Malvern Male Voice Choir 1922 – 2012
Malvern Male Voice Choir began life in 1922 as a male quartet, within a year expanding to become the Malvern Wells Male Voice Choir and winning several competitions and awards in the years that followed. The 30’s proved a testing time for the development of the choir with changes to its musical direction and leadership. The outbreak of war in 1939 halted what had emerged to be a much stronger organisation, a fact that is confirmed by its resumption in 1944 under Dorothy Leatherdale with some help from American servicemen billeted nearby. It returned to full stride again after the war when theBoysCollegereturned to Malvern from Harrow-on-the-Hill and in 1947 its musical director Leonard Blake began a long association between the College and the Choir which lasted until 1979. He later became its President.
The Choir gave broadcast concerts on the BBC in 1947, 48 and 49, as well as successfully entering competitions in Cheltenham, Leamington andBristol. In 1955 the Choir joined the National Federation of Music Societies and achieved success at the Bournville Competition. In the same year the Choir began a long association withLawnsideSchool. It won the Grayson Cup in 1958 as it had done previously in 1926 and 1951 and in the same year also won the Bourneville Shield. The Choir sang for the first time at the Llangollen Eisteddfod in 1963 joining choirs from Europe, theUSAand, of course,Wales. The Bournville Shield was again won in 1965 and concerts in the same year supported the British Empire Cancer League.
A successful and busy period followed and the Choir celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1982 with several large engagements including a massed concert in Hereford Cathedral to an audience of some 2,500 people. In October of that year the Choir won the ‘Severn Sound’ Challenge Shield. The last remaining member of the original quartet, Basil Hirons, died the same year on the same day as the Choir sang a massed concert in Tewkesbury Abbey. From then the Choir has enjoyed the services of five Musical Directors including Nigel Edwards, Simon Holt and Philip Holland who, in common with the Choirs current musical director Charles Pavey, have each expanded the range of its repertoire, adding variety and richness to its programmes.
In 2012, its 90th Anniversary year, the Choir mounts an ambitious range of concerts which will celebrate its diversity and see it joining forces with other local choirs, ensembles and soloists, carrying on the tradition of charitable support and accessible music making around theMalvern Hills area.
90 Years of Living Tradition