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The choir is a vigorous organisation, regularly touring and raising significant funds for other charities. Since the IRA terrorist bombing of Warrington town centre in 1993, the choir has been particularly active in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, promoting reconciliation and an end to sectarian violence. Close links have been forged with Irish peace groups and choir events have come to symbolise hope, raising expectations, strengthening faith and reaching across divisions. Messages of appreciation have been received from the late Princess Diana, from two Irish Presidents, from two British Prime Ministers, from President Bill Clinton, and from the Primate of All Ireland. The choir has encouraged ‘grass roots’ reconciliation activities with young people in the divided interface areas of West Belfast through its Warrington Fund, and is known in Ireland as a ‘Choir for Peace’.
Fellowship within the choir is legendary and is the foundation for choristers’ attempts to build bridges of understanding, respect and tolerance. In 1996, Terry Waite CBE became Patron in recognition of the humanitarian role adopted by the choir and, in turn, has encouraged performances in prisons, in England and in Ireland, to assist rehabilitation programmes. Prison concerts have become a regular feature of the choir’s Christmas activities.
At the beginning of the 21st Century, choir membership had risen to over one hundred voices and the Warrington Male Voice Choir was recognised as one of the largest male choirs in the British Isles. Choir membership in 2012 is of the order of fifty voices. The choir is renowned for its great dynamic range and thrilling concert performances. The repertoire is varied, ranging from sixteenth century motets to twenty-first century compositions, from grand opera to songs from the shows, from shanties and spirituals to the classic male choral hymns. Concert programmes have something for everyone, young and old.
The choir rehearses twice weekly in Warrington and draws its members from a 20-mile radius, from throughout the Cheshire and Merseyside region. The current age range is from eighteen to eighty-eight years. Three major concerts are performed each year in Warrington’s Parr Hall (in April, September and December) when guests of national standing join with the choir. Tickets are always in great demand, and the hall is usually filled to capacity.