The Recent Years
1981 - 1990
Birmingham Icknield Male Voice
The history of the oldest choir in Birmingham. 1900 - 2007
A Spring Concert 1981, was held with suggested artistes, Pat
Nixon & John Layton at Lyttleton Theatre,
Midland Institute. Icknield attended at Newtown Anniversary Oct 18th
In the summer on the 11th July a Concert & recording
was done at Hatherton Church Walsall, Hatherton Rd.
Frank Roberts proposed Steve Roche our present MD as Deputy
Pianist & Deputy Conductor. Festivals mentioned were Bournville and Brownhills.
and performance. As with all churches we needed financial help so a concert
was proposed to help Elmwood Church with their £3000 repairs to drive and
donation of £50 was given. With regards to Blazers (Bernard Cupples) he stated
that “buying blazers for members from
choir funds.” .Members: mentioned were Tommy Daffon, Phil Ward, John Stokes, George Wilmott.
The Spring 1981 Concert was mentioned. It was noted that “Choir had 43 full members”.
Concert this year was 17th April at the
Lyttleton Theatre, in the
Midland Institute a very popular venue. The choir sang at the MASU Centre Cregoe
St., on the 13th June at their Annual Rally.
In the summer
on the 19th June a Concert & recording
was done at Hatherton Church Walsall, Hatherton Rd for the occasion of their
100th Year Anniversary.
At the Autumn Concert
present were the Icknield Ladies Choir, obviously
the ladies were a force to be reckoned with, plus “The Royles Harmony Group” were mentioned. This was a
male octet who were formed by a previous chorister
(a very good English tenor) named Royle Drew who also inspired Mark Evetts to do
monologues. It initially comprised Steve Roche as nominal conductor, Royle
Drew, John Stokes, Dave and Brian Ward, Dennis Ferguson, Alistair Campbell all
from IMVC and a singer called Malcolm Clark who was in
Erdington Operatic Group of which some of IMVC were also members, and after an
appearance in the Mikardo. They rehearsed on Sunday evenings in a studio
rented from John Stokes' singing teacher who was was quite well known as a
teacher above the fish and chip shop on the corner of Bristol Road and Smallbrook Queensway. After rehearsal the singers used to end up in the White
Swan around the corner where there was a piano – thirsty work!! Royle Drew
retired to Norwich where he still lives and Mark Evetts took his place. They did a number of small
concerts in various old people's homes, singing for blind persons, and also
appeared at at least in one IMVC Autumn concert, and Royle also managed to arrange
concerts at the Midland Institute in Margaret Street. It was formed probably
around 1980 or so, Steve Roche left it after a number of years and Stan Phillips
took over for a while and then a professional musician Andrew Grace took over.
A concert at Birmingham Town Hall 26th Nov 1983
was proposed. Life Members: created this year were Alf Dawson, Les Bailey,
Harry Harrison, Bernard Duffield. Choir
uniforms were discussed, and a member Bernard Cupples said would contact Rackhams. It
was proposed that dark blue blazers should be obtained with an emblem
on the pocket, showing a music clef, with the “Hands of Friendship” clasped in
welcome with Grey Flannels, and a Blue Tie with music clef and initials “I.M.V.C”.
completed our uniform. In 1924 a hand said “Welcome”, and it did in 1982, and it
continues until the present day. A concert was held on October 18th
at The Church of St. Stephen the Martyr, Rednal.
A performance was given in the Lyttleton
Theatre, Birmingham Midland Institute, which included the Royles and the Icknield
Ladies Choir, on Oct 30th.
January 16th our President Alf Kirby died.
A Spring Concert on Sat 16th April
was held at the Lyttleton Theatre, at the Birmingham Midland Institute
and on August 27th.
the choir attended at the Newtown Anniversary on Oct 23rd .
A festival was mentioned on the
23/8/83 but the
location was not stated, possibly
Brownhills. It was mentioned that the choir were considering buying a new piano. To raise funds car
stickers were proposed and also the sale of choir diaries.
A Concert & recording
as in past years was done at Hatherton Church Walsall, Hatherton Rd.
It was agreed that the next Autumn concert should be
dedicated to Alf Dawson, who had spent an amazing 60 years in the choir. The
choir ever mindful of raising standards made enquiries about dates of the
Leamington & Tamworth Festivals.
The Autumn Concert was on 22nd October.
On Saturday 13th Oct
at the Brownhills
40th Annual Competitive Festival we were awarded a
1st with 88 pts
in the Test “B” “Marching Song”, with Don Beach Conductor. 86 pts to Alcester MVC, 84 pts Vaughan Singers Sutton Coldfield.
In Test “B” “The Song Of
The Jolly Roger” 82 pts were awarded to Pyehill and District MVC Derby.
Programme. Picture of Choir at Elmwood. A
presentation clock was obtained and inscribed for Alf Dawson. 26th
February, who was 75yrs of age and presented at the choir annual dinner to commemorate his 60
yrs with the choir. A member George
Gilles resigned from the Choir.
Icknield Choir attended at the Newtown Anniversary Oct 21st.
A concert was taken part in at Trinity Road Church, Handsworth on the 27th October.
A Spring Concert 1983 Sat 27th April at the
Lyttleton Theatre. A combined choir concert was mentioned at the Birmingham Town
Hall. Prize money of £50 from Brownhills Festival was mentioned, and the Dudley
Music Festival on the 30th March. With progressive ideas it was felt that a music committee
should be formed. The Methodist Central Hall was suggested as a venue for a
joint choir concert. A concert was performed at the
Birmingham Midland Institute on 8th June 1985 of songs by
Norman Thornton including his song "Birmingham".
MVC Concert was held to celebrate their 30th
Anniversary, on 12th October at the Birmingham Town Hall, with
massed male voice choirs. Icknield Choir attended at Newtown Anniversary Oct 27th
The Autumn concert at the Adrian Boult Music Centre on 12th
Sep would be held with musicians from the Birmingham School of Music (2
Instrumentalists & one pianist). This was the first concert held at this venue.
The Annual Concert at the Adrian Boult Hall, on Sat 6th December. The
song by Norman Thornton “Birmingham” was performed at this concert. The Lodge of Hope was mentioned and Mr Frank Roberts said we
had sung for them for 25yrs. It was proposed that we always sing the National
Anthem at concerts as we used to do. The Burton Festival was mentioned, and
travelling costs were £60.
Don Beach was to conduct at New Street Station complex on 9/12/86
assumed that this was a Christmas concert)
1987 On July 11th we sang with Canoldir to celebrate
their 21st Anniversary with other choirs from the Midlands and Wales
at the NEC. The combined choir numbered over a 1000 voices and sang to about
8000. Quite an experience. A piano repair was discussed, which was finally
resolved with a member Dave Ward presenting a second hand piano to the choir,
and it was repaired for £50. The other piano was to be sold to the piano tuner.
Unfortunately the piano tuner informed us that the instrument we have is scrap!,
repairable. A replacement quote was obtained of £899. It was decided that the choir needed an identity for casual
appearances and blue choir sweaters for £10 and £12 would be purchased and the
choir would pay for a logo, at £55. This were finally bought in 1988. The choir travelled to the
Morecambe Festival but it was
Jack Roberts a long standing member died
Icknield Choir attended at Newtown Anniversary Oct 18th
The replacement piano cost £685 not as suggested £899 due to
a member John Stokes negotiating, and selling the old one for £90. The Spring
Concert was held at Elmwood. The Brownhills Festival to be entered, on the 8th
Oct. A Piano was finally obtained for £785. We could not have an MD without a music stand, so one
was purchased for £75. It was arranged that we would perform with Rolls Royce MVC for a
combined concert at the Adrian Boult Hall 22nd Oct, with Hazel Wibberley
Conductor of the Rolls Royce Choir, and Lesley Delo the soloist, (possibly this was the joint Rolls
Royce concert?) and of course a “return match” had to be arranged, this at
Derby next year on the 18th November. Icknield Choir attended at
Newtown Anniversary Oct 23rd. The Lichfield Festival to be entered 19th Nov.– “Evening Pastorale”
to be sung. A joint proposed concert at West Bromwich Town Hall 2nd
December (Charity Concert) believed to be with K& J Male Voice Choir. Also
Christmas music from Cannock Chase MVC was given to Don Beach to consider. All
in all a busy year!
1989 The choir
entered the Burton on Trent Festival on 1st April and Icknield
brought back the silver! gaining 1st Place and awarded the Bass
Worthington Silver Cup
the songs were “The Old Woman” and “Shortnin' Bread” - we beat Burton on Trent
choir (only 2 entrants) in the class that Steve Roche conducted, and lost to
them in the class which Don Beach conducted.
A birthday party for Alf Dawson was held.
More concerts were planned,
including Witton Rd URC 8/4/89, the Annual
Concert on 30th September, and a concert with the West Midlands Police MVC on 14th Oct. at the Birmingham Town Hall to celebrate
Birmingham’s Centenary. A song called “Birmingham” was suggested at the Autumn
concert specially written for the choir by choir member Norman Thornton, which
in the event was not performed. Not only was the Brownhills Music Festival mentioned, but a
combined concert with Brownhills MVC. We also appeared on
the 28th October with Bournville MVC and John Heddle Nash as guest
Icknield Choir attended at Newtown Anniversary Oct 29th.
Also a concert with the Rolls
Royce MVC at Derby on 18th
November, and participation proposed for a carol concert at the NEC.
The Burton Competition
on the 21st April featured Items “Waltzing Matilda”, “Kym Ba Yah”
and “Gwahoddiad” – “Evening Pastorale”, and Don Beach to conduct..
“Gwahoddiad” was also sung at the next Elmwood Concert in dedication to the
late member Frank Roberts and the music at the Adrian Boult concert to be
dedicated to the Robert’s brothers. See “personalities” A concert was held on
Sat 15th September at Wilton Road URC. A
combined MVC concert was held at Bournville on 6th Oct. with guest
soprano Lesley Delo, who was well known in the Midlands and “No Strings” who a
previous Icknield conductor, Mike Adams was part of. We received a request to perform at
St. Theresa's Parish Church Jubilee Celebration on the 19th Oct.
Steve Roche our Assistant Conductor unfortunately had plans to move on, and as
a gesture from the choir was presented with a baton. This left us with a
vacancy for an assistant pianist which was filled by pianist Keith Airyes.
Clive Humpage the Chairman suggested an advertising banner for use on choir
trips. A suggestion was made by Stan Philips about obtaining an Electronic
attended at Newtown Anniversary Oct 28th
This brings the choir to the late 1980s.
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