Preview: Choirs festival a first for Stanley Park

This Sunday, 1 June, sees a first for Stanley Park Bandstand with the Six Choirs Festival. Tony Brindle-Wills is musical director of Poulton People’s Choir (PPC) and runs a music and events company called Vocal Produce which has put the festival together. He has been involved in church and community music for more than 20 years, primarily as a church organist at various churches in the north of England.  I chatted to him ahead of the event:

What is going on at the Stanley Park Bandstand on 1 June? 

A choir festival day will take place with six community choirs performing. There will also be a guest appearance from the Fylde Ukelele Network (FUN). The choirs vary in size and musical style – including ladies’ barbershop, folk music, choral pop and male voice.  FUN is a relatively new group. Organised by a member of Poulton People’s Choir, Joan Radcliffe, the group is made up of players who are new to the ukelele.

Where did the idea come from? 

I was invited to organise the choir festival day by the Friends of Stanley Park after PPC performed at the bandstand in 2013. The idea of the event is to bring people together through music, and to promote singing in a choir. There are a number of health related benefits to choral singing. Not only do people get a good cardiovascular workout, but their participation can also lead to a positive sense of well being by combating social isolation, providing a sense of purpose and promoting learning a new skill.

Who is taking part? 

  • Blackpool Male Voice Choir: Established 90 years ago, the choir regularly performs at events around the country.
  • Inspire Voices: Established two years ago, the group promotes positive well-being through music.
  • Carleton Community Chorus: Established four years ago, the group is involved in community singing and recently commissioned a choral piece from renowned choral composer Bob Chilcott.
  • Revoe-Lution Choir: Established 12 months ago, the choir has grown in confidence and regularly performs in Blackpool. Its aim is to bring the local community together through music
  • Poulton People’s Choir: Established in 2011, the choir has grown from 48 at their first rehearsal to more than 110 members. The choir regularly performs at community events and weddings across the Fylde.
  • Blackpool Soundwaves: This ladies’ a capella chorus was established more than 30 years ago. A recent recruitment drive has more than doubled its numbers to 40-plus members who sing four-part harmony.

Will this be an annual event? 

Yes, it is hoped that the event will be an annual one.

What if it rains? 

If the weather is bad, the event will take place at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. We will make announcements on Radio Lancashire on the day of the event and people can call me on 07989 423027 if they are unsure about the venue because of the weather. We will also put posters up at the bandstand to inform people of the change of venue if the weather is poor.

The Six Choirs Festival is at Stanley Park Bandstand on Sunday, 1 June from 1pm.


Featured image shows Blackpool Soundwaves and is courtesy of Katy Slade.

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