OUR MUSICAL DIRECTOR

DRK1Dave King is our founder, musical director, arranger and inspiration.
Born and raised in rural Kent, Dave started secondary school with these words of advice from his father ringing in his ears: “Don’t join the choir!” Needless to say, Dave ignored his dad and has been involved in choral singing ever since.
After he graduated from university and started work, David became involved in barbershop music, took singing lessons and sang with a number of classical choirs and chamber groups. Soon he was helping to improve the vocal skills of others, and rapidly gained a reputation as a singing coach.
Next came invitations to judge at musical festivals, including the annual conventions of the British Association of Barbershop Singers, the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen and the Manchester Amateur Choral Competition.
Meanwhile, Dave has continued to practice his other great love and talent – arranging music. He has arranged many songs, mainly for a cappella groups and choirs. The Monday Mondays sound is entirely his – he arranges almost every song we sing, all in four- or five-part harmony.
Dave is married to Barbara (who sings with the altos); they have two children and two grandchildren.

DAVE SAYS: “We started the Monday Mondays because a mixed a cappella contemporary choir seemed an exciting idea, and I hoped to have enough knowledge and experience to get it off the ground. Five years, nearly 40 singers, 30 songs and lots of shows later, it’s going pretty well and has been an utter joy!”

 

OUR COMPERES

 

Richard B2With a Monday Mondays show you don’t just get great singing and brilliant songs, you Alan final get unique presentation too …

Our “Silver Prop Meisters” Richard and Alan bring sardonic wit, smooth charm and occasional surprises to every performance (well, they surprise the choir!)

Their ‘off the wall” observations and the physical props they use to enhance certain songs are the products of minds released from years of institutional discipline, following their retirement from careers as guardians of our safety and security.

That’s their excuse anyway …

 

OUR SINGERS

kevinDroylsden born and bred, Kevin Siddall (bass) has been singing since early childhood, and learned the guitar as a teenager. He attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where he met his wife-to-be Joy, who sings with the sopranos. They have two children, whose pleas to Mum and Dad to stop singing fall mostly on deaf ears, and an aging Labrador called Pebble, whose silence is taken as praise.

Kevin works for the NHS, delivering course for leaders and managers in the Blood and Transplant team, having worked for Tameside Council for 27 years previously. Along with Joy, Kevin is also involved in musical theatre, where they often duet together, as they do with the choir with Kevin on ukulele!

KEVIN SAYS: “So many reasons why I enjoy being in the Mondays Mondays. The arrangements are exquisite, the standard of singing and attention to quality is staggering, and the whole thing is a privilege to be part of.”

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lawrenceHailing from New Moston in Manchester, Lawrence Shoebridge (tenor) has been involved in choral singing and amateur operatics for many years, and also plays in his church brass band. Away from music he enjoys DIY and walking.

Married with two children, Lawrence is semi-retired and spends much of his time caring for his daughter, who has learning difficulties. Early in 2017 he will celebrating first time grand-fatherhood. We await the photos!

LAWRENCE SAYS: “I love the richness of the harmonies that the Monday Mondays achieve, and it’s great to share the joy that everyone has in performing”

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A Yorkshire lass, Charlotte Decorte (alto) was born in Bradford but escaped at an early age and has lived most of her life in Stockport. Her earliest singing performance was in a high school production of Mary Poppins, where she was promptly renamed after her character – Bert!

Later on she entered the world of ladies’ barbershop singing, performing with choirs and quartets on both sides of the Pennines for over 25 years, winning two gold medals along the way with the Liberty Belles and the White Rosettes. She has also sung with Stockport’s Maia Choir and has recently joined Manchester’s Inspirational Voices.

Married with two step-daughters, Charlotte took (very) early retirement from a career with HMRC and now spends her non-singing time gardening, socialising, walking, reading and trying to befriend the family cat! She enjoys travelling with her husband, on the road in their 1976 Triumph Stag and on the water in their borrowed narrowboat.

Charlotte says: “I was delighted to be accepted into the Mondays. Rehearsals are fun, David’s arrangements are a real pleasure to sing and it’s so lovely to be in the midst of the choir when we sing to an audience!”

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Originally from Cheadle Hulme and now living in Droylsden, Joy Siddall (Soprano) has sung since being a young girl – taking part in choirs, concert parties and operatic societies – and is still happily exercising the vocals at 50 something!

Joy and her husband Kevin (who sings bass with The Mondays) have been married for 30 years and have two grown up children living in Manchester.

By day Joy works as a bursar at a local primary school, and in her spare time she loves walking her black labrador, Pebble, playing the piano, doing puzzles and going to the theatre.

Joy says: “I’m so glad I joined the Monday Mondays because the a cappella sound allows every harmony to be heard clearly and the resulting sound is very special. It’s great fun too!”

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Dave & SaraOne of several married couples among our ranks are Dave (tenor) and Sara (soprano) now live in Manchester and work as teachers, Sara at a primary school in Bolton and Dave at a secondary Pupil Referral Unit.

Sara studied singing at Birmingham Conservatoire and has sung in several choirs from an early age. While Dave made a later start, he now also sings with Bolton’s top Cottontown Chorus. Together, they form one half of a quartet who often perform as part of the Mondays’ show.

Away from the vocal side, both are avid Scrabble fans and are devoted to the family cats Ninja and Simba. Dave enjoys sports and cycling around Manchester, and, as befits a redhead, he’s a dab hand at making carrot and orange soup!

Sara and Dave say: “We love the social and fun aspect of singing with the Mondays. We feel quite blessed to be singing with such talented and lovely people.”

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Ev 040316A Liverpudlian by birth, Ev Speak (Alto) lived in Coventry and Poole before settling in Stockport. She spent 40 years teaching Primary schoolchildren in Tameside and is now retired apart from occasional supply teaching. Married with two adult children, she enjoys looking after her ‘grand-cat’ while waiting for grandchildren to arrive.

Like many members of the choir, Ev has always loved singing and being part of choirs. Her musical talents extend to piano and guitar, and she also earning the mandolin, ukulele and her Dad’s banjo! Her other hobbies are reading, drawing and painting, and she likes to get involved with church matters and a local school lunchtime club.

EV SAYS : “The Mondays give me the opportunity to belong to something really creative. Being part of a choir is a great way to be a little cog in a lovely machine that, thanks to David, makes such a beautiful noise.”

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Barbara MA Manchester lass through and through, Barbara Mather (mezzo) now lives in Mossley and once spent two years living on a canal boat, which she describes as “an amazingly romantic experience.”

Barbara has enjoyed a long career as a nurse, including spent time on surgical wards involving open heart surgery, and currently works part time as an Occupational Health Nurse Advisor at the University of Manchester.

She has a busy family life with two granddaughters and three sons, and helps out in the special needs community, where one of her sons receives support. To relax, apart form singing she loves to go dancing and enjoys quizzing.

Barbara says: “I’ve always enjoyed singing, but never had enough time as my career filled every minute. Joining the Monday Mondays was my first time in a choir and it’s been a very positive and valuable experience, enabling me to relax and de-stress.”

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Ian Firth (bass) hails from Gee Cross and has lived in Romiley for over 40 years. A retirIan Firthed engineer who specialised in designing and installing industrial steam boiler plants, Ian is a 4-times gold medal winner in Barbershop competitions with Bolton’s Cottontown Chorus. He also enjoys quartet singing with local group the Four Pops. Ian was a keen sportsman in earlier days and still plays golf – when he’s not busy grandparenting!

IAN SAYS: “Being a member of Monday Monday has been a revelation and I really enjoy the camaraderie. David’s arrangements are challenging yet most enjoyable to perform, and seem to be greatly appreciated by wide ranging audiences.”

 

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Alwyn 1015

Alwyn Shawcross (soprano) started singing at 12 and has never really stopped! She won numerous festivals with Blackpool Girls and Ladies Choirs and eventually turned her talents to conducting school choirs. Alwyn retired as Head of Music at the high school where we taught and when she’s not hitting the high notes with the Mondays she loves working with art & design, as well as volunteering with MacMillans Cancer Support. With two children, two grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren her greatest pleasure is making twice-yearly trips to the USA to visit the family.

Alwyn says: “I love everyone’s enthusiasm and the beautiful music that is achieved with the Monday Mondays.”

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Audret & Alan jpg

Audrey Fleming (alto) and Alan Penny (bass) are original members of the choir, both having arrived via the barbershop singing world. Audrey is a recent medal winner with The Crystal Chords ladies’ chorus and Alan has also sung with mixed a cappella group Just Midnight.

Hailing from Chorlton and Aberdeen respectively and now living in Heaton Chapel, Audrey and Alan have been partners for 20 years. Between them have six children and ten grandchildren! Both now happily retired, Audrey was previously involved in office work and running a small business, while Alan spent 30 years in the Army and a further 8 years working for national charities.

Their musical talents include piano and guitar, and together they enjoy walking, badminton and holidays. Both are actively involved as volunteers with the local foodbank, run by Reddish charity Re-dish.

AUDREY AND ALAN SAY: “The eclectic repertoire and David’s great arrangements make for wonderful rehearsal nights, culminating in the enjoyment of performing to appreciative audiences. The Monday Mondays are the highlight of our week!”

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Barbara K 0715Barbara King (alto) occupies a special position in the choir – being married to the MD/arranger, she gets to hear the new songs first! Originally from Liverpool, Barbara met David at Manchester at University, and they have lived in Tameside for over 35 years. They have two children and two grandchildren

By day Barbara is a Teacher of the Deaf, working with hearing impaired youngsters from the age of 2 to 16. She enjoys using British Sign Language and was member of the Tameside-based Dennis Sign Singers (as a signer not a singer!) who brought Deaf awareness to audiences in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Barbara is also a member of the Crystal Chords, a successful South Manchester ladies barbershop chorus, where she enjoys singing and competing in Britain and abroad. Away from the notes and rehearsals, she enjoy walking the dog onto the local moors and loves nothing more than sharing time and trips out with her young grandchildren.

BARBARA SAYS: “Fantastic company, great songs – I love the sheer fun of it, particularly singing to audiences. I always look forward to Mondays – what a great start to the week!”

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Carolc McVeyRetired lecturer Carol McVey (mezzo) hails from South Manchester and also sings with Stockport-based Crystal Chords ladies barbershop chorus. Married with four children, Carol is kept busy looking after her three grandchildren when she’s not practising her singing she enjoys tap dancing, walking, travelling, gardening and knitting.
Carol started singing and dancing at about 4 years old in a local amateur dramatic society, appearing in pantomimes and dance shows until she was about 14. She also took part in school choirs, amateur operatic societies and folk singing with her brother.

CAROL SAYS: ” I really look forward to rehearsals with the Monday Mondays. It’s fun, friendly and I love the arrangements, the diversity of the repertoire and the sound we make.”

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Ian 2013-12-16

Originally from Manchester, Ian Grimshaw (tenor) lives in Stockport with his wife Jayne, and between them they have four children and two grandchildren. Ian was over 50 before he began singing formally, and is now much in demand, singing with no less than three choirs and two quartets! With one of them, Bolton’s Cottontown Chorus, he recently achieved his ambition of winning a gold medal at the BABS national convention.

IAN SAYS: “I’m used to singing only with men but there’s something special about the Mondays sound with the mixed voices, and I really enjoy hearing all the different parts around me.”

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Ann & Estelle 0515 “Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters” …. Estella Rust and Ann Brown (both alto) are much too young to remember the Beverley Sisters but they are true examples of close siblings who love each other’s company.
Hailing from Stalybridge, where they are also near neighbours, they are originally from a musical family in Ashton-under-Lyne and have always enjoyed singing and performing. Ann’s speciality is doing a soulful Dusty Springfield on karaoke, while Estella’s claim to fame is having been a very young, not so soulful Ovaltinie!
Both are working girls, Ann in the book trade and Estella in optics. They enjoy art and music, and when not practising their alto lines they keep fit by walking their parents’ dog Mollie.

ANN AND ESTELLA SAY: “We absolutely adore being in the Monday Mondays and can’t believe how lucky we both are to be in such a good choir, with fabulous people, where we have made some very good friends. Mondays are the best night of the week!”

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Adrienne 0415The smallest member of the choir – and the liveliest! – Adrienne Brooks (soprano) comes from a musical family and has been singing since early childhood. Her father played in a dance band and mother was in the Manchester Children’s choir famous for the 1929 ‘Nymphs and Shepherds’ recording (Adrienne still has the gold record). A founding member of Greater Manchester Ladies Barbershop chorus The Crystal Chords, Adrienne has also been part of several quartets. Now living with her partner in Bramhall, she has 3 children and 9 grandchildren, and enjoys walking, gardening and travel. As befits a resident of ‘Hatter Town’, she knits hats for a charity in Nepal, and celebrated becoming the ‘new 50’ in 2015!

ADRIENNE SAYS: “I joined the Mondays right from the start and it is an absolute delight. I just love the arrangements that David writes for us. Everyone in the choir is as important as the next person, which leads to a good feel and a great sound. The enjoyment is in the enjoyment!”

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Richard & Jan 0415Another married couple with the Mondays, Richard (bass) and Jan (mezzo) Barley both hail from Dudley in the Black Country, and arrived at their home in Stockport via the West Midlands, a narrow-boat, Derbyshire and France! Richard spent 20 years as a police motorcyclist, where his VIP escortees included Helmut Kohl, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. He later became a driving instructor and is now retired. Jan trained as a phlebotomist and is currently a care assistant working with the elderly and terminally ill.

Jan and Richard sang separately in school and church choirs, then together in an amateur operatic society, before taking up barbershop singing with West Midlands’ Anvil Chorus and Second City Sound respectively. Both sing or have sung in quartets, and Richard is also a member Stockport’s Harmony Revival. Married for 44 years with one son, they are devoted to their four grandchildren and family dog. Jan loves gardening while Richard, when he is not organising some musical event, yearns for the freedom of two wheels on the open road.

RICHARD AND JAN SAY: “The Monday Mondays sound is like nothing else we have been Involved with. The whole singing experience can be very therapeutic, sing-outs are really rewarding and the friendship amongst the choir members is great.”

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Mancunian Mike Blundell (tenor) learned trumpet and guitar before entering the world of singing, and went straight into the fast lane with Bolton’s Cottontown Chorus, winning three UK gold medals, BBC Adult Choir of the Year and appearing at the London Palladium and MGM Grand, Las Vegas. One of the Mondays’ “working minority”, structural engineer Mike was part of the award-winning team who designed Salford’s Media City, and currently works in the oil and gas industry at home and abroad. Married to a professional dance teacher with two grown-up (well, sometimes!) daughters, Mike enjoys DIY, walking, cycling and golfing at his home course in Alderley Edge, where he recently recorded his first hole-in-one!

MIKE SAYS: I love the mix of male and female voices in the Mondays, which gives a balance that can’t be achieved in single sex choirs. The joy within the choir and the pleasure it gives to audiences is a tribute to the singers and to Dave King’s skill and infectious enthusiasm!

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A Manchester lass now living in Denton, mezzo Ruth Law’s love of harmony singing started as a child, but she didn’t participate until she joined Stockport’s Ladies Barbershop chorus The Liberty Belles, where she spent ten happy years. Married with two children and three grandchildren, Ruth enjoys caravanning in the UK and has travelled to many other countries, particularly the USA, where she once met the mayor of New York at the top of the EmpireState building! When at home her other interest is family history, where she has traced her ancestry back to the 1700’s!

RUTH SAYS: I went to my first rehearsal with the Monday Mondays just to listen, but as soon as I heard them I knew I wanted to join. I’m thrilled to have found such a fabulous harmony group with such friendly people right on my doorstep. I know that as soon as our MD says he has arranged a new song for us that it is going to be a fabulous song to sing!

 

 

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carole-s-0315-300x300Carole Singleton (alto)
, from Poynton, is another of the choir’s late starters, having been introduced to the joys of choral singing through the popular ‘Learn to Sing’ movement in 2010, the year she became a founder member of the Monday Mondays. Mother of two and grandmother of six, Carole works as an office administrator and is a leading exponent of the hairbrush mic!

CAROLE SAYS: “It’s such a privilege to be singing with the Mondays, who are a lovely bunch of people, and I love the variety of songs we sing. The highlight is performing in front of an audience – it’s really satisfying to see people enjoying what we do so much.”

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Belinda imageBelinda Barlow (soprano) hails from Hyde and now lives in Audenshaw. Mum of two teenagers, she works for the charity Perennial, which specialises in supporting people working in horticulture and their families. Belinda is also a children’s entertainer, and spends most weekends face-painting and balloon modelling at parties and other events. Look out for her at a shopping mall near you!

BELINDA SAYS : “I’ve always loved singing but the Mondays are my first proper choir. I feel really proud and privileged to be with them as the people are so lovely and there’s always such a feel-good atmosphere.”

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Gill 2 0315As you might expect from a Northwalian, Gill Buchanan (mezzo) has been singing since chapel and Sunday school days, and has a televised Eisteddfod performance to prove it! Several choirs later, retired teacher Gill joined Greater Manchester ladies barbershop chorus Crystal Chords, where she still sings and where she spent five years in quartets, before arriving at the Monday Mondays. Now settled in Heaton Mersey, Gill is happily ‘hooked’ on crown green bowling and likes nothing better than holidays and breaks with children and grandchildren at her caravan in Aberdaron.

GILL SAYS: “Joining the Mondays has been like a breath of fresh air, although I’m still a confirmed barbershopper. I love the repertoire and arrangements, and the fact that large parts of Monday evenings are about singing for the pure love of making music.”

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