Singing, travelling, meeting new people, learning new skills and helping others at the same time are all at the core of becoming a member of the Swindon Male Voice Choir.

Once again the choir is throwing open its doors to new members by holding an open evening on Monday, February 20 at the New Century Club in Gorse Hill, Swindon, from 7.30pm.

New members are not expected to sing in a performance immediately, they do not need to read music or be experienced singers, they just need to have a love of singing.

Choristers are given a voice assessment to find their place in the choir and they will be given help from fellow singers and the director of music.

Along with singing locally the choir tours every couple of years, recently visiting Jersey and Bulgaria. Over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

The ethos of singing to raise money for charity began during the first year the choir was founded - 1919. A concert by the Great Western Railway Running Shed Male Voice Choir, the original name of the group, was to aid the wives and children of the local iron moulders, who were suffering in consequence of the moulders' strike.

There are also health benefits to singing in a choir.

Alan Fisher recruitment officer from the SMVC said: "Studies confirm singing is good for both physical and mental wellbeing. Singing releases endorphins to make you feel energised and uplifted.''

The choir performs at big events as well as local concerts including singing in Winchester Cathedral, Swindon's Steam Museum and Romsey Abbey. The singers also entertain alongside some top military bands such as the REME Band, The Band of the Ghurkas, The Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards.

Alan said: "The choir provides the opportunity for men of all ages and from all walks of life to benefit physically, emotionally and socially from the effects of singing in a group.''

The choir rehearse every Monday and the next concert is a joint affair with the Wessex Male Choir at Swindon's Meca in Regent Circus on Saturday, March 25.

Anyone interested in joining should go along to the open evening or call 01793 822495 or visit for more details. - Flicky Harrison