ARTS CLUBS & SOCIETIES
The City Of Coventry Male Voice
At one time in Coventry there were fifteen
male voice choirs - that was in the days when the city was a major centre of
manufacturing, particularly in the motor industry. The City choir is now the only one left
still singing in traditional four part harmony.
The history of the choir is as varied as
its musical repertoire, the choir starting its life some 50 years ago. The origins came
from an amalgamation of the miners from Binley colliery joining with like-minded singers
from the Coombe Social Club to form the Binley Male Voice Choir in 1946.
The original membership numbered only ten,
but the enthusiasm for singing soon attracted more. The colliery workers coming from Wales
to work at Binley soon had the choir growing and by the end of the first year numbers had
swelled to thirty.
Progress was encouraging until 13 July 1947
when disaster struck. On that Friday Jack Clay the Conductor and other members of the
choir were killed in a tragic mining accident.
The choir immediately set about organising
concerts to raise money for the disaster fund and raised considerable amounts under the
new leadership of Jenkyn Morgan.
The choir went from strength to strength in
the ensuing years, and regularly took part in competitions and eisteddffords as well as
appearing in many prestigious concerts throughout the country. They performed with many
well known soloists of the day.
Although the Binley colliery closed down many years ago the
choir continued, albeit with singers now coming from more varied walks of life.
In recent years the choir has raised many thousands of pounds for charities and
regularly appear at major massed choir concerts. They have also been successful in various
In 1992 it was decided that the name of the City of Coventry should be carried by the
choir to enhance its identity. An inaugural concert was held to celebrate this change on 6
November 1992 in St Marys Guildhall, and the choir now officially carries the City emblem.
Since the change of name, the choir has been promoting itself by giving various
concerts throughout the Midlands. Most of these have been local and have been in support
of various charities and good causes. In the last few years several thousand pounds for
charities such as Myton Hospice and those connected with cancer treatment at Walsgrave
Hospital and Parkinsons Disease.
The choir has travelled as far as Barnstable in the west, and up to Bingley in the
north to give concerts and to support other male voice choirs. Venues over recent years
have included Bedworth, Rugby, Nuneaton, Birmingham, Derby, Biddulph, Sidmouth,
Gloucester, Northampton, Kenilworth, Leamington, Warwick, Amesbury, Lytham St Annes and
The repertoire of music the choir sing has changed over recent years and although
traditional songs are included in concerts, there is now a leaning toward more modern
composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Paul McCartney and Aaron Copland. The Musical
Director is always on the lookout for distinctive pieces she knows the choir will enjoy
In October 1996, the choir celebrated its 50 years and held a Celebration Golden
Jubilee Concert in the presence of the Lord Mayor and other dignitaries. The concert was a
huge success, and guest choirs from Barnstable and Stratton on Dunsmore gave their support
by joining in the concert. One of the ambitions of the choir is to build a really strong
membership to become the leading male voice choir in the Midlands.
The choir have made recordings in the past and plan to make another recording which
will be available on CD and tape. They are also planning a tour abroad.
The choir rehearse every Wednesday from
to 9.30pm at the Foleshill Community Centre, Foleshill Road in Coventry.
The choir give on average 12 concerts a
year. They also perform at weddings, functions and special charity events.
For more details contact the Secretary:
c/o Foleshill Community Centre
757 Foleshill Road
t 024 7668 8326