A cappella …and then some!

Rob Botham

Bonjour! I am the newest and now youngest member of YY (sorry Sam). As the 3rd Rob in the group, I'm known as “Biggus Rob”. By day I am a self employed tradesman who operating in the construction industry.  I have spent 25 years in amateur dramatics,  in latter years typecast as the Dame!! (Oh no you haven’t...).  I was introduced to a capella singing in 2009 by fellow Yesteryear member Chris Nixon and competed in my first Barbershop Convention in 2011 winning a bronze medal. A year later I won a gold at Convention and was delighted to compete at the International Convention in Toronto in 2013.  In 2014, I felt honoured to be asked to become a member of Yesteryear, where I’m sure to gather a wealth of experience from such a great and talented bunch of guys.

Graham Dawes (bass)

Graham has sung with two championship barbershop choruses and cherishes his first gold medal, as seen here. He has also sung in various barbershop quartets (often singing with Rob P, Frank and Kevin from YY) in addition to singing with other choral groups including a Male Voice Choir (for 38 years).

Graham is a Chartered Accountant who has been trying to retire for many years.

Frank Dilks (bari)

In December '83 (that's 1983 not 1883 - Ed!) Frank and his long-suffering wife were having a pint with friends when a Barbershop Quartet high-jacked him. He joined two of them, Graham Dawes & Rob Parnham and, along with Kevin formed Pedigree. Frank has sung with two choruses and three other quartets and, until recently with the Nottingham Male Voice Choir. Frank says the peak for him has been singing with! Being the oldest singing member of YY, Frank thought a debonair Maurice Chevalier touch would do the trick!

Dave Hughes (lead)

I'm Dave, cuddling the curvy little body belonging to a Keech long scale ukulele.  It has some history as my father claimed he'd smuggled it onto a Royal Navy Corvette during WW2 disguised in a machine gun case.... but I could be getting the story mixed up with a gangster movie. Anyway, I am very fond of the Keech, knowing he'd cuddled it too in trying times, so I had it restored in his memory. YesterYear tried to learn a couple of songs with a ukulele, but most of us discovered our fingers fitted better round a pint glass. We once found them useful for swatting wasps when we were invaded by a swarm at a concert, and we could possibly paddle a floating grand piano in a flood, but we'll stick to singing, with just the odd song accompanied by my shapely friend.

Len Matthews(MC/compere)

Len, an ex-bobby, is the only non-singing member of our group.  He provides a little background to the songs we sing (not always relevant or indeed, accurate) but during our "rest periods" he has a fund of stories that are acceptable to all ages and should, fingers crossed, exercise your 'chuckle muscles'. Len is holding the cap badge of a friend of his who was sadly a victim of the Northern Ireland troubles. In 2012 Len was honoured and delighted to have been presented with Maundy money by Her Majesty, the Queen in recognition of his services to church life.

Andy Middleton (bari)

Andy's earliest singing memories are of his Dad and Uncles Jack, Wal and Don, singing close harmony round the piano at Christmas. He finally “found” barbershop harmony in 1991. The “buzz” of close harmony still thrills him but the delight of singing with Yesteryear is the wide variety of styles we tackle and the challenges they pose.  His Dad and his brothers would be chuffed to think that he is still enjoying the fruits of the seeds they sowed!

Mike McWhinney (bari/lead)

Having enjoyed all types of singing from a very early age, Mike was bitten by the a cappella bug in 1986 and has sung with several barbershop choruses since. He met up with Frank D and along with two others formed a senior Quartet "Silver Sound", more for the hair than the sound, and took the Gold medal first time out! He was delighted and honoured to be asked to sing with YY but as a BARITONE?! He had never sung a barren note in his life before. What a challenge and what fun!! Mike wishes he could sing as well as his Grandfather ran. This was his Blazer Badge from the 1908 Olympics in London. But we suppose four barbershop gold medals aren’t too bad to be going on with.

Chris Nixon (bass)

Yesteryear has been together longer than The Beatles and since the fab four are only likely to reform hologrammatically, I was delightfully stunned to be called by Kevin and invited to join as the small member of the bass section.   Last time I was head­hunted it ended badly and I will not be returning to New Guinea  any time soon. The joy of singing harmony came late, following decades dabbling in theatre, from writing and acting to sweeping the stage. This baton was given to me by Hathern Brass Band, whom I had the pleasure of conducting during a production of Brassed Off. Luckily for the audience they ignored

my direction completely.

Rob Parnham (lead)

Rob’s first recollection of singing was aged 5, when he was caught harmonising without instruction. He’s never been the same since!!  Rob has sung with church choirs; one MVC for 50 years; 3 barbershop choruses and numerous quartets, gaining seven 7 championship gold medals in the process. Rob loves the freedom of singing with YesterYear without a director. After managing to close four mines (!), he missed the “craic “and camaraderie that was part and parcel of the mining community. He found that by the shovelful (No. 9) in YesterYear, especially in the pub after a successful concert! The Davey lamp in the photo epitomises this part of Rob’s working life.

Martin Pickard (bari)

Martin's musical claim to fame is that he has sung on New Faces, and was the first English boy to sing on Bavarian State Radio. As you can see from the photo, this was some time ago! Martin sings mainly baritone but switches back to bass when he can't remember the baritone part! Martin is holding the mascot of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France where he worked as Ticketing Manager.

Sam Roper(tenor/lead/soloist)

Sam is the baby of the group! He keeps us all young, or at least that's the way we like to think about it! Sam loves rugby, jamming on his guitar and  a good sing, preferably accompanied with a good beer ..or two!!..

Sam says “I have always had a passion for odd shaped balls and in my line of work I’ve come across many! Rugby and singing have led me to the path of YesterYear - a team full of odd shaped bods and beautiful voices. Proud to part of this entertaining and experienced team and as the ‘young un’ in the group hope to lose the L plates soon.”

Rob Taylor (bass)

Despite having a large nose, and feet that point in different directions, Rob is nevertheless a well-travelled Bass singer. Rob also sings with a leading barbershop choir and The Grand Dads barbershop quartet. He lives in Derby with wife Sandra, and doesn't have a dog. His main priorities are to be a good Grandad to Isabella and Lilly, and not to fall off his bicycle.

Kevin Wilkinson (tenor)

YesterYear’s manager who confesses to being vertically challenged - but not quite as much as Martin . Whenever there is any smallish part to play in our performances then both of us get picked on relentlessly to act the fool. ‘Why don’t we ever pick on the tall basses for a change’? – he often cries!  Despite his lack of height he reckons he is ‘perfectly rounded’ and makes up one half of our highly pitched tenor section. His first album bought as a lad was this ‘Bookends’ LP and he’s been trying to replicate the voice of Art Garfuncle ever since. We are confident that his voice will break one day soon!