My name is Norman Ratchford and I have been a member of the Irlam Male Voice choir for over three years. Like most people, I never considered joining a choir. Since retiring from my full time occupation I have worked part time at Barton airfield fuelling aircraft and cutting grass etc. It was here that I made the acquaintance of Danny Craddock, a young man who was very keen on aviation, light aircraft in particular who visited the airfield regularly. I was impressed by his enthusiasm and the fact that he took every opportunity to get involved, performing work for a number of flying schools and in the process had several flights.
When Danny told me he was performing in his school play I decided, along with a workmate Mike to go and see the play. Danny stole the show! He also set up the sound and lighting. Mike and I later saw Danny in the college pantomime and concert.
A few months later Danny informed me he was performing again and I went to see him. I expected him to be performing in a stage play, but to my surprise he was part of Irlam male voice choir. I would never have thought of going to listen to a choir, but I was amazed at the high quality of the singing and the wonderful selection of songs, so much so I attended the choirs next practice session. Imagine my surprise when at the interval the secretary announced that two new members have joined and my name was given out. I had only gone to watch! Like a lot of people I thought I did not have a good enough voice to be part of a choir, but I've re-learnt the pleasure of singing along with others.
I'm really enjoying singing with the choir. I love the rhythm, melody and the harmony. I'm delighted that Gareth Malone is showing ordinary people that they can sing to a good standard and the new found happiness they are experiencing. You don't have to read music and have a voice like an opera star to enjoy a good old sing song. We sing a good cross section of music and we are extremely lucky to have two lovely ladies, one our conductor and the other our pianist, both very talented. Not only do we get a lot of pleasure from singing but we have a lot of laughs as well. Give it a try, it's a great hobby, costs two pounds for a great night out and we get to perform at concerts.