Judith’s 43 years at choir helm

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AHEAD of a recruitment evening for singers, on Wednesday 20th September, the founder director of Alcester Male Voice Choir speaks to Herald Arts about the choir’s early beginnings and receiving a British Empire Medal.

Welsh-born Judith Land came to the Midlands to teach music, when she light heartedly opened out a map, closed her eyes, moved her hand in a circle and where she pointed was her destination.

Judith met her husband, got married, had two daughters Kathryn and Emma, and settled in Redditch. As well as teaching in Redditch, she was head of music at Alcester Grammar School, arranging many additional music activities, including a choir.

In 1974, following a successful concert, the male section of her mixed choir asked to continue their evening of singing. Membership to the choir extended to community and became known as Alcester Male Voice Choir.

Speaking of the choir’s success, Judith said: “We started with eight, and we are up to 80 plus at the moment. It’s grown and it’s been hard work but it really is so enjoyable.

“I heard a rumour back in June, that if you wanted to move into Alcester, first of all you had to be a part of Alcester Male Voice Choir.”

She said that people who have never been to any of the concerts before do not know what to expect: “People often leave the concerts in tears, as they find them so emotional, but they are also very happy with the music they have heard.”

Since 1997, Judith has been artistic director for the Festival of Remembrance in Alcester, and a member of the Association of British Choral Conductors since it was formed.

Judith was awarded a Fellowship by the Royal Society of Arts in 1999, and in 2014, she was recognised for her dedication to the choir, when she was awarded with the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List.

She said: “It was a privilege to receive the British Empire Medal. My husband Neville came with me to receive the award, which was presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire.”

Judith, who has a five-year-old grandson Louie, added: “I just love encouraging people to take part, as well as combining it with charity work. The choir is definitely my passion.

“Anyone who is interested in singing and would like to come along, can see what the choir is all about. We are a large choir and all work together as a team to create a balanced sound. All I really ask is commitment to concerts and rehearsals.”

A recruitment open evening is being held at the Jubilee Centre, in St Faith’s Road, Alcester, on Wednesday 20th September, at 7.30pm. For more information call Judith on 07886 139781.