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Choirs aim to get city singing

By Alison Norton | Theatre & Comedy | Published:

Community choirs are so popular across the country at the moment and I have to say, they are a great way of getting into performing without the pressure of auditioning if you are someone who has little or no experience.

Anthem Voices Youth Choir from Wednesfield

I also think that for those of us whose days on stage are numbered, it is a great way of still being involved in singing too.

With this in mind, Anthem Youth and Anthem Voices who are community choirs based in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton are the perfect option.

With two big concerts a year plus numerous other local appearances, the choirs aim to get the city of Wolverhampton singing, with sessions covering music from all types of genres. The choirs are now in their third year with over 70 members between the two.

Choir leader Elise Evans said, “On April 16, Anthem Youth Choir will take to the stage with the biggest musical theatre band in the world, the famous Collabro! We were chosen from lots of choirs across the country, and are looking forward to singing some musical favourites with Collabro at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. A very exciting and rewarding experience for our talented youth singers!”

Elise continued, “As well as giving people the chance to take part in our exciting performances, we are also keen to develop local talent. Therefore, on May 12, we will be welcoming the awesome West End Star, Kieran Brown, who has played in Phantom of The Opera, Les Misérables, Wicked and Barricade Boys, for an Into the Woods workshop.”

At this event, Kieran will be working on songs and the script from the successful Sondheim musical.

Places are limited and can be booked via anthemvoices@hotmail.com, but please note the minimum age is 12 years old.

Moving on, some of you will recall the very sad passing of local Am Dram star Mitchell Bastable last August.

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Friends and family of this likeable, talented chap are raising funds in his memory for The Stroke Association and are holding a festival event called, appropriately, Mitchfest 19 on April 19, from 7pm – 1am at Brierley Hill Civic Hall. Doors open at 6.30pm I imagine that Mitchell would have absolutely loved having a festival named after him.

Mitchell was the front man of local band Got the T-Shirt, who together with a host of guest vocalists, will be playing together again, sadly without him of course, but are fully intent on doing their whole back catalogue!

For good measure, Mitchell’s theatre friends will also be performing and it promises to be a really fun evening and rather than a traditional memorial, a full-on, in your face show, with excerpts from All Shook Up, Sister Act, The Greatest Showman, The Witches of Eastwick, Grease and Copa Cabana to name but a few.

With comedy impressionist and Britain’s Got Talent contestant, Paul Burling, at the helm it should be amazing! And not only that, you can win Dinner at the Ritz, Tickets to a West End Show, football tickets and many, many more prizes in a raffle on the evening.

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For tickets priced at £10 standing and £12 balcony seating, visit www.seaty.co.uk/mitchfest and remember all proceeds go to The Stroke Association, so dig deep and support the event please.

Dudley Choral Society, a mixed choir of around thirty singers, will present their spring concert at St. Mark’s Church in Pensnett on April 13, commencing at 7.30pm.

One special piece the choir are including is Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a highly dynamic and exciting work with accompaniment by organ, harp and percussion.

In complete contrast, the programme will also include Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, with its smooth melodies and harmonies.

The concert includes the talents of professional soloists from the UK and Germany to complete an evening of entertaining, uplifting music.

For tickets, please call 01384 259250 or simply buy on the door on the night. They are just £8 each.

At Sutton Arts Theatre from April 25 – May 4, you can catch a production of The Gin Game, the two-person, two-act play by Donald L. Coburn.

Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, two elderly residents at a nursing home, strike up an acquaintance. Neither seems to have any other friends and soon they start to enjoy each other’s company. Weller offers to teach Fonsia how to play gin rummy and they begin playing a series of games that Fonsia always wins. Weller’s inability to win a single hand becomes increasingly frustrating to him, while Fonsia becomes increasingly confident.

While playing their games of gin, they engage in lengthy conversations about their families and their lives in the outside world. Gradually, each conversation becomes a battle, much like the ongoing gin games, as each player tries to expose the other’s weaknesses, to belittle the other’s life, and to humiliate the other thoroughly.

Amusing and thought-provoking, The Gin Game is a classic American drama.

For tickets priced at £5 each, visit http://www.suttonartstheatre.co.uk or call 0121 355 5355.

Finally this week, many congratulations to Lichfield Musical Youth Theatre, who have won no less than three awards at the inaugural Love Midlands Theatre Awards!

For their 2018 productions, this talented group won Best Youth Theatre production for Les Misérables, Best Director, the wonderful Julie Mallaband for the same show and finally the Rising Star Award went to Adam Pritchard for his performances as Jean Valjean.

This weekend sees the NODA West Midlands Awards. My home company, South Staffs MTC has been nominated for the Best Musical in District 7, along with fellow performers Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company for their production of In the Heights and Bilston Operatic Company for The Full Monty. Three great shows, so whoever wins will be worthy of the award.

Good luck to everyone else nominated in the various districts and categories too and let me know the results!

Well, that’s all for this week. Please send all your news and good quality colour photos to me at a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Twitter @AlisonNorton

Break a leg!

Alison Norton

By Alison Norton
@AlisonNorton

Theatre critic and unofficial 'am dram queen' for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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