Mousehole Male Voice Choir at The Kings Arms, Paul
Turned up at Paul and went to the church where Mousehole Male Voice Choir rehearse. We sat in the porch and listened to the wonderful harmonies only a combination of male voices can produce. We went to the pub across the road – Kings Arms, before the choir came over which they do the every Monday night but particularly the first Monday of every month, and found it almost empty. On the bar were rows of empty glasses waiting to be filled with beer for the singers.
We sat with some of the women from the ladies committee including my great friend Kath Matthews who was our link to the choir. She told me about many older men she knew who sang years ago at The Engine in Nancledra
The men started to arrive and I felt anxious that they would not be too happy having us there clicking cameras and recording the songs but we were welcomed by all.
The atmosphere grew as they sang, into something happy and warm. I was told that nearly everyone has their own nickname typical of a group that have really got to know one another
Although there were few others joining in there was still the informality of a shout – no written words, no conductor, pints of beer and laughter and jokes about the songs which were a mixture of the well-known as well as some beautiful hymns. A subset of the choir – Buccas 4sang a couple of gorgeous close harmony ‘party pieces’ too. One song, the Sailors Chorus, was commissioned for the choir by Morvah; the landlady. She’d heard a few of them singing it and asked the choir to do it. She paid for the manuscripts and now they sing it there every time! Not surprisingly this is a real ale pub and also has no piped or recorded music, only live music including jazz and bluegrass.
Several people spoke of how important the social singing is for the choir both for recruiting new singers and for the camaraderie of the choir themselves. Stephen Lawry, their MD felt that he wouldn’t want to choose between the concerts and the pub singing – they were entwined. And so, I felt, is their relationship with the pub.
This was a great first ‘official’ visit of our project and I’m looking forward to many more over the summer.
Click here for Kings Arms
Click here to see the Male Voice Choir on Mousehole Quay singing Sailors chorus and Calm is the sea