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and 'the experience of a lifetime'!

The 85 strong Trelawny Male Choir recently returned from their very successful tour of Singapore and New Zealand led by their excellent Musical Team, Elaine Tangye (Musical Director), Elizabeth Sidebotham (Piano & Accordian), and Philip Taylor (Organ and Piano). The choir was made up of choristers from various male voice choirs throughout Cornwall. Those represented were Imerys Egnineers, Launceston, Liskerret, Loveney, Marazion, Mevagissey, Mousehole, Nankersey, Newquay, Pelynt, Rame, Tintagel, Treverva and Truro City.

The first tour performance was given at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore. This was a magnificent venue and was attended by a very large appreciative audience including our 166 supporters. The hosts for this concert were the Methodist School of Music. Guests of honour included Dr V Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, HE Paul Madden, British High Commissioner and his wife Sarah. We were also delighted to have the support of Lady Terrye Teverson at our concert who was visiting Singapore at the time.

Arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand, the tour was met by an enthusiastic group of St Piran flag waving members of the New Zealand Cornish Association, who were responsible for organising the first concert on New Zealand soil at the Durham Street Methodist Church. At this concert letters were read from The Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, stating how pleased he was to know of the valuable work the Trelawny Male Choir and the New Zealand Cornish Association were doing to preserve Cornwall’s unique musical heritage by promoting it overseas. He sent his good wishes to both organisations. This was a truly Cornish event and at the reception afterwards choristers and supporters alike were being asked for details of people from “back home”. This was to be a common theme throughout the tour.

Moving on from Christchurch to Nelson, by the stunning Transcoastal Train, the tour party was met by members of The Nelson Male Voice Choir, who hosted a social evening where a number of the party were able to try their hand at traditional Maori dancing. A joint concert was held at Nelson Boys School the following evening.

Crossing the beautiful Marlborough Sound by the Interisland Ferry the tour arrived on the North Island at Wellington. Joined one evening by the Wellington Male Voice Choir an impromptu evening of singing was enjoyed by all at the hotel. Wellington also provided time for some sightseeing including such places as the Parliament building, Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the breathtaking views of the City from the summit of Mount Victoria.

Travelling northwards the six coaches skirted the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake before arriving at Rotorua. Rotorua is considered to be the centre for activity holidays in New Zealand and during free time members of the party were able to take part in a number of activities. These included skydiving, white-water rafting and helicopter flights over a volcano. The party attended a traditional Maori Marae (meeting ground) where they witnessed a Maori welcome ceremony and were shown examples of the ancient culture of the Maori people.

A day trip to Hamilton was then enjoyed, where the choir gave a concert at St Paul’s Collegiate School arranged by the Fairfield Rotary Club of Hamilton in aid of the local hospice. The following day the Choir performed a concert at the Rotorua Boys’ High School, which is twinned with Penair School of Truro. Ex-pupils Anna and Hayley Tangye made a presentation to the Principal, Chris Grinter, on behalf of Penair. The Choir then experienced what can only be described as the awesome sight, and sound, of the whole school rising as one and performing the Haka, the Maori challenge in response to the Choir’s rendition of ‘Trelawny’. The Principal said that the Haka was their way of saying “Proper Job!”

The party’s final destination was the sprawling City of Auckland. Their hotel was situated at the base of the Sky Tower, the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere at 328 metres and it was from here that Mark Jones, one of the supporters, performed a Sky Jump raising £650 in sponsorship from the tour party for the Children’s Hospice South West.

The Rotary Club of Papakura hosted the next concert. The Choir had the honour of performing at the interesting Karaka Bloodstock Centre. Again a full house and another local hospice benefited from the proceeds.

The Choir’s final concert was a little different and held at the Forum North Performance, Conference & Exhibition Centre in Whangarei. The hosts for this concert were the Whangarei District Brass Band. Members of the Trelawny Choir and Supporters who play with Cornish bands were invited to bring their mouthpieces (and drumsticks) with them and augment the band on this occasion. Presentations were made on behalf of Lanner & District Silver Band and St Stythians Band in appreciation of taking part. Once again a sell out audience were treated to a memorable and very emotional final performance before heading homewards.

The Trelawny Male Choir was given plaques from the Chairman of Cornwall County Council, Mrs Doris Ansari, for presentation to the organisers of each concert who were also presented with a commemorative plaque from the Trelawny Male Choir. Chorister, Dennis Julian, presented banners on behalf of Liskeard-Looe Rotary Club to the Rotary Clubs hosting the concerts in Hamilton and Papakura.

This was certainly an experience of a lifetime for all 254 travellers. Many of them were able to meet old friends and relatives, make new friends and achieve the stated aim of the Trelawny Male Choir, namely to promote Cornish music and singing to the widest possible audience.

A CD of the Choir's songs has been professionally recorded and was enthusiastically received at the various concert locations. Copies of this CD can be obtained by contacting (01872) 865755.

The Trelawny Male Choir Committee wishes to thank their Tour Operator, Anzcro UK for their co-operation on such a successful and enjoyable tour.

Report posted 4 December 2007.

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