Matlock Town Football Club rescue community choir after last minute venue drama

A Derbyshire football club came to the rescue of a community choir last weekend after their concert venue shut at short notice – and together they pulled off a winning result.

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Matlock’s award-winning DaleDiva choir were due to perform at the Whitworth in Darley Dale on Saturday, April 13 – a special ‘Class and Brass’ fixture alongside Shrewsbury Brass Band.

But 24 hours before the big night, they were hit with the news that the venue’s boiler had broken down, meaning it was not legally permitted to host a public event.

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Ally Law, the founder and director of DaleDiva, said: “I was rather shocked and alarmed. There was a mass panic.

Ally Law, centre, with the members of DaleDiva. (Photo: Contributed)Ally Law, centre, with the members of DaleDiva. (Photo: Contributed)
Ally Law, centre, with the members of DaleDiva. (Photo: Contributed)

"It was Friday night and my gut instinct was that we’d have to let the band and choir down. It was a long-held goal to share a stage with some truly top brass. We’d worked hard to be ready for months and everyone was looking forward to it.”

As word of the situation began to spread among the choir, members racked their brains for possible alternatives, none of which proved workable, until Ally’s daughter Grace had a flash of inspiration.

Ally said: “She suggested we try Matlock Town Football Club, as we’d joined forces with them for the first time to do online ticket sales for this concert.

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“We rang them, and they were just fantastic. They said: ‘We’ve got a match on, but we’ll do what we can.”

The choir arrived shortly after the final whistle on Saturday, and found the club’s function room was full of fans and players drinking in a 2-1 victory over Guiseley, so Ally decided to try out some songs on the terraces.

She said: “We warmed up outside in the grandstand. I was conducting from across the road as all the match traffic was driving out. Someone had put a welcome message for us up on the scoreboard. It was just lovely.

"Everyone was so accommodating, mucked in and made us feel at home. The space was finally cleared at 6.45pm and the show began at 7.30pm.”

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A crowd of around 100 found their way to the new venue and the performance passed off without any further issues.

Ally said: “It was just brilliant. There was no fancy lighting but it had a more relaxed feeling to it, and that’s something we like.

"We ended the night with a joint rendition of footy favourite Sweet Caroline to celebrate finding our perfect pitch.

"There was a wonderful atmosphere, top quality brass arrangements and some really good singing, then chip butties at the bar afterwards. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

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She added: “Thank you to Graham Mumby and Vikki Shipp for saving the day.”

DaleDiva rehearse every Thursday at 7.30pm at The Limetree in Matlock, and live stream a different song via their Facebook page each week at 8.45pm.

The all-woman group, which won the Channel 5 competition Don't Stop Believing' in 2010, is always open to new members, and performs a diverse repertoire of pop and traditional material.

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