Residential brings men’s choir closer

22 January 2024

Okehampton Youth Hostel at Bracken Tor on the edge of Dartmoor was the perfect setting for our MenSing Residential in January 2024 – our first adult residential since the pandemic.

From 9-11 January, the MenSing Choir took over one of the hostel’s buildings to enjoy three days of bonding including walking on Dartmoor and singing round a campfire. At the end of the residential, the choir sang at the annual wassail at Okehampton Community Garden.

Wren Music’s community musicians Paul Wilson and Jon Dyer joined the choir for the weekend: “The residential was an absolute treasure from beginning to end,” said Paul. “We worked, ate, laughed, played, and sang together in an extraordinarily affirming way and the event was pretty much everything it set out to be.

“It has brought us much closer to each other – and knowing each other better will make us sing better.”

During the residential, the choir had sessions on improvisation, and memorising song using visual, oral, and filmic techniques. They also talked about what it is to be a man. Paul said: “The level of trust is right up there, which brings us closer when we sing. And that’s the great thing about being able to have a residential, it’s a bit of a luxury to have that time together, and to share how we learn things.

“I feel the choir is now a much more confident group with a greater sense of who we are. The feedback from the guys has been amazing, and we’ll take the best bits into our rehearsals,” he added.

MenSing’s next monthly session is on Saturday 10 February, 10m -1pm, at Ebenezer Hall, North Street, Okehampton. New members are very welcome. No experience is needed and there are no auditions, just come along and join us.

MenSing have got lots of exciting events lined up – including at the 70th Sidmouth Folk Festival on Sunday 4 August 2024.

You can find out more about the choir and get in touch via our MenSing page.