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

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.