With the youngest members of the Men’s Shed Chorale aged in their sprightly 70s, this is one choir like no other.
All former members of the esteemed Sydney Male Choir, the Men’s Shed Chorale is a group of 26 retired gentlemen who decided to form a smaller group, their collective’s title based on the ideals of the Men’s Shed Organisation – friendship, companionship, and working together for a bigger purpose.
Choir member Winston Eldridge said that while the average age among the men is 80, the oldest member is 92, and they all “itch to sing”. That’s no ordinary feat.
“While we’re able to do it, we can,” Winston said.
The choir perform monthly around greater Sydney, singing a broad assortment of songs – they have hundreds in their repertoire.
Under the direction of highly qualified conductor Keiren Brandt-Sawdy, the choir have sung for special events like ANZAC Day and Police Commemoration Day, but most of their performances are reserved for churches and retirement villages, like Sylvania’s Frank Vickery Village or Carlingford’s Alan Walker Village.
Their performances are tailored to the venue – the ears of those attending church performances will hear suitable sacred songs among other popular spiritual, fun songs, while those in villages hear an assortment of songs tailored to their preferences.
While they still rehearse every second week, being in the Men’s Shed Chorale doesn’t come with the strict schedule that being a part of the Sydney Male Choir demanded.
“We’re a bit more relaxed now, we couldn’t do that before,” Winston said.
The group only charges a small fee to cover the cost of their music, professional musical director and accompanist.
But money isn’t really in mind among these men – being a part of the choir gives them much more.
Winston said the men derive a sense of wellbeing, and they have each other for social support.
“In the entire time we’ve been together there hasn’t been a cross word spoken. Another great benefit is the support gained due to sickness and loss of loved ones. Many have spoken of the strength they have gained from such support.
“The fun and social part of our chorale is in our absolute love of singing, leading to performances and occasional short
regional tours. The wives (and partners) come to a lot of the concerts.
“We’re just very happy to make it very casual and easy,” Winston said.
If you live, work, volunteer, have an association with, or would simply like to speak with the Men’s Shed Chorale, contact Stan Alchin on 0405 440 214 or email@example.com