In Wales and Cornwall, two areas particularly famous for their male voice choirs, average choir ages are rising, and the pressures of modern life mean it can be a struggle to recruit new members.
An article in the Guardian a few years ago noted that younger men are disinclined to join because the twice weekly rehearsal schedule is a serious commitment and there are always other things to do. For others, the traditional repertoire of songs may prove unappealing.
Singing is often an important part of life in the community, whether it is formalised in a choir or just a sing song down the pub. I went to see Elbow a couple of years ago at the Eden Project, and when it came for some audience participation, the crowd embraced it with gusto and a three part harmony. That's just what we do down there. I hope the choirs can continue long into the future, maintaining a fine tradition that brings joy to so many.
While a more modern song book may help attract new members, there is something to be said for the old traditions. Today's pick is Holman Climax, a choir from Redruth, singing at the inauguration of the new lifeboat and lifeboat station down on the Lizard. The song is "Brightly Beams", a hymn most closely associated with fishermen.