About

Based in the village of Steeton, situated between Skipton and Keighley and within sight of Ilkley Moor, Steeton MVC is one of the oldest and most respected male voice choirs in Yorkshire.

When a band of men formed a choir in Steeton on February 3rd  1908  little would they have thought that the legacy that they created would still be a part of the small community of Steeton 110 years later. Hume Wrathall was the first man to have the privilege of being the first baton holder which has only been passed on four times after his tenure.

The current MD is Mrs Catherine Sweet, who joined the Choir on 26th July 2017 and  has brought not only a wealth of experience but also a new burst of energy and quality that is already reaping its rewards amongst the Steeton choristers and  naturally being enjoyed by our audiences.

Catherine was literally flung in at the ‘deep end’  with literally a few weeks to prepare for her first concert and only two months before our prestigious Annual Concert held every year at the King’s Hall  in Ilkley. In the six months that she has been with us there has been a clear transformation and if Hume Wrathall and his choir colleagues of 1908 were still around they would be pleased that the tradition they started 110 years ago was in good, capable hands with a fine blend of voices.

Nowadays there are many choirs in the local area but not many of them have Steeton’s history. There is nothing quite like the sound of a quality male voice choir however keeping the legacy of ‘Wrathall and Co’ going can be a struggle at times. Choir numbers have dwindled over the years however we are still able to present an impressive 50 plus strong choir for most of our concerts though not surprisingly  recruitment is at the top of our agenda at most committee meetings. I get the impression Hume Wrathall in 1908 wouldn’t have had the same problem as we face today and looking at the older photograph with Hume Wrathall, who incidentally is the man seated behind the shield, you can notably see that he is surrounded by quite a few younger faces, considerably younger in age than today’s choir but not as large as the current choir.  This isn’t surprising because in 1908  the industrial landscape was vastly different and there was a wealth of men in the area who possibly worked together and of course back in 1908 there wasn’t competition from  other choirs and many other pastimes which exist today,  so not surprisingly the choir benefited from this. Father and son would possibly work together and attend practices together which is a far cry from today though the reasons for being a member are just the same which is to produce and promote high quality choral music.

Apart from the obvious passion that we all share for music there is also the sense of pride of pulling your choir blazer on before every concert  and the sense of belonging to this prestigious choir, the camaraderie is second to none. Of course nowadays there are many other benefits mainly health ones that are appealing to say the least and it’s also hip and trendy to be part of a choir,  we have  Gareth Malone to thank for that. We have started to learn from his approach and at the end of last year held a few recruitment sings in  Ilkley and Skipton which we thought were very useful though we wait with baited breath to see if any new recruits come through the door at Steeton Methodist Chapel on a Monday evening at 7.30 pm. New members are treated royally and a mentor is appointed to a new chorister who leads them through the early stages of choir life. There are no daunting auditions and we even have a home learning tool known as personal composer which will help you with your part singing and learning new material.

Share: