The wonderful Ian Pell has sent me a great contribution relating to Brownhills Choral Society. This is unusual for Ian, as his regular field is transport history. Ian, you’ll recall, has written lots of great articles about the railways of our area.
This dovetails nicely with work David Evans and others are currently undertaking into the history of the choral tradition in Brownhills and it’s exponents. I have some stuff coming up on that at the weekend that will astound you.
I thank Ian for his generosity once again. Please, if you have any memories of these events, or anything else to say for that matter, either comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
I was wondering when the Brownhills Choral Society would crop up. Interesting photograph of the front of the Co-operative Society Hall and so not to disappoint here’s a view of the interior showing the labour exchange posters and cards on the walls and some choristers appearing to be in full flow at rehearsals.
The cutting makes reference to the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen which the society entered on a number of occasions, achieving a 3rd place in 1977 in the mixed choirs section.
Deryck was a very proud conductor when he went to collect the scroll from the judge’s tent. I remember that the coach was bedecked with a large Union flag over the front radiator and the bemusement of the coach driver who appeared to him to be driving a load of English people on a non-stop singing tour of North Wales!
In David Evan’s fine article, ‘Songs to Sing and Voices to Sing them‘, the picture illustrates the Walsall ‘Brass and Voices’ concert of 1979. The brochure is shown below together with some of the other events held by the Society in Walsall Town Hall. It is quite remarkable to think that the town hall was full to overflowing for many of these concerts and could have been filled twice over! Perhaps an over statement, but certainly there were many disappointed people who didn’t get tickets for the events. How times have changed?
The Brass Bands were some of the best bands of the music world including Fodens, Fairey, CWS Manchester, Morris Motors to name a few; while among the soloists were sopranos of the calibre of Maryetta Midgley, Cynthia Glover and Tenor Vernon Midgley.
There were visits to Pebble Mill (the BBC studios in Birmingham), recording session s in Pelsall and of course the single and the LP. Where was Terry Wogan when he was needed?
Indeed in 1979 it was reported that ‘a great contender for the pop and disco charts was the Society’s version of the Women’s Institute anthem Jerusalem – lyrics by William Blake’. Believe it or not it was actually taken up by Radio Luxembourg. So you see spin is nothing new!
At this point I have to say that like many things of the late 70’s, early 80’s it reflected both the uncertainties and the dramatic changes which were occurring in the country, although, at the time we were just people from all sorts of different backgrounds sharing a common enjoyment of the music we loved to sing. Happy Days.