Contributed by Michael M. Dawson
The Loyal and Ancient Borough of Newcastle is fortunate to have a Male Voice Choir that bears its name and wears its coat of arms proudly upon their blazers.
The choir was originally formed in the village of Silverdale in the year 1910 by the amalgamation of two village chapel choirs. The majority of the then choristers worked in the local colliery and there was a local belief that the separate sections of the choir worked on their own different coal faces, and say, the tenor voices failed to respond to their part on time it alerted the other sections that there had possibly been a roof fall on the tenor coal face and help was required. This belief was possibly a local fallacy, one cannot conceive that with the terrible conditions down a mine , the coal dust, gas and the cramped working conditions which would be totally dependant upon the thickness of the coal seam being worked, that it would be conducive to singing. Most people would think that the only time a miner would feel like singing was when he arrived at the surface after completing his shift and saw the daylight again. In fact one of the choir’s older choral pieces is about a miner returning home from the colliery and singing “ Its good to feel the sun shine”.
Unfortunately with the outbreak of war in 1939 and the call-up of all the young men to serve in the armed forces the choir was disbanded. In 1943 however, a small group of the older members decided to reform the choir, possibly as a show of defiance to Adolf Hitler under the new name Newcastle Male Voice Choir. The new name was in part to attract singers from a wider area than the original village of Silverdale and this was shown to be successful Although there have been lean years when the membership fell to below 20, it has always recovered and there are between 50 to 60 choristers at the present time.
The choir over the years has entered and won competitions, toured and sung in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Britain, thus in its own way informing people that there is another Newcastle besides that other place “UP NORTH”. The choir has raised over recent years sums of £5,700 for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice and £1,350 for the Donna Louis Trust and are currently arranging a concert in aid of the Air Ambulance Service with a further concert in our centenary year in aid of the “Douglas Mac” The choir hold concerts, sing at weddings throughout the year and practises on Friday night at the Knutton Reformed Methodist Church, 7-30pm to 9-00pm.
The choir is always looking for new singers to swell its numbers. Remember you do not have to be a budding Pavarotti or be able to read a music score All that is required is the enjoyment of singing and the company of your fellow men. Our dedicated and talented Musical Director Jeanne Adams will instruct and guide you to your correct niche within the choir.
Should you wish to join the choir, hire the choir to raise funds or to sing at your wedding in order to make it that little bit special contact.
Mr. Michael Dawson Tel. No. 01782 621812 or Mr. E. Davies Tel. No. 01782 633203