IT’S time to sing loudly and proudly about the history of Haydock Male Voice Choir as the organisation enters its 100th year after marking its 99th birthday with a special concert.

The choir delighted an audience at Haydock Conservative Club with the celebratory event earlier this year.

The concert was held 99 years to the day that a letter was distributed to houses in the Haydock area inviting men to attend an inaugural rehearsal for a male voice choir.

Four days after the letter was issued, over twenty men convened at the Conservative Club in Haydock and the Haydock Male Voice Choir was born.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

The choir kicked off proceedings at the celebratory event with a rousing performance of How Great Thou Art, followed by the melodic and enchanting And Can It Be?

A little later in the show, the choir gave a beautiful performance of How Soon, an exquisite, wistful song, which was preceded by a moving speech by compere John Peet, who dedicated the song to the people of Ukraine while urging the audience to remember loved ones and friends lost, particularly in recent times.

St Helens Star: The choir in full voice credit: Richard LeeThe choir in full voice credit: Richard Lee

The audience were treated to a veritable feast of songs, including a breezy and delightful version of New York, New York, the defiant and stirring We Rise Again, a song very apt in light of recent events, and a jaunty rendition of the celebrated and oft-sung When the Saints Go Marching In.

Each performance was sublime, each song sung with gusto.

During the concert, the choir was briefly joined onstage by a number of past members while former conductor Gary Hill took the helm for one song.

It was an evening of remembrance as much as it was of celebration with the choir remembering Derek Fordham, a member of the choir’s barbershop quartet section, who sadly passed away in April 2020.

In a wonderfully fitting tribute, a barbershop quartet comprising Jimmy Stewart, Dennis Anderton, John Greenall and conductor Dan Craddock gave a splendid and energetic performance of Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, one of Derek’s favourite songs.

It received a tumultuous round of applause.

This was in appreciation of the superb performance of course, but was also a nod to Derek Fordham and testimony to his standing within the Haydock Male Voice Choir family. A popular, respected and much-loved gentleman dearly missed by family and friends alike.

Mike Danvers, committee chairman, paid tribute to Derek, describing him as having been instrumental in the choir, particularly in relation to its social activities, and a pivotal member of the barbershop quartet.

“Derek’s contribution has been celebrated tonight by the barbershop quartet re-forming and singing one of his favourite songs,” he said.

“Derek made a wonderful contribution and I wanted to remember him as a key member of the choir,” he added.

With celebrations having begun in earnest, the choir has several other concerts planned in the run-up to its centenary year next year.

As the choir looks forward to celebrating its hundredth year, Mike stressed the importance of planning for beyond the celebrations, specifically in terms of recruiting new members.

“As well as celebrating what we’re doing now, we’re really keen to attract as many new members as we can,” he said.

He urged those who may be interested in joining the choir to take the plunge.

“Come and join us and have a sing and learn a new song, and hopefully join the choir,” he added.

On a night of celebration, remembrance and sheer enjoyment, the feeling was one of optimism and confidence for the future of the choir.

Here’s to the next 99 years.


Special concerts and how to join the choir


As the choir enters its centenary it plans to continue to build on its reputation, and in the spring and early summer there are two concerts that will both take place within its hometown. 

The first is a joint concert involving Haydock Male Voice Choir and City of Newport Male Choir from South Wales.

The event will take place on Saturday, May 28 at the United Reform Church in the middle of town, beginning at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at £8. 

St Helens Star: Daniel CraddockDaniel Craddock

Two weeks later on Saturday, June 11 the choir will be singing in concert at St Mark’s Church Haydock, again beginning at 7.30pm. Tickets for this event will cost £5.

Tickets for one or both events can be purchased from 07890023563

A spokesperson for the choir said: “These events will include music to suit a wide variety of tastes, and we do hope that as many people from St Helens and further afield will be with us for one or both of what should be very enjoyable evenings.

“The choir is also actively recruiting for new members.

“Men of any age are welcome to get in touch to find out more.

“Currently we are running a six week singing course [one evening per week for six weeks] for which seven potential members have already enrolled.

“Should you be interested in joining us then please contact or on 077312565.

“To get a glimpse of what the choir is about please feel free to visit us at and/or and/or YOUTUBE

“We very much look forward to seeing you over the coming weeks and months helping us to celebrate our 100th year!”