So, Bilston Voices final performance has come and gone.
I wish I had been there to watch it, to write a farewell review, perhaps even to perform. I am of course thousands of miles away in China so I can only watch and sigh from afar. Gary Longden has reviewed it and it sounds as if they went out in their custmary style, fittingly finishing with Simon Fletcher who continues to organise the popular City Voices event in Wolverhampton.
The one thing that has always amazed me about both Bilston Voices and City Voices has been the incredibly high standards of writing and performance. With such diversity it would be reasonable to expect the occasional misfire, the occasional lacklustre night – reasonable but entirely false. Against all probability the events have not only maintained a consistently high standard but have, month on month, managed to surpass the already high standards they had achieved.
Over the years I have performed at both venues and always felt that while they have different strengths the great beauty of Bilston Voices was its cosy, friendly atmosphere. Performing there was like performing for family. I shall certainly miss it and, I suppose, I have one less reason to revisit Bilston than I had before.
I'd like to wish all the performers I have seen there - and all the performers I have missed since moving to China - the very best and I'm sure there will be other performance venues that rise to take its place. But they won't feel the same.