Stevenage Male Voice Choir singing pre-match on Saturday...
Saturday's game against Newport County is Stevenage FC's designated Prostate Cancer UK Awareness Match Day.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. A bucket collection will be taking place around the ground prior to the game to raise money for the Football League’s charity partner, which fights to help men survive.
Pre-match we will also be welcoming members of Stevenage Male Voice Choir to the Broadhall Suite who themselves are on a mission to get men singing and raise awareness of Prostate Cancer at the same time. They’ll be singing a selection of their repertoire from 1pm and you can read the thoughts below of the choir's Brendan McGuire below.
Remember you can find out more information about the choir - which rehearses at the Stevenage Community Arts Centre on the Roaring Meg Retail Park - at www.smvc.org
"If you are worried that your lifestyle may be a tad unhealthy; that the label ‘couch potato’ could be applied to you and the only way of responding to chants of ‘who ate all the pies?’ is to take a deep bow in acknowledgement, then please read on. You do not have to undertake any strenuous activity such as alligator wrestling in order to improve your health, all you need to do is join a choir and sing! The health benefits – and these are scientific facts – are these: taking deep breaths for singing oxygenates the blood and improves your circulation. Not only that, singing increases levels of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone): it makes you feel good about yourself and the company you keep.
"What else does singing do? It releases endorphins: these tickle the pleasure centres of the brain. Talking of tickling, singing also releases dopamine, the hormone that makes the hairs on your neck stand up or sends a shiver of enjoyment down your spine. Perhaps most importantly of all, singing reduces levels of cortisol in the body. You produce cortisol when you are stressed and it is not a good thing to have too much of it. Singing actually enhances the body’s immune system. So, if you want benefit from your body’s natural bounty the best thing you could do is to join a choir. In fact there is one that rehearses almost in sight of this very football ground. It is called the Stevenage Male Voice Choir.
"The choir was formed by employees of the English Electric Company in 1958 and was sponsored by the business until it became part of the British Aircraft Corporation, whereupon the choir became self-supporting and open to non-employees. The Stevenage Male Voice Choir is a Registered Charity and raises funds for other charities through public performances at various venues here and abroad.
"The choir’s repertoire is wide-ranging and covers songs both modern and traditional. Do you like Mozart? Sting? Bob Dylan? Elvis? William Blake? The choir has them covered. They also sing selections from shows including Les Miserables, Oklahoma and My Fair Lady.
"It will be their 60th anniversary in 2018 and so they are gearing up for various events to celebrate that fact.
"Members of the choir (You’ll recognise them by their snazzy and stylish green jackets) will be singing in four part harmony in the Broadhall Suite, so please do come along if you would like to hear us. And, if you like what you hear, why not become a member? The choir are here as part of the National Get Men Singing campaign to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer (there is more information about the campaign and its aims on Facebook and Twitter) and they will be passing through the crowd along with members of Prostate Cancer UK with collection buckets, so please give generously if you can.
"Finally, if you think you can’t sing, please think again. The human voice is the most accessible instrument in the world and it is far easier to play than a guitar or a church organ or a theremin, and it’s much more portable too. You can practise as quietly or as loudly as you like, where you like.
"But, best of all, it really does make you feel good and does you good and, of course, it sounds good."