In an internet age filled with the distractions of iPhones and iPads, musical director Stephen Bell is the first to admit that singing is often not the first inclination of many young men.
But Stephen, who leads the Northampton Male Voice Choir, has grand plans to change all that.
Targeting young men primarily, he is currently setting up a new choir which is set to be called Northampton Men Allowed. The aim is to give the new group six weeks to practise some choral pieces and perform in a concert alongside Kettering singer, Faryl Smith.
When the six weeks are over it is hoped the new choir’s members may want to join the Northampton Male Voice Choir, a group which Stephen plans to double in membership in the next five years.
He explained: “The simple reason we are doing this is I think there are not enough opportunities for younger men to sing together. They tend to be put off joining established male voice choirs as it can seem too big a leap going from not singing at all to singing in a male voice choir. The challenge is to come to sing for six weeks.
“The idea is that this new choir will sing on stage in just six weeks and they get the experience of standing on stage and performing. My hope is that people will want to carry on.”
The final concert for the new choir will feature performances by Faryl Smith as well as the Bournemouth Male Voice Choir and Northampton Male Voice Choir. Held at the Cripps Theatre at Northampton School For Boys on October 12, the programme will include music ranging from songs by Queen to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and proceeds will go towards Help For Heroes.
Stephen plans to make the exercise of forming a ‘six-week’ choir something that happens on an annual basis.
He said: “We are in an age of instant gratification, we are in an internet age of iPhones and I think people are less inclined to put the work in with arts, culture or sport; perhaps people think they can get instant results. This is something people will never experience on the internet, you can’t perform on stage, online in the way we are proposing to do it.”
Anyone interested in joining Northampton Men Allowed can go along to Northampton Saints Rugby Club for an introductory session on Thursday, August 15 at 7.30pm. Members should be over 18. For more information about the background to the choir, see www.facebook.com/northamptonmenallowed