Sunday, 30 December 2018

A Magnificent 2018 in retrospective


It's that time of year when one looks back on the previous 12 months and ponders "that went a bit quick didn't it?  What did we get up to that made the time pass so fast?"  The answer is "a bloomin' lot of stuff"

Here is just a very brief re-cap of our Magnificent Tenth Year.  If you want the full gory details, then simply comb through our back issues over the course of this year.

January began with a bit of a jolt back into action with another Boot Camp ahead of recording of our third proper CD.  Both very long sessions that tested everyone's stamina to the limit but with ultimately a more than half decent recording captured for posterity.

We then proceeded to hone our art for the next couple of months before our gigging season started in earnest, although not without a slight false start with our scheduled show at the Prince Albert over Stroud way being postponed at the very last moment because of somewhat unseasonal snow.  The re-scheduled event was an absolute cracker with a totally rammed audience close enough to smell the waft of Fishermen's Friends on our breath as we tore the house down with our repertoire.  

Many other gigs were to follow as you can see from this year's range of stunning artwork  from our amazing ArtMeister (apart from the Wessex MVC gig), as well as an abstract homage to the thing we know as a "Bloke" based on an homage to the song of the same name especially written for us by the genius that is Roger Jackson - if you haven't heard it already, you are in for a treat when you do.



One of our many highlights was without doubt our second trip to Ireland and the wonderful City of Cork, host to their very own International Choral Festival.  Not for the first time, we ventured across the Irish Sea with a little trepidation only to be overwhelmed with the reception we received across the many bars, concert halls and even in the streets, and to be garlanded with another award for best embodying the spirit of the festival - so many great memories from such a short space of time...



And if going almost as far West as we could resulted in having a great experience, venturing to the Far East of Anglia was an equally amazing experience for similar, yet different, reasons.  Much singing, a fair amount of "refreshing", with WaGs & FoBaFoBs in tow, and many fantastic festival moments, like singing to the Chief Festival Organiser as we ambushed her on her way to the main stage we were to grace later that day, having our workshop interrupted by those who would become known as "The Interrupting Vikings" (see facebook posts for more), and much more.

We very much hope to return some day to do it all again...




And there were many other top moments throughout the year, doing two shows at the Upton-on-Severn Folk Festival with many other quality acts, producing our third CD with some yet more stunning artwork, and a return of BlokeFest to Wiltshire for yet another stupendous event.




We also had a busy year in various forms of media, from being front page news as one of those featured on the newly revamped Village Mag, to taking over the village shop window for two weeks to promote our Big Gig at St George's Bristol in aid of Prostate Cancer, having two of our chaps,  Geoff Spooner and Neil Burston, featured on BBC Radio Bristol to promote the gig near the end of their charity fundraising walk from Ashton Keynes to the gig, and a couple more videos released throughout the year that can be found on our Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/themagnificentak47.




To top celebrating our (first) 10 years of existence we held a typically Magnificent event with an awesome "Cheese and Ale Evening" with as many of our significant others that could be tempted by such as tantalising prospect of good food, good ale and a modicum of us singing... but we were supported by our friends in the leading ladies singing group in the village, Siren Sisters, as well as a fascinating display of memorabilia arrayed around the room.  A great birthday party for all.




And finally, we must make mention of all the utterly Magnificent Blokes who have been such great company and have worked so hard to become what they are... the best all-bloke, Georgian (singing) inspired choir ever to escape from North North Wiltshire.



Gentlemen, we salute you all.  Here's to many more adventures in the months and years to come, and our heartfelt thanks to all who make it possible, and to all those who allow us to do it.


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Beer & Carols 2018 - a great community sing




Another tremendous turn out in the White Hart for the annual gathering of folk in The White Hart, Ashton Keynes, North North Wiltshire, to celebrate the season with carols and wassails.

Members of The Magnificent AK47, Siren Sisters, Ashton Keynes Village Choir, the AK Gallery Carol singers were there to lend their considerable vocal talents to the proceedings and everyone else pitching in to make it such a lovely community event where people come together to sing for the joy of singing.

Especial thanks to Shirley Danby for inspiration and carol sheets, Pete Tuck for the Readings, Neil Burston for helping to make it all happen, for Chris Samuel for leading the blokes & conducting in general, Liz Nicholls for the first verse of Stille Nacht, assorted Siren Sisters for singing so gleefully, the AK Village Choir and Gallery Carolers for singing their bit, The White Hart for coping so splendidly and everyone who comes along to participate and have such a grand time.

Maybe do it again next year??




Monday, 10 December 2018

Beer & Carols time again!


It's that time of the year again when we nip along to the local for some nasty nibbles, a pint or two, and a good old sing along to some of our favourite old carols and one or two newer ones.

The blokes have been honing their skills with some of their Yuletide back catalogue and we hear a small group of Gallery Carol singers have been rehearsing a bit too, and there should be some of the ladies from Siren Sisters along plus a good few from the village choir - all in all, a hearty throng to sing along.

Come and join us if you can, but get there well in advance of 8pm to find a spot.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Magnificent Pow Wow & Party



What a way to celebrate a truly Magnificent 10th year after all the hullaballoo and the immense event at Bristol's St George's Hall, than to return whence we came, back to our roots in dear old village with a "Very Ashton Keynes" evening, full of ale, singing and cheese!

We held our Pow Wow (Annual General Meeting) in the Village Hall that was resplendent with huge amounts of memorabilia dangling from the ceiling and mounted on boards to remind us of so many of our  mini-man adventures over the years. 

Some wonderful memories of gigs, tours, days out, daft places we have sung and so much of the bonhomie of lurking in pubs, and camaraderie of singing pretty much everywhere we go.

And this event was no exception as we were joined by many of the Blokes' significant others to thank them and celebrate being allowed to do this stuff as much as we are.  Many of the ladies already know it each other from various gigs and events, such as Folk East, so it was a chance to cement friendships and be serenaded by the fellas.

But it was not just blokes singing, we were also graced by the presence of many of Ashton Keynes' finest ladies singing group, Siren Sisters, who enthusiastically enjoyed helping us devour the mountains of cheese and barrel of ale we had on hand, before delighting us with some of their finest ditties.

All in all a lovely way to celebrate (the first) 10 years of this thing known as The Magnificent AK47.

Thank you to all who make it possible, in particular Chris Samuel our Belov├ęd ChoirMeister, Big Chief Bill and the team in the Inner Circle and Neil B for much doing of things including the general organising, decoration and exhibition.




Sunday, 7 October 2018

Magnificent Blokes


A very BIG THANK YOU to all who made our Magnificent Man-Sing for Men United such a special event yesterday.  

The large numbers who turned up for the workshop and the enthusiasm of the audience for a wide range of male vocal talent will be a treasured memory amongst so many.

Till the next time...!


Saturday, 6 October 2018

TODAY is the Magnificent MASSIVE Man-sing



The time has finally come to celebrate singing in lower registers - there may well be some tickets still available at https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/event/men-united/ if you haven't got yours already for what should be a great day for all involved.

And for the final time, hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.





Friday, 5 October 2018

Magnificent MASSIVE Man-Sing - 1 more sleep


Spookyness, Magnificents and so much more - our Magnificent MASSIVE Man-sing is going to be a real feast of singing in the lower registers and features such a fabulous array of vocal talent and is  only one sleep away now!

Looking forward to seeing all our friends, old and new, on the day.  Tickets still just about available from https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/event/men-united/ - but not for long!

Hear more about what is shaping up to be an utterly awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.




Magnificent Men United with added Spookyness


He is calling you to be at the Magnificent MASSIVE Man-sing... he is the prophet who sings with lower registers, he is Bah'ri Ghibb??  

Not quite...  For anyone who has been interested in Georgian-inspired polyphonic male harmony singing these past 10 or more years or festival goers around the country will instantly recognise this fellow - he is the SpookMeister himself, leader of The Spooky Men's Chorale, the granddaddy of BlokeSong, Mr Stephen Taberner - and he is rumoured to be appearing at our event this Saturday.

Tickets are still available from https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/event/men-united/ - but hurry, not long left now!

Hear more about what is shaping up to be an utterly awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.





Thursday, 4 October 2018

Passing the baton


A somewhat nervous looking "Young Geoff" (but he's never good in photos...) receiving the baton from "Our Gar" as the "March 4 Marcher" hands over to the "March 2 Men United" walkers.  

The route looks something like this:

  

Thursday 4th Oct - Ashton Keynes, The White Hart Inn to Rattlebone Inn, Sherston - approx 17 miles
Setting off around 9am the planned route heads towards Crudwell to pick up the historic Fosse Way as early as possible finishing with a detour off that famous route to refill water bottles and finish the day at The Rattlebone Inn, Sherston

Friday 5th Oct - Rattlebone Inn, Sherston to Bristol & Bath Railway Path 
- approx 16 miles
Returning from their overnight recuperation the blokes intend to set off again to get a good full day's yomp to the outskirts of Bristol with an overnight stay with fellow choir members.

Saturday 6th Oct - Bristol & Bath Railway Path to St George's Hall
- approx 6 miles - starting 9am 
Walking along the impressively renovated route from the outskirts of Bristol to St George's Hall and fitting in a decent lunch to ensure they are able to fully enjoy the workshop and very special Gala Evening event.

Come and join us for the last leg from The Bridge Pub at 9am on Saturday 6th Oct - there is parking there but you will need to sort any logistics yourself.

Find out more and about how you can donate at https://themagnificentak47.blogspot.com/p/march-to-men-united.html

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Bloke


Amongst many of the topics that get discussed by the members of The Magnificent AK47 is the eternal question "what does it mean to be a bloke in the 21st century?"  This is a broad and at times challenging topic area for all concerned, save to say that we value being a "good bloke" above many other aspects.

And, without spoiling the surprise too much, we have a new song specially commissioned and written for us by that highly talented Mr Roger Jackson that explores many of these topics with some fiendish precision.  Providing we have mastered the "intentionally tricky harmonies" it should receive its world premier at our Big Gig this weekend.  We hope you can be there to witness this landmark moment.

Hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.







Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Make the Blokes' dreams come true...

The Magnificent VideoMeisters have been at it again with a full "Disney" Production to celebrate the Blokes' up-coming "Big Gig" - watch it in all its Technicolour glory.


And if you like videos, watch our promo about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.




Monday, 1 October 2018

Front page news!


It's not every day we have a "first time ever" moment, but to have two in one go is a little special, even for us...

Whilst it might not exactly be a top story outside of our spiritual home of Ashton Keynes, we are still none the less very chuffed to be one of the big stories on the front of this month's newly revamped, and highly revered Village Magazine, AND our flyer is also the very first insert they have ever done... just like being in the Sunday papers!

Thank you to all in the Editorial Team who indulged us with a two page spread and to everyone in the Distribution Team who kindly inserted the flyers to drop out into around 500 households in the area.

Still time to hear more about our big event for singing in lower registers via this helpful video.





Sunday, 30 September 2018

Joining us for Men United are... The Raff Pack




The Raff Pack formed in 2016 as the blokey spin-off to Riff Raff, a Bristol-based pop and rock community choir. They sing in venues all over the city, and are easily spotted by their bright orange, red and pink shirts and miscellaneous hats. They mostly sing pop and rock music a capella, though have been known to do sea shanties and the occasional jazz crooner.

They are lead by Doug V. Watt, a conductor, singer and arranger from Bristol.  He is Co-Founder of the Bristol Show Choir, Musical Director for the Posset Singers of Portishead, Conductor for Blackbird Early Years Music Choir, and runs Penny Brohn Community Choir.  As well as conducting, he can be seen as one of the Roaring Trowmen, a Bristol-based Sea Shanty group, and as a Tenor in barbershop quartet ‘Frumenti’.

Doug was also made a great impression at his debut appearance at BlokeFest 2018 where he lead one of the workshops and walked away as the very deserved winner of the "Tonsorial Titan Challenge" (o.k.a the Best Beard competition).

In case you haven't alreadly, hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.







Saturday, 29 September 2018

Men United on BBC Radio Bristol


Geoff S and Neil B flanking Ali Vowles after their fun time on BBC Radio Bristol this morning.  

Listen to the interview.



And in case you haven't already, hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.





Saturday Breakfast with Ali Vowles



By the time you read this, two of our intrepid blokes will be just about to go on the wireless on BBC Radio Bristol's Saturday Breakfast Show with one Ali Vowles.

She's a brave lady taking on interviewing these blokes so early on a Saturday morning... let's just hope they will be awake enough after their early start venturing down from Ashton Keynes way!

Tune in at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06kvpgv or you could even use your radio for you techno-laggards!



Friday, 28 September 2018

BBC Music Day - Get Singing!



A great idea from the BBC to celebrate the power of music and the amazing role it plays in our lives, BBC Music Day.

Lots to look at and be inspired, talking of which, why not be inspired to come to our Workshop on Saturday 6th as part of our Magnificent MASSIVE Man-Sing for Men United to raise a voice and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK at St George's Hall in Bristol.  Get your tickets here.  It's open to ALL singers of ALL types who enjoy singing in lower registers.

Hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.






Thursday, 27 September 2018

Joining us for Men United are... The Gasmen Collective



Formed from a bunch of guys involved with Bristol's highly influential Gasworks Choir, the Gasmen Collective have only been in existence for just around a year now but have already built up a strong reputation for the quality of their singing and depth of their repertoire.

But how did they come about.....?

One evening in 2017, Jess Broderick, top graduate from Sir Paul McCartney’s ‘Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts’ LIPA, co-founder and director of Bristol Show Choir and Gasworks Choir and all round musical star, was getting a lift home after a practice with a couple of Gasworks Choir singers.  The guys popped a question that had been kicking around for a while, would Jess take on the job of Musical Director for a new, larger version of a Bristol men’s group that had been singing for some years but had recently called it a day: The Gasmen?  Stunned briefly, Jess chewed it over for a day or two then, happily for all concerned, said: ‘Yes!’ 

Talks about talks were convened. Songs performed in living rooms. Ideas explored. And after a recruitment drive, the newly enlarged Gasmen Collective finally came together at the start of 2018. Its mission: to have fun performing an eclectic acappella mix at gigs of all shapes and sizes. Jess sources as well as arranges material – and somehow manages to keep this very chatty bunch of middle-aged men in order… 


And we are delighted to have them on board for our Men United event this coming Saturday 6th October in St George's Hall - tickets still available for both the Workshop and the Gala Concert but starting to disappear from https://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/event/men-united/.

Hear more about what is shaping up to be an awesome event of singing in lower registers in this helpful video.










Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Poster boys of Prostate Cancer UK


As featured on the Prostate Cancer UK facebook page, for all the right reasons, even if we would rather not have to be there because of the trauma one of our blokes has been through, but hopefully we can do our little bit to raise awareness and help others get life saving treatment in time.

See https://www.facebook.com/prostatecanceruk/ for the post but more importantly see https://prostatecanceruk.org to learn what you can to do help prevent further this disease.

One of those things would be to visit our "March 2 Men United" page to learn about how some of our blokes are going that extra mile (40 in fact!) to help and how you could donate.