Our Choir's History
Northallerton Male Voice Choir was formed in 1968. The first rehearsal took place at the home of one of the founder members, Bert Whitaker, on Thursday the 18th of April, setting the start of weekly rehearsals on Thursday evenings, a feature that continues to the present day.
The first rehearsal was led by Bob Barratt, who acted as both Musical Director, Accompanist and one of the Choristers. In all there were five men. The first song ever rehearsed, 'The Old Woman', is a poem written by Joseph Campbell that was set to music and arranged by Scottish Composer, Sir Hugh Roberton. This song remains in our repertoire today, and was last performed by the Choir in 2012.
Within a few weeks of its formation, choir member numbers increased and rehearsals moved to Church House on Romanby Road, Northallerton. Accompanist, Elsie Coombs, joined the Choir and Bob and Elsie were to become the backbone of the choir for very many years.
The Choir took part in two concerts with other choirs and bands in September and October 1968 but held its first concert with Northallerton Light Orchestra (which Bob also directed) in Zion United Reformed Church on 22 April 1968.
The Choir's numbers and reputation grew over the years. The Choir has now assisted to raise significant sums of money for Charities and Organisations, singing in hundreds of venues, both locally and nationally (including the Royal Albert Hall) but also performing in France.
Elsie stepped down from the role of Accompanist in 1982, replaced by Mary Roebuck, who stayed with the choir until 1999. Bob stepped down from the role of Musical Director in 2002, instead taking the role of President until 2018; the year the Choir celebrated its Golden Anniversary.
Heartfelt thanks go to all of our former Musical Directors and Accompanists, which also include Mr Gerry Cryer, Mr Alec Jackson, Mrs Anthea Shepherdson-Peel, Mr Greg Smith and Mr Arthur Berwick.