The group, led by resident Dot Bailey, were performing for Troop
Aid in a local shopping centre in Northampton when they were
approached by the director of the late Johnny Dankworth and Cleo
Lane theatre in Wavenden, who told them that they were a "selling
commodity". He offered his recording studio to the group at a
discount to record the CD for charity.
Dot said the chance was fantastic. "We had to pay £500 per day
for the technicians and that kind of thing, but it would have cost
£5,000 so we were very lucky. It was quite an experience! It went
very well, and now we're just waiting to see how it sounds."
The choir's first CD, recorded two years ago, sold 310 copies,
and they are hoping to repeat their success. They will sell copies
at their concerts and in the Village.
76-year-old Michael Bray, who is one of the seven men in the
choir, said the recording was a great experience. "We were asked a
few times if we would do a second recording, so the opportunity
came at a great time."
The Valentine Singers have been singing together for seven
years, since before St Crispin Village even opened. For most of
that time, they were accompanied by a pianist, Colin, who passed
away last month. Brenda Macintosh, who introduced Colin to the
group, said that he was greatly missed. "He was so talented, and
had such a great sense of humour too. It's a great loss and it's
very hard to carry on without him."
Dot said that Colin's death has left the group at a crossroads.
"It was quite a blow to lose Colin. We've been very emotional ever
since and we've had our ups and downs. He was fantastic, he could
just hear me singing something and pick it up. He was able to play
in any key we needed, and I'm finding it difficult to find
recordings low enough for us now."
She added that the group were rallying together to cope. "We
really are all best friends, we all live in the Village together,
and everyone here loves it. People never miss a practice and even
if someone has a hospital appointment or something like that,
they'll still come if they can get back in time."
Dot, who is a former singing teacher, said that they started off
with just ten singers and but the numbers have grown. "We can't
really have any more in," she said. "We can't transport any more
from venue to venue. But a lot of people do want to join. One lady
passed away recently and we had to hold auditions for a new
Doreen Bennett is one of the choir's newest members, along
withJanet Stobart, having been successful
at the audition. "I've only been here six months, everyone else has
been here since the start," Doreen said. "But everyone is very
welcoming and they're all very friendly."
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Lucy Henson, PR officer
0789 105 3062