounds I hear. It might not be what is written on the score, but to me it harmonises in my mind. BMC stretches my ability to remember words and music. It stretches my capability in supporting the music team and the choir. It is very rewarding to entertain an audience, who have come out to listen to and be enthralled by the choir's performance.
John Patterson is a Dairy Farmer
At home I listen to a wide range of genres from Pop, Classical, Country, Sacred Bluegrass and Male Choral. I have been singing in my church choir for about six years, alongside Billy Rea of BMC. Both he and my wife encouraged me to join, knowing I would enjoy it.
As I gained confidence in public choral singing, this has proved to be a most rewarding experience. I cannot say that it has been all plain sailing. Learning the words of a large repertoire can be daunting at first, but this is achieved gradually and is manageable. Not long after joining and in an effort to rebalance the choir, a few members were asked to move section. I found myself learning new harmonies of the first bass. Although this was difficult for a while, with the support of many baritones around me, I have now tuned my ear to the new part.
Remembering the words of new music can be taxing however, although I do not read music,I find learning new music relatively easy. I incessantly listen at home to sectional recordings the choir produces and other choir CDs. It is very satisfying when I reach performance standard in a new piece. I thoroughly enjoy performing at many different venues and delivering a musical ministry in many different churches. I look forward to every rehearsal and engagement of the choir, often with a little trepidation, but when the men gather and the music starts, it all melts into a wonderful experience.
Trevor Greenwood is a Past President of National Association of Head Teachers
My taste in music is made up of popular songs of the 50s and 60s, Irish and American folk songs, songs from musical shows. Having little prior singing experience, I am now proud to be part of a dynamic and professionally run choir. I am with BMC some three years and find it satisfying and enjoyable, especially at performances. Since joining I have been transferred from first bass to first tenor and my singing voice has improved, as has my ability to follow a musical score. Learning new music does stretch my capability but it is made easier by the talented singers around me. This support and camaraderie extends beyond rehearsals to many public venues and annual singing trips away.
Cesar Navarro a native of Venezuela
Music is part of my daily life, whether it's radio, CD, Youtube or my Ipod, I'm always listening. I like pop, rock, rat pack, ballads, classical, jazz, bossanova, and salsa. My recent favourite artists are Rihanna, Banana Republic and Bruno Mars but also I love the Beatles, Queen, Rush, Police, Supertramp, Depeche Mode and Foo Fighters. I should also mention Sinatra, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Bubble, il Volo, Ruben Blades and Celia Cruz.
I've been singing in my church choir for more than five years and been with Ballyclare for two and a half years. Joining BMC wasn't an easy decision. A friend of mine who sings in the choir invited me to give it a try. At the beginning I was totally lost; the words, the music and remembering the harmony in a song when the melody is so much easier. The amazing sound of the choir and the accompanying piano is a treat and something that does not happen overnight. I thought that if I wanted to be part of this fantastic sound, I needed to work hard and practise. The director helps a lot. It is about following his instructions and constantly looking for hints and guidance. Then slowly, as I attended rehearsals, memorised and practised at home, I felt more in tune and enjoyed the sound.
Choral singing in public could be intimidating yes, but you're in a choir and, with a little help from your friends, you are not alone. The more you practise, the more prepared you are for singing in public. Then the performance is more about following the director, feeling the music and the emotions that come with it, anticipating that difficult note and fundamentally feeling the positive energy of the choir, which is something I cannot fully describe. It is thrilling and enjoyable but it is not an easy road. If I do my homework, the process is quite manageable and less stressful.
Since joining BMC my singing voice has improved. I have more control. It's less about blasting out and more about feeling the music, the words and the corresponding emotions. Sometimes it is about whispering as well. Some new pieces are quite difficult to learn but practise is the key to making it all very enjoyable. BMC does stretch my capability. I feel more confident and think I can now sing better. I can even sing at home outside the shower without risking a shoe thrown at me or a bite from my cat. I'm miles away from calling myself a musician but the choir has also helped me read music better. I also play Latin percussion (bongos, congas, bell, maracas, Cajun and clave); a somewhat different style from choral music. BMC provides great craic, smiles, jokes, camaraderie, charity work and great support in being part of a wonderful singing community.
© 2015 Ballyclare Male Choir