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Still from film 'Zulu'

Tenors have a hard enough time without a Government turning against them. You may know the jokes…

·        Why can’t Tenors screw in a Lightbulb? They can never reach that high.

·        Or the one about the tenor who was so off-key that even the other tenors could tell?

·        Why do tenors always knock at the front door? They can’t find the key.

Hard to believe, but recently the Welsh Government’s official lockdown guidance amazingly included information put out on a spoof website that said tenors posed a higher risk of spreading coronavirus, and while other choir members could stand two metres apart, tenors should be three metres away.

The Welsh authorities never explained why their official guidance (it makes you wince!) should have included that nonsense, but they did have the good grace to apologise and withdraw the offending words.

One of the great references to tenors came in the classic movie Zulu as a prelude to the singing of Men of Harlech. This is a song beloved by the Cirencester Male Voice Choir who for years have been proud to perform it at the Duke of Gloucester Barracks in South Cerney at the annual commemoration of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in 1879.

Around 150 British and colonial troops defended the mission station against attacks by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders of Rorke’s Drift, seven of them to soldiers of the 2nd/24th Foot – the most ever received for a single action by one regiment.

In the classic Movie Zulu, that recounted the event, Welsh actor, singer and songwriter Ivor Emmanuel was complimentary of the bass singing of the Zulu warriors – but ‘they don’t have any top tenors.