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    The Later Years      1970 - 1980

                   Birmingham Icknield Male Voice Choir   

                                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.

 

 

 1971  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.

While on 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 appreciated.

 This 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 October, 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.

Many 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 year. 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.

Gloucester 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.

We had 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 ties.

Alf Dawson was elected Vice President. To promote the choir, Car stickers for the choir were produced

 

 

 

1974 Festival of Music at Broadway Comprehensive School, on 28th September 1974

Ruardean & Bournville were mentioned.

Pontyberem in Wales was visited on Sept 14th.

Some members joined the choir on Night School enrolment night.

Alf Dawson this year completed 50 years with choir

 

 

November 9th 1974, Recording of;

Icknield Choir Autumn Concert Church Lane Schools

Conductor Mike Adams,

Piano Accompanist Les Beach

1.                  The Orchestra Song

2.                  Soldiers Of The Queen. Soloist: Frank Roberts

3.                  Hungarian Marching Song

4.                  All Through The Night

5.                  Myfanwy (in English)

6.                  Eriskay Love Lilt.            Soloist: Mike Atkins

7.                  Neapolitan Song from Princess Pat Soloist: Don Beach

8.                  Song Of The Flea, Soloist: Frank Roberts

9.                  Sacramento

10.              Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves

11.              The Long Day Closes

Announcements by Les Bailey. Treasurer.

The Pianist “A Geoffrey” ? is thanked and presented

with a Beethoven Music book by Ron Adams

(Father of Mike Adams)

Louie Matthews & his wife are mentioned as is

President Alf Kirby, and Pianist Les Beech is thanked.

12.              National Anthem

                  Side 2

1.                  National Anthem

2.                  Jolly Roger

3.                  On The Sea

4.                  Steal Away           Soloist: Les Bailey    

5.                  Going Home         Soloist: Frank Roberts

6.                  Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel

7.                  Flow Gently Deva                Duet: F. Roberts & Mike Atkins

8.                  Quiet Sleep           (Believed Quintette)

9.                  Night                     Quintette: H. Carter & R. Adams 1st Tenor

                            M. Atkins 2nd Tenor

                            Les Bailey 1st Bass

                            Frank Roberts 2nd Bass

10.              Jacobs Ladder

11.              Drink To Me Only

12.              Martyrs Of The Arena

13.              Moon River

 

 

 

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 Williams Trophy,, 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

 

1977 the 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.

The Newtown Community Centre was again mentioned.

 

1978 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.    

                       

                                                               

                     

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