A self-confessed “man’s man” has swapped selling fan belts for belting out show tunes in a new men’s choir.
By day, Richard Ayre (50) sells car parts but since the summer he has been rehearsing as part of a 40-strong Sing for Heroes men’s choir.
And Mr Ayre, of Alexandra Road, Spalding, says he is amazed how far the amateur crooners – aged from their 30s to their 70s – have come in just a few short weeks.
The 50-year-old said: “Before this I had only ever sung in the shower, bath or garden, but my girlfriend saw a poster asking for volunteers and suggested I gave it a go.
“My initial reaction was ‘oh crikey’, but like a lot of things it’s about having the courage of saying ‘why not, I have nothing to lose’.
“I decided the worst that could happen was they would say I wasn’t up to standard, so I went to the audition, which was nerve-wracking and after doing a few chords and scales the musical director asked me back to the first rehearsal.”
The Sing for Heroes project is based in Peterborough and will culminate in one concert in the city and a second in Leeds.
All proceeds will go to the Help for Heroes charity.
But the Sing for Heroes men have already had their first taste of singing on stage when they performed Bring Him Home from the hit musical Les Miserables at a Peterborough Youth Choir concert at Peterborough Town Hall.
Richard said: “At that point we had rehearsed for just three hours together and we were very nervous, but when we finished there was a massive round of applause.
“It was very strange because I had never stood in front of an audience and been applauded before.”
The choir is now stepping up its rehearsals to twice a week ahead of the performance of a selection of choral favourites, ballads and show tunes at the Voyager auditorium, Mountsteven Avenue, from 7.30pm on Saturday, October 5.
Richard said: “Things are going really well.
“I can’t believe the sounds coming out of a group which got together such a short time ago, especially as we all had such little previous singing experience – in my case just singing to the rubber duck in the bath.
“We have had to overcome our nerves and lack of confidence but we are doing that and a lot of it is down to our musical director Will Prideaux.
“Being part of this has been terrific.
“I think people would describe me as a man’s man – I ride motorbikes and have been involved in motorsport for years, but it is fantastic when I have had a hard day at work to sing my heart out.”
To book tickets for the show, which cost £12, go to www.peterboroughmvchoir.org.uk