Later Years 1970 - 1980
Birmingham Icknield Male Voice
The history of the oldest choir in Birmingham. 1900 - 2007
1970 More festivals were entered, Bournville
July 5th, Ruardean June 28th.
This year was the
death of Harold Winters on the 4th September, conductor for 38yrs.
Mr Harold Winters
from being a humble choir member with no
experience, who at first refused to take over the conductorship, became in
various spheres, someone well respected and admired. Beside leading the choir to its
many festival successes, he was invited to conduct Massed Adult School Choirs at
a Rally held at Birmingham Town Hall and later was appointed to conduct Massed
Choirs from Evening Classes, by the Education Committee, once again at
Birmingham Town Hall.
Les Beach succeeded
him as conductor with Don Beach,
his brother as Assistant Conductor, and Mike Adams as Pianist.
Jack Roberts thought we should
try to increase the choir to 50.
In what was most probably one the high lights of the choir, we were
invited to give a concert in Wales, this was at
Pontyberem a village in
Carmarthenshire, the date being the 26th April 1971. Although the
arrangements had been made during the time of the past conductor Mr Harold
Winters, we carried on under the new Conductor Mr Les Beach.
Harold would have been
delighted to have taken the choir to Wales, if only to show that choirs of
30 – 40 voices, properly trained could sing in the Land of Song with pride
and success, unfortunately it was not to be for him, but the choir felt
indebted to him, and in his memory were determined not to let him down. We
proceeded with the visit to Pontyberem, and after a nice meal provided by
our hosts, we had a practice to loosen up. The Hall was an old cinema
,then used as a club by the British Legion.
As you may
realise being a cinema sound and acoustics were good. The first item given
to large audience, eagerly waiting to hear what we had to offer, we sang
“The Call Of The Hunter”, we did not have long to wait to know we were still
singing last chord when the audience stood, and gave a terrific reception
calling for more, from that moment on it was just one continued sound of
joy, both to them and us. The choir was immediately asked to return, which
the choir fulfilled 2 or 3 times.
Pontyberem we also sang on Sunday morning at church, the second time round
we sang at a Protestant and a Roman Catholic, and these visits were much
was a time of strain for members, as members were leaving the area and
others, passing on, new members were hard to come by.
So with the new Conductor, Les Beach we just carried on, and for both
conductor and choir, change can be very upsetting, whilst each may know each
other well, it still takes time to get settled with each other, Success
under Les came with winning again at Ruardean on June 26th, also
singing as usual at local concerts, for example Dorrington Rd 18th
March, 24TH April, Annual Spring Concert at Church Lane Schools,
St. Michaels M.G. April 30th, Hall Green Methodists Sept 11th,
Lyndhurst “over 60s Club” Inkberrow Redditch, Sept 15. Lapal ? Scout Group
Nov 27th , the MASU, Annual Rally Cregoe St. Centre, Sunday 22nd
and festivals including Bournville on July 6th.
Also on September 18th
we celebrated Les Beach and Hortense Beach’s marriage.
1972 The choir sang at the MASU Annual
Rally at Cregoe St. Centre, on Sunday 22nd October, with Mike
Adams pianist, and Les Beach Conductor. The Annual Spring Concert was on the
22nd April at Church Lane Schools.
members felt we should be moving forward more quickly, so at the Annual
General Meeting, it was proposed in future the Chairman be elected for one
Charles Roberts had retired, so the new Chairman was Les Bailey and also Mike
Adams was voted in as Conductor with Don Beach as Deputy Conductor, and
pianist Les Beach. Mike Adams had studied piano from the age of 7yrs, and
accordion from 14yrs. Within two years he had won 1st prize at the
Birmingham Music Festival and subsequently performed at festivals and concerts
throughout the Midlands. The
total for this year’s
engagements were 18, including St. John’s Church Perry Barr, St. Philips Old
Boys, Waterworks Rd, and St. Marks Kingstanding. Festivals mentioned were
Ruardean and Bournville, and a visit to
Pontyberem Wales Nov 18th.
Brass Band Association letter referred to a concert earlier in the year,
possibly at Ruardean?
1973 17 engagements were undertaken
this year, including Bournville 7th July, and Ruardean were
successful, with the Clent Hills visited on the way back, (choirs tend to
develop thirsts!), also Pontyberem in
March was entered.
several choir dinners over the years, and this year was at Crown & Cushion
Perry Barr. We sang in the Newtown Community Centre, and a New Year's party
is mentioned and a social evening. This of course was part of the Adult
Early Morning School, which was also used for a Jumble Sale on Nov 3rd.
It was in
this year that the Bow Tie was adopted, prior to this many choirs used dress
was elected Vice President.
promote the choir, Car stickers for the choir were produced
Festival of Music at Broadway Comprehensive School,
on 28th September 1974
Bournville were mentioned.
in Wales was visited on Sept 14th.
joined the choir on Night School enrolment night.
Dawson this year completed 50 years with choir
November 9th 1974,
Autumn Concert Church Lane Schools
Conductor Mike Adams,
Piano Accompanist Les Beach
The Orchestra Song
Soldiers Of The Queen. Soloist: Frank Roberts
Hungarian Marching Song
All Through The Night
Myfanwy (in English)
Eriskay Love Lilt. Soloist: Mike Atkins
Neapolitan Song from Princess Pat Soloist: Don Beach
Song Of The Flea, Soloist: Frank Roberts
Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves
The Long Day Closes
by Les Bailey. Treasurer.
The Pianist “A
Geoffrey” ? is thanked and presented
with a Beethoven
Music book by Ron Adams
(Father of Mike
& his wife are mentioned as is
Kirby, and Pianist Les Beech is thanked.
On The Sea
Steal Away Soloist: Les Bailey
Going Home Soloist: Frank Roberts
Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel
Flow Gently Deva Duet: F. Roberts & Mike Atkins
Quiet Sleep (Believed Quintette)
Night Quintette: H. Carter & R. Adams 1st Tenor
M. Atkins 2nd Tenor
Les Bailey 1st Bass
Frank Roberts 2nd Bass
Drink To Me Only
Martyrs Of The Arena
1975 The choir were very fond of
outings and this year it was in the Cotswold on June 8th. Regarding
the Pontyberem recent visit it was suggested that £15 be sent to the British
Legion for their funds. But at the Bournville festival we gave a disappointing
performance. During this period the choir had about three moves, partly
triggered by Evening Institute fees and cutbacks which had risen out of all
proportion so we moved to Somerset Rd, Church Hall, but again had to move as the building
was due to be converted to an Indian temple.
1976 The Newtown Centre, in 1976 was looked at
as a rehearsal venue but unfortunately the room was not at all suitable for
music. On 26th April the Spring Concert was held at the Church Lane
Schools. It is noted that we rehearsed in the Boy’s School. Sid Banning completed 50
years with choir
Attendance at the Brownhills festival was mentioned and also it was
noted by Les Bailey, that at Ruardean on June 26th
“the choir sang brilliantly”and obtained a first and the George
PIC OF PROGRAMME and also at The Masonic Lodge, but others said that at the
Bournville Festival the choir’s performance was “rubbish”
The choir had an outing on 23rd May to Bristol Zoo,
Cheddar, Weston Super Mare
at which some members are pictured here
The repertoire was also open to debate and there was a complaint by
some members that the choir sing too many Negro Spirituals.
A move from Church Lane Schools was discussed as time was pressing.
As with all organisations money was important and it was stated that
“the financial state is perilous”
A concert was held on Sunday 21st November at St. Andrew
Church, Clifton Campville
Spring Concert was mentioned and
at the Brownhills & Bournville Festivals “we sang well”
At the AGM in June comments
were made that in the Brownhills & Bournville
festivals we sang well. With regard to the Ruardean Festival it was noted that Mike
Adams (Conductor) could not be present.
To help with finances it was suggested that the choir should in
future charge a concert fee.
Community Centre was again mentioned.
The Chairman Charlie Roberts approached Elmwood United Reform Church
for rehearsal purposes. The cost was a reasonable £3 per week (for 50 weeks)
so we accepted this and moved to a
room there in the Spring.
Again it was noted that Choir’s motto is “Friendship Through Music”
The choir attended the Bournville Festival in the Autumn.
1979 Unfortunately our Conductor Michael Adams,
decided to give up, as he was now married and rearing a family, and could not
fit the choir into his life, so after having three conductors in 70yrs we now
have had three conductors in ten. Don Beach, brother of Les our pianist was
appointed the replacement conductor. Mike Adams went on in later years to appear with
Icknield Choir in a group called “No Strings” Mike Adams played the Piano
Accordion, and a Peter Gosling the Clarinet.
The Spring Concert 28th April
1979 was at the MASU headquarters in Cregoe Street. Betty Gibbs was the soloist.
1980 Now that Don Beach was the conductor and
Les Beach the pianist we needed a deputy. John Lycett a member tried to find if possible a deputy
pianist. The idea of Mrs Rainbow (Alf Dawson’s Daughter) helping out for a few
times was suggested. It was noted this year that we had obtained
“many new members”. A Relief Pianist a Mr Sanders, was suggested. The Spring Concert
was at the Broadway Comprehensive
School Sat 19th April. The Autumn Concert was at Church Lane
School on Oct 25th As our practices needed more precision a
Metronome was purchased, @ £13.95, and for all the thank you letters a Typewriter at
£25. We also obtained 500 sheets of official notepaper for £15.75 Charlie Roberts
(see Choir personalities) died this year, from
cancer, a long standing and respected member. We performed at the URC Church in Wilton
Road Sat June 14th. We decided this year to have some new choir
ties, plain navy blue with gold motif. With all the hard work of rehearsing the
piano had badly deteriorated, and was “urgently in need of repair”. A member G. Gilles suggested a uniform of
Blazers & Flannels
As we were moving into the cold world of finance a possible sponsorship from
Beaufort Arms, Hamstead. (Courage Brewery) was suggested. Choirs tended to
support them so it was felt they should support us!!
This brings the choir to the late 1970s.
Phone No. 07985041167
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