About Us/Repertoire

ENROL – EXPERIENCE – ENJOY

Carlton Male Voice Choir is an outstanding choir of lower voices led by Musical Director Ian Watts producing quality, entertaining performances of all types. We are committed to ensuring everyone can access our performances and feel included. Our performances range from festivals and car shows to concert halls, parks and public spaces to Minsters and Cathedrals often for deserving charity causes and sometimes with guests choirs and artists. We are not affiliated with any religious organisation.

The choir performs a large and varied ‘progressive’ repertoire carefully selected to suit a wide variety of tastes to satisfy our flexible concert performance requirement. We can do this well, both formally and informally when required, we don’t wear blazers, but instead perform in modern cut suits or smart/casual attire. We are not a religious affiliated organisation and are ‘secular’ although we do sing some religious pieces of music. The choir renews its repertoire constantly with new and exciting music for lower voices, rejuvenating and improving its sound. Of course, as a male voice choir we traditionally sing the odd hymn, but we endeavour to remain absolutely relevant and our current repertoire, which can be seen below, contains all types of music from classical to jazz, pop to opera, we also commission our very own music by local composers; you can see we are certainly not just hymns singers! We were recently described as “the future of male voice singing”, see our review page to see what others think of the choir.

We perform around 30 times per year in the Nottinghamshire region including two main concerts; one at Nottingham’s fine classical venue The Albert Hall and another Christmas Festival at the Bonington Theatre in Arnold. Additionally, the choir tours each year visiting places all across Europe and the UK. We host visiting choirs to Nottingham including the world famous Treorchy Male Choir in 2022 and promote other guest artists. The choir is a registered charity itself (No. 516024) and often performs for excellent charitable causes, it is well supported by our sponsors and holds its very own Music Competition “The Music Makers” promoting exceptional young musical talent from the East Midlands area.

The choir has a strong and energetic elected committee that manages its day-to-day workings and a passionate, robust and capable Music Team including Musical Director Ian Watts, Assistant Musical Director Andrew Atkinson, Principal Accompanist Roger Holland and Deputy Accompanists Philip Miles and John Sellers.

We are committed to being equally open to all with a lower voice register and endeavour to treat everyone fairly and equally. With a membership of around 60 singings of all ages from 20 upwards and sexual orientations the choir attracts new members regularly, safeguarding its future as the current custodians of the choir and ensuring its ongoing longevity as a priority. We aim to reflect the community around us and all are therefore welcome equally. The choir has four sections: First Tenor, Second Tenor, Baritone and Bass (TTBB). All members are auditioned after a period of time with the choir and will have the opportunity to expand their musical knowledge and develop their voice.

We pride ourselves on performing at a high quality level consistently, continually challenging our own standards with professional management that embrace change, being supportive and inclusive to singers from all walks of life and backgrounds whilst thriving on a solid social culture. Our choristers are continually offered individual music development, be it individual musical theory improvement or voice training. This choir is about having fun, enjoying our singing, growing in confidence and improving ourselves individually both in our learning of new musical skills and the challenging of our performance abilities.

The choir is proud to be one of the only choirs in the region with an official record deal. It has a number of albums on sale on digital streaming platforms and one of our recordings reached number 67 in the iTunes digital charts! We also often appear live and recorded on local media channels.

Please visit our Join Us Information Page to join our wonderful choir and be part of something very special.

The choir is registered charity No. 516024

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CONCERT REPERTOIRE 2024

ABERYSTWYTH – a stunning arrangement of Joseph Parry’s beautiful tune with lyrics by Charles Wesley, arranged for lower voices by Alwyn Humphreys. The piece is in the key of G Minor and is incredibly powerful with its luscious phrasing and intense dynamics.

AFRICAN TRILOGY – feel the rhythms and energy of a three song medley of South African music arranged by Gwyn Arch sung with gusto and passion – Siyahamba – Shosholoza – National anthem of South Africa. One of our soloist leads the choir.

ALWAY SOMETHING SINGS – A challenging contemporary classical piece by American Composer Dan Forrest stating that not only in the old or young, fair or foul but in everything around us something is always singing! Featuring a beautiful ‘antiphonal’ part sung by the soloist from a different area within the performance space when possible. One of two pieces sung by this brilliant composer.

ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE – Words and music by Python and comedian Eric Idle, arranged for male voices by Mac Huff. This brilliant piece of genius by Idle works fabulously in concerts both formal and informal and shows we can let our hair down. Our soloists act out the parts beautifully and with its singalong and whistle along chorus which is sure to bring a smile to your face!

AND CAN IT BE? – a fabulous new piece of music written by American composer Dan Forrest using Charles Wesleys famous hymn lyrics. The lyrics are usually sung to the lively and loud hymn tune Sagina but here, Dan Forrest quietens down the sentiment and removes the homophonic element to bring a new sense of awe to Wesleys words asking if it can be that one should gain from sacrifice. This piece with our MD’s rubato interpretation has become a firm favourite of CMVC and is sung regularly in concerts where it has both impressed and even brought audience members to tears with its immense passion.

BLACKBIRD – A 2 part lower voice arrangement of Sir Paul McCartneys 1968 Beatle song from The White Album. The song was inspired by racial problems in the USA in the mid 60’s, particularly around the troubles shown on the news which was watched by a young McCartney of two girls being taunted on their way to school, the writer met the two girls now in their latter years many years later. A simple, but extraordinary piece of music which works perfectly for our wonderful choir.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – Carlton MVC were the first male choir to sing this arrangement of Freddie Mercury’s brilliant operatic hit song from Queen’s 1975 album ‘A Night at the Opera”. The choir enjoy performing this and bring alive the theatrics of this piece with its immense dynamics and surprising introduction. A wonderful song that fits brilliantly into any set list.

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER – The genius that is Paul Simon shines through our rendition of this brilliant ballad with it’s gospel piano accompaniment and gorgeous harmonies. Arranged for MVC by Alan Simmons.

CWM RHONDDA – the tune to a famous Welsh hymn ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah who’s name means ‘Rhondda Valley’. Perfomed with English words by William Williams and music by John Hughes written to consecrate the pipe organ in a little chapel in Hopkinstown in the Rhondda Valleys. We hope that our choir does this massive piece justice and we even add a little bit of Welsh lyric as a nod towards the end!

DEEP HARMONY – this little hymn written by Handel Parker has long become Carlton’s warm up anthem but rarely makes it into a concert.

DIVINE BRAMAH – a stirring operatic chorus piece by Georges Bizet from the opera The Pearl Fishers.

FROM FAR ACROSS THE SHRINE – The duet from The Pearl Fishers’ Opera by Georges Bizet, this massive operatic piece is sure to thrill with its duet of brothers leading the choir chorus. The piece revolves around the love triangle of Zurga who is the leader of the fishing village, his old friend Nadir and the priestess Liela. During the piece they pledge to never let their friendship be threatened again. Our soloists for this piece range from Geoff Brooks and Colin Baird to John Sellers and John Duffy.

GOOD VIBRATIONS – This mid 60’s hit song from the summer of love by Brian Wilson and Mike Love of The Beach Boys lends itself wonderfully to male voice singing although it is incredibly difficult to perform and feature lots of falsetto tenor range singing.

GWAHODDIAD – a piece by Lewis Hartsough arranged by John Tudor Davies for Male Voice Choirs, the piece is a real beauty with lyrics that say ‘I am coming’ and to wash me in Thy blood as I enter your kingdom.

GWINLLAN A RODDWYD (THIS LAND OF MINE) – a rousing piece of  patriotic music for the choir composed by Caradog Williams. The piece raises the call for protecting your own land in order to pass onto to future generations and is highly rousing and staring. A slight nod to the Welsh origins of this pieces is presented antiphonally in Welsh during the opening as a solo, but then the choir performs the piece in English.

HEART OF GOLD – this new piece for the choir written by Neil Young has quickly become a favourite for the singers and audiences with its catchy refrain and mid sections that show off the choirs vowel tone production.

HELP ME RHONDA – this bouncy piece written by Beach Boys Brain Wilson and Mike Love as an attempt to fend off the British Musical Invasion can lift any concert with thoughts of the summer and perhaps even surfing for those more daring!

HOMEWARD BOUND – This serene folk/gospel-like tune opens and closes with two soloists and features the choir singing ‘ppp’ – extremely quiet and whisper like and talks about someone bound to the plough and pasture dreaming of returning to their love again.

I GET AROUND – a bouncy early Beach Boys classic penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love which includes handclaps from the choir, some mock American accents and a short and sharp impact ending – make sure you bring your surfboard to the concerts!

IN MY ROOM – A beautiful barbershop style a cappella close harmony piece by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys hinting at issues the composer was about to face in successive years after composing this. He describes the dark room where he can go when his worries and cares become too much and where he can tell his secrets.

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU – A modern song from the band McFly where the choir sing this all out unapologetic and upbeat love song with syncopated rhythms.

I WILL BE A CHILD OF PEACE – a beautiful arrangement of a gorgeous old Shaker Song by Elaine Hagenberg, this beautiful melody with its unusual metre was chosen due to a future performance with Northampton Male Voice Choir. When we learnt that they would be taking on this piece we decided to join them and learn it too. It is hoped that we can perform the piece together when the two choirs meet.

LET IT BE ME – a standard for the choir, often brought out to entertain in concerts and often sung in the pub afterwards! This French lullaby was written by Gilbert Becaud and made famous by The Everley Brothers in 1957.

MORTE CRISTE – Carlton MVC love performing this well known male voice piece written specifically for lower voices by Emrys Jones to Issac Watts’ infamous lyrics of the passion tide ‘When I Survey The Wondrous Cross’.

OUR HOUSE – A rare choir piece that features our bass section, enjoy the relaxed melody of the song from Graham Nash with its lazy tongue in cheek ‘la la la’ middle section.

PERFECT – a piece perfect for a wedding written by the great Ed Sheehan, sung a cappella by the choir in its 6/8 timing and celebrates finding the perfect partner in love.

RHYTHM OF LIFE – inspired by singing the piece live when standing in with Sandiacre Male Voice Choir our MD chose this piece for Carlton feeling that we can give it something new and exciting in our approach. This version of the 1966 Broadway song from Sweet Charity is arranged by Richard Barnes and is ultra-quick in it’s vocal delivery and a powerful ending. The piece also features dual piano accompaniment when the opportunity is available.

SEAL LULLABY – a beautiful but challenging contemporary choral piece by Eric Whitacre that sounds of waves rolling.

SKYFALL – The title of the main theme song from the James Bond film of the same name released in 2012 and written and performed by Adele and her composing partner Paul Epworth for the movie. Our version is arranged for lower voices by Dorian Kelly. The lyrics can be summed up as: when things go wrong we all should stand tall together.

SONG OF THE PHOENIX – a beautiful brand new commissioned piece for lower voices composed in late 2022 for Ian Watts and Carlton MVC by composer David Machell and charts the rise of the phoenix from the flames, much the same as the choir emerging renewed and invigorated from the pandemic!

SPEED YOUR JOURNEY (CHORUS OF THE HEBREW SLAVES) – this impressive piece by Giuseppe Verdi from the Opera ‘Nabucco’ highlights the ability of Carlton Male Voice Choir to deliver a song in style. Its opening piano section sets the scene for choral wonder that follows as the choir gently sing the chorus of the slaves as it gradually and steadily rises to its glorious climax as they ask for courage, the piece finally dyeing away to a whisper as the slaves ‘endure to the last’.

SURE ON THIS SHINING NIGHT – a stunning work composed by Morten Lauridsen arranged in this instance for TTBB lower voices. The music is written around a poem by James Agee which is written from the perspective of an older man walking outside on a summer night, reflecting back on his life. This reflection at the end of the man’s life encompasses the idea that even through the darkest times in life there is still kindness in the world. This piece is one of the composers most famous choral works which is sure to be an audience pleaser and a choir favourite.

THE FLOWER THAT SHATTERED THE STONE – a contemporary piece made famous by John Denver. Our delivery features an opening top tenor solo followed by passionate four part harmony and outstanding dynamics.

THE SLOOP JOHN B – a traditional Bahamas Folk Song with a calypso feel made famous by the Beach Boys on their smash album Pet Sounds. The song is based around the traditional story of a ship called the Sloop John B and describes the goings on aboard with various crew members and the need to go home! This piece can also be performed a cappella at the pub.

THE WATER OF TYNE – a Roud folk song no. 1364 which hails from the North East of England, using typical slang from the area and talks about a relationship of love split apart by the Tyne river. Micheal Neaum has provided this lovely arrangement for TTBB lower Voices with celebrates the legato/smooth singing style with each part of the choir having an important part to play in the polyphony.

THE WONDER OF YOU – written by Baker Knight and arranged for MVC by Alwyn Humphreys this piece always works well for Carlton MVC. An Elvis Presley classic of course, which we like to dedicate to our partners!

THEY CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME – the choir takes on a bit of swung jazz with this new piece from Ira and George Gershwin. Feel the intimacy of the jazz clubs as the choir sings the song about the memory of a one night stand! Includes some incredible brass like sforzandos and even has well timed movement from the choir as they swing.

TOM JONES! – A threesome of hits from the big Welsh Man from Pontypridd; It’s not Unusual, Green Grass of Home and Delilah all strung together in one great big, fabulous and entertaining medley.

TWO FOLK SONGS FOR MALE VOICES – John Rutter, the contemporary classical and choral composer arranges these two very different old English folk songs specifically for lower voices. The first piece is DOWN BY THE SALLY GARDENS which tells the story of lovers walking under the willow trees, the man takes things too quickly upsetting his love interest. The second piece is THE MILLER OF DEE and takes the form of a story about a miller told from the perspective a group of young men who are enjoying a drink together. The piece has sublime accompaniment so it’s no wonder it was introduced to the choir by our Principle Accompanist.

VIVA LA VIDA – the Coldplay classic hit sung ala Male Voice Choir; a brand new piece for Carlton learnt during 2022 for the 70th anniversary of our friends at Bestwood Male Voice Choir, with its rousing chorus, syncopated rhythms and singalong final chorus which draws to a gentle conclusion. The piece works well as a concert opener or encore.

WIE SCHON BIST DU – a beautiful piece for male voice from the Romantic era by Schubert sung a cappella in German with the translation ‘how beautiful you are’.

WOODEN HEART – a fabulous concert opener, the choir enjoy walking through and amongst the audience as they perform this Elvis classic arranged by Alwyn Humphreys. The song, based upon a German Folk Tune was performed by Elvis Presley in the 1960 film ‘G.I. Blues’.

YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE – the most famous Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the show ‘Carousel’ made even more famous by Mersey Beat Liverpudlians ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ in the 1960’s. Our version features a baritone solo backed by the choir and is arranged by Alwyn Humphreys.

CHRISTMAS REPERTOIRE

A BABE WAS BORN – A lovely locally written piece.

A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS – is a medley of delightful Christmas favourites arranged for lower voices with intricacy around a stunning accompaniment. We hear the choir sing Jingle Bells with intense dynamics into a smooth Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas into Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! over White Christmas, finally returning to a briskly paced Jingle Bells in waltz time to finish off. See if you can spot the hint of O Come All Ye Faithful and Deck the Hall within the piano accompaniment too!

ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH – with a long Gloria!

BOARS HEAD CAROL – A traditional piece performed in 4 part harmony.

CAROL OF THE DRUM – A song about a drummer boy who joined the procession to Bethlehem.

CHRIST CHILD IN THE MANGER – a piece by Kenneth Rothery, adapted by Malcolm Fairless for four part lower voices. This piece brings us directly to the nativity scene of the Christ Child in a place where he could ‘lay his head’ when no other place was available, surrounded by angels who sing of ‘peace on earth’. The song surmises that at this time nobody could have guessed the importance of this baby. The song features Carlton MVC’s basses as they plod playfully like a double bass through the final verse.

DECK THE HALL – our rendition of this traditional welsh carol works equally well opening a set as it does closing it. Its rising bright and quick piano introduction allows the choir to literally burst into song as it enters and sings out the lovely Christmas call ‘Fa la la la la!” as the piano runs away beneath us with gusto. A woozy middle section with a key change brings the pace down for a short while before arranger Alan Simmons changes the key once more into the final rousing chorus.

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? – A beautiful Christmas piece with answering phrases.

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN – an outstanding piece which is tricky in nature to carry off.

LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH – a cracking piece wishing for an ideal world.

MARY’S BOY CHILD – the Bonny M classic arranged for choir. This version highlights the vocal talents of a soloist with the choir humming gently underneath and then answering in a vocal swell.

MASTERS IN THIS HALL – a lesser known but majestic carol. The carol was written around 1860 by the French composer Marin Marais and formed part of his opera ‘Alcyone’ a story based upon Greek Mythology. English lyrics were written independently but around the same time as the music by the English poet William Morris (pictured) and are said to be sixteenth century in feel; bringing warning to “the proud” of news brought from over the seas that Christ was born and that nobody should be sad on Christmas Day or the proud will be “cast a-down”.

MISTLETOE & WINE – a bit of Cliff Richard.

O HOLY NIGHT! – the UK’s most favoured Christmas carol ever, sung delightfully by our own tenor Terry Grey with understudy Andrew Moffatt standing by. This arrangement is to be savoured and not rushed and the power of the choir must be impactful and astounding when the lyrics demand but yet diminishing to a whisper when we hear the words ‘Christ is born’. The power of this piece is accentuated superbly when sung by lower voices.

QUEM PASTORES – the famous melody in 3/4 is decorated with lovely piano accompaniment and a beautiful and soft choral delivery of the lyrics “Shepherds worship and adore him, lay their humble gifts before him”.

RISE UP SHEPHERD AND FOLLER – this little spiritual in the Dorian Mode is underlaid by the baritones and basses rising up and down in thirds whilst our tenors provide the traditional melody. It tracks the shepherds as they are encouraged by the angels to follow or ‘folder’ the star in the East, the choir (of course) takes the voice of the angels.

SAVIOUR’S DAY – a bit more of Cliff Richard

SCHNEEWALZER – a romp of a piece where the audience have as much involvement as the choir.

SEE AMID THE WINTER’S SNOW – A traditional carol performed ala male voice choir.

SILVER BELLS – a song composed by  Jay Livingston and Ray Evans and made famous by Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, the song is in four parts and imitates the muffled bell across the choir.

SUSSEX CAROL (ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT) – a joyful 6/8 traditional carol in the feel of two beats, the lyrics describes Christians singing on the news of the holy birth. This piece employs a beautifully flowing accompaniment of fast right hand movement over chords and verse 3 counterpoints two melodies and lyrics together with sheer delight.

TE LAUDAMUS – the story of Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem.

THE CHRISTMAS SONG (CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE)

THE STAR CAROL – A wonderful piece to perform at the Christmas season.

THE VERY BEST TIME OF YEAR – a relaxed, smooth piece with luscious and intricate harmonies by John Rutter (arranged by Alwyn Humphreys) who is synonymous for his Christmas repertoire. The song sets the visual scenes that make up this ‘very best’ time of year – Christmas!

WHEN A CHILD IS BORN – Alan Simmons’ arrangement of this famous Christmas song by Zacar/Fred Jay provides the wonder of the season although it never mentions the baby Jesus it hints massively at the story of Christmas.

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