Voices of three generations

Three generations of one family will sing in a Christmas concert in Sheffield in December.
Three generations of one family will sing in a Christmas concert in Sheffield in December.

Accountant Mark Dakin looks at his son Dom and father Tom and says: “Sometimes, talents skip a generation!”

Once a boy chorister, 53-year-old Mark now describes himself as an “ex-bass”, but looks forward to a rare opportunity to sing alongside Tom, a former member of Sheffield Bach Choir, and 12-year-old Dom, who has sung inFrance, Germany and a number of English cathedrals.

They’ll join forces for the Lads, Dads and Grandads event laid on by Sheffield-based Music in the Round on Saturday and led by top conductor James Burton, former choral director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester.

It’s part of a weekend of music-making opportunities for anyone to take part in, whether they believe themselves to be singers or not.

Hundreds of children and their families are expected to join in when Music in the Round’s Polly Ives leads performances of Stan and Mabel, based on the popular children’s book and with music by award-winning children’s composer Paul Rissmann, at the Octagon Centre on Saturday. Hundreds more will take part in schools’ performances on Monday.

In the Crucible Studio on Saturday, evening audiences will get the chance of a seasonal sing-song when the Festival of Village Carols, based in Grenoside, will bring the traditional pub carols of Sheffield’s surrounding villages into the city centre, alongside the nationally-known City Musick.

So should Mark Dakin be worried about whether he will be up to scratch for the workshop in the Crucible Studio on Saturday morning?

Absolutely not, says James Burton: “Everyone should feel encouraged to turn up and give it a go. I’ll teach them everything they need to know.”

Tom Dakin, now 83, welcomes the chance to promote the idea of singing, “something people don’t have at the forefront of their minds until they do it.”

But why the concentration on the guys?

Dom Dakin, a pupil at Birkdale school who also sings in the choir at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, points out that not many boys sing because if they play football it clashes with Sunday services and they “think they can’t sing as high as girls.”

Mark points out that because boys’ voices break they often stop singing and therefore younger boys don’t have role models.

Asked whether his father will be able to manage on the day, Dom smiles benignly: “Possibly,” he says.

Tickets and information: www.musicintheround.co.uk or call 0114 249 6000.