A ‘SECOND-TO-NONE’ choir will celebrate its momentous 100th birthday this year.

Hosting their first official meeting on September 23 in 1924, the Thurnscoe Male Voice Choir has gone through plenty of changes and successes over the past century.

The 38 members of the choir are now ready to celebrate their birthday with a year of activities, including four concerts spread across the course of 2024 and the launch of a new book that explores their varied history.

The Centenary Book is now available to buy, with an accompanying CD currently being produced.

Secretary John Keating, who’s been a member for 41 years, told the Chronicle: “Our choir is second-to-none.

“We’ve won competitions and travelled around the world.

“I think lots of people have this view that choirs are this old thing where you go to sing religious music.

“It’s definitely not that - we do pop songs in a choir style, comedy things as well as the traditional stuff.”

While understandably there have been plenty of membership changes over this time, one member has been stalwart for the majority of their history.

Jack Clennell has been a part of the choir for 73 years and despite having to step back now due to illness, he retains his membership.

Others such as Gordon Peace and musical director Tony Jermy have been involved for over 40 years, making them honorary life members.

This dedication comes from what chair Ian Dowlman describes as a ‘friendly spirit’.

“I’d say it’s just the kind of organisation we are,” he explained.

“We’re more like a band of brothers than a choir.

“If you’ve got any problems, everyone rallies around and supports you.

“I’ve been here many years and while a lot’s changed that spirit never has.”

Yet, it wasn’t clear to all that the choir’s success would keep it going for as long as it has.

“It’s been hard work keeping it running all this time,” John added.

“I’m honestly a bit surprised - I was surprised when we got to 80, I didn’t think we’d make it to 100.

“We had dwindling members, so it’s been about pushing to try and get new ones in, which we’re always doing.”

Recruiting has been constant, though it appears each member has their own strange tale of joining, whether it be accompanying their father or getting put in touch from another choir, but John was quick to share his.

“When I joined I’d just popped in to see a concert because I was living nearby.

“At half time I went out for some ‘fresh air’ like the rest of the choir - we all smoked back then.

“I was asked why I wanted to join so I told them that I wanted to make one person feel as good as I did when seeing you tonight.

“The rest is history I suppose.”

With such joyful stories of joining, it’s no wonder this caring group are excited to spend the year celebrating.

President Michael McGrey, who’s spent 57 years with the choir, said: “We’re still doing well after all that time.

“We’ve always had a good sound - it’s a Thurnscoe sound, no matter how many members have changed we keep that sound.

“I’m really looking forward to next year, we could possibly be going to Ireland since we’ve got contacts with a choir there.

“Then we’re looking at going to Scotland, so we should be getting a couple of days away.

“I think the main thing though, is that people are enjoying it, so we will keep carrying on.”

Over the course of the next year, the choir’s performances include:

Saturday March 2 The first of the centenary concerts, will be performed in their home village, at the Thurnscoe Coronation Club.

Friday April 12 They will be joining the Saddleworth Singers at St John and St Mary Magdalene Church in Goldthorpe.

Saturday June 1 They will return to a favourite venue of the choir, All Saints’ Church in Wentworth.

Saturday August 10 A return to St John and St Mary Magdalene Church for a memorial concert to long-standing member Irene Hill.

Saturday August 31 There will be a visit to another beloved venue, St Margaret’s Church in Swinton.

Saturday November 16 The final of the centenary concerts will be performed at Wentworth Woodhouse.

All shows are expected to begin at 7pm.