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New voices wanted for 125-year-old Nelson choir
A MALE voice choir which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year is in urgent need of new members, or could face closure.
The Nelson Arion Male Voice Choir has seen membership nearly half since 2001, from 80 to just above 40.
And secretary Ken Hollas said that while the situation was not yet ‘hopeless’, the choir needed an influx of younger members.
He said: “It is difficult but not hopeless at the moment. However the longer it goes on the older we all get without people coming, the harder it will be.
“It would be a terrible shame to see 125 years of history end.
“The situation is the same in many adult choirs and particularly male voice choirs, they are all finding that recruitment is a problem.
“Children’s choirs and youth choirs seem to be fine, but these youngsters go away to university and often don’t return to their home towns, and you lose the transition between youth choirs and adult choirs.”
The choir is well known for its success in festivals and competitions, which included winning the Llangollen International Eisteddfod a record five times.
But Mr Hollas said they could no longer enter because of dwindling numbers.
He said: “Entering festivals and competitions is not an option anymore because of a lack of numbers. That was one of our strengths, but we can’t do that anymore sadly.”
Mr Hollas said numbers were dwindling because of a change in society: “It takes a time commitment to join a choir with the rehearsals and things like that, years ago it was the social highlight of the week but things have changed and moved on.
“It is still a great experience if people commit to it though, and it is a great feeling to perform at a good concert.
“This area has always had strong choirs and they have been part of the fabric of the area, and it would be a shame if that was to wither away.”
Anyone interested in joining can call Ken on 01282 421994.