Canon Tom Kennar, the new president of the Solent Male Voice Choir, is on a crusade to bring musical song and community spirit to the Havant area.
Joining forces with Howard Wilkie, the musical director of the choir, they have moved the 50-year-old choir’s base to St Faith’s Church, Havant, and are looking to grow the choir to support its ambitious 2016 programme, which includes a commitment to sing at Portsmouth Guildhall and the Royal Albert Hall in October.
The season begins on March 19 and the choir aims to use a winning combination of popular music from Elvis Presley to musicals and iconic classics such as The Rose to encourage men in the area to join in.
‘If you enjoy singing, have a sense of humour and a willingness to give it a go, you are invited to join us for a taster on a Tuesday at St Faith’s Church hall,’ said Howard, who lives on the Isle of Wight and criss-crosses the Solent to conduct the choir numerous times a year.
‘The musical repertoire ensures we have something for everyone and having the Bear Hotel next door has given us a handy place to unwind after rehearsals and this in turn is helping to build a better sense of community within the choir.
‘Moving into the Pallant has given us a larger hall with a really resonant acoustic, together with another room. Even more important, it has brought us into the centre of the town, with a good community spirit.’
Canon Tom, Rector of St Faith’s said: ‘Singing is good for the soul and very good for bringing people together and the choir, together with other groups such as the Dynamo Youth Theatre and the Havant orchestras, is helping to create an innovative centre for the community.
‘We look forward to the time when the hall complex is buzzing all day.’
Before that moment arrives, St Faith’s has to find £650,000 to restore the buildings to their 1930s’ glory.
A business plan and a grant will be needed. And then there’s the small matter of the £500,000 needed to give St Faith’s Church a new roof.
However, the parish can have great confidence for the future because its energetic musician rector has rich experience to call on as an organiser with get-it-done flair.
Solent MVC is joined for its first concert at St Faith’s hall on March 19 by Bosmere Junior School Choir and proceeds support the mayor of Havant’s charity appeal.
For more details contact the Solent MVC secretary David Stretton on (023) 9245 3634.