Men Aloud were formed in 2011, after the initial earthquakes in Christchurch. A PanPacific Convention had been planned for Brisbane that year and, in the aftermath of the quakes, the City of Sails from Auckland Chorus kindly offered the Plainsmen the opportunity to sing with them at the PanPac. The members of Men Aloud, John Buckley (bass), John Harker (baritone), Geoff Ridley (tenor) and Bryan Taylor (lead) were all available to go, so we decided to form a quartet and set about preparing for the Senior Quartet contest. Unfortunately, John’s wife Carole became seriously ill and he had to withdraw, so our debut had to be postponed. The following year (2012) we performed at the NZABS Convention at Takapuna where we won the Senior Quartet contest and finish 5th in the Open Quartet category. Our finest moment to date!
In 2013, in Invercargill, we came second to Pastime in the Senior Quartet, but because of our previous year’s win, we were eligible to compete at the International Senior Quartet Contest. This was held in conjunction with the Mid-Winter Convention at Long Beach California and was a wonderful experience. Despite finishing well down the field we managed to achieve our best ever score and we generally had a ball mixing with some of the best singers in the business, including the Musical Island Boys, who were one of the many top quartets in attendance. The final concert, which included the best of America’s Young Singers in Harmony, along with the top four quartets from the previous Open Contest, was a show to remember.!
On returning to Christchurch John Harker withdrew from the quartet and was replaced by Philip Loo. This new format has yet to reach its potential and various things have impeded our progress including failing to take good advice - don’t sing songs that are beyond your abilities!!! Nevertheless we still enjoy our time together and rehearsal night remains a high point of each week - and that’s what it’s all about.
Photo Caption: Men Aloud Competing in the International Senior Quartet Contest, Long Beach California, January 2014.