Chester Male Voice Choir: 80th Anniversary 1941 - 2021

Year Highlights


A busy Year - the Choir sang at 23 concerts/events and at 7 Weddings, four of which were in Wales.

The Choir returned to Tatton Park for the Christmas Concerts for the fourth year.


Still finding new venues - 12 this year. 21 events in all!

Outdoor concert for the National Trust at Erddig House, Wrexham.

Won the first prize in the Male Voice Choir competition at the North Wales Choral Festival at Llandudno.

Invited to sing at Tatton Park for Christmas at Tatton for the third successive year.


In April a new Choir photograph was taken in in Chester Cathedral.

Big year for singing at Weddings - five in the year.

The Choir sang at the Shrewsbury Flower Show for the second time.

Very successful recording and launch of the new CD - ‘2012’

Invited back to sing at Tatton Park for ‘Christmas at Tatton’

Took the Christmas Concert to Heswall for the first time.


The 70th Anniversary Year of the Choir.

Anniversary Dinner at the Ramada Hotel, Christleton.

Spring Festival returns to Town Hall.

Cyril Thomas the Choir's then oldest singing member retired at the age of 90 after singing in the Choir for 62 years.

As further celebration of 70 years existence the Choir shared its Autumn Festival with amongst others The Low Fell Singers and Harrow Apollo Male Choir, two choirs who were also formed in 1941.

The Choir sang in four Christmas concerts including a first time visit to the Gladstone Theatre at Port Sunlight and an appearance at Tatton Park for the prestigious Christmas at Tatton series of concerts.


January - Earthquake a concert for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal at Chester Cathedral.

March - NAC Six Choir’s concert at Ellesmere Port Civic Centre.

July - new Choir recording ‘Live at Chester Cathedral’ published.

August - Appearance at Shrewsbury Flower Show.

September - Took part in the North Wales Choral Festival in Llandudno.

December - A Star for Christmas concert for Age UK at Manchester Cathedral with Nicky Spence, Manchester Chorale, the Choirgirl Isobel, and stars from Coronation Street.


May - Tour to Weston-Super-Mare singing in Gloucester Cathedral, Wells Cathedral and at the National Memorial Arboretum.

July - Appearances at Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

October - Festival of Brass and Voices in aid of Cancer Research UK at the Royal Albert Hall.

December - shared Christmas concerts at Hoole and Holywell with Chester Ladies’ Choir.


April - Festival with the Black Dyke Band at Chester Cathedral.

October - Festival at Chester Cathedral with Rhys Meirion.


In August the Kidderminster Valentines visit Chester and share the stage at concerts with the Choir and Chester Ladies Choir.

In September a short tour to Bournemouth with a concert with the Dorset Police Choir planned.

September - International Convention Centre Birmingham with the Band of the Royal Air Force College Band at Charity Boxing Event on stage with many boxing legends from the past.

October Festival concert at Chester Cathedral with Maria Friedman.

October Prom Praise at Chester Cathedral


Early in the year, and after only a short time as conductor of the Choir, Hugh Dunley leaves the Choir.

The Choir takes part in a mass concert at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall organised by No. 6 Region of National Association of Choirs.

Rodney T. Jones is appointed as the fifth conductor of the Choir.

On the 20th May the the Festival Concert takes place outside Chester at the Civic Hall, Ellesmere Port.

For the third consecutive year the Choir sings in the Cathedral for the travelling guests of the Northern Belle (Orient Express) train which is visiting Chester on its Grand Tour.

On the 22nd September the Festival Concert returns to Chester to be staged at Chester Cathedral. The star guest artiste is Sir Willard White.

In December the Choir pays a return visit to sing in Walsall with the Warley Male Voice Choir.

The Christmas concert is held at the Cathedral and is a shared venture with Chester Ladies Choir. Rodney T. Jones conducts both of his choirs.


In January the Choir takes part in and takes a leading part in organising the concert ‘Tsunami’ at the Northgate Arena. The concert raises £15,000 for the Tsunami Relief Fund.

After 8 years as Director of Music, Granville Lund leaves the Choir. He is made an Honorary Member of the Choir.

The death is announced of J.H. Reece, Vice-President of the Choir since 1948.

The Lord Mayor of Chester’s Office agree that the Lord Mayor of Chester should ex-officio be the Vice-President of the Choir.

In September Hugh Dunley is appointed as Musical Director of the Choir.

On the 7th October the Choir appears in the Prom Praise concert at the Cathedral under the temporary baton of Rodney T. Jones.

On the 14th October the Festival concert is staged for the first time ever at Chester Cathedral. Hugh Dunley conducts the Choir and the star guest for this the 114th Festival concert was Katherine Jenkins.


Sadly on the 17th March, after a prolonged illness, Fred Warren died peacefully at his home with his friends. Fred was founder of the Choir and its conductor for the first 50 years.

The Choir launches its first web site -

The Choir takes part in a concert with several other choirs in the Civic Hall at Ellesmere Port. The concert is organised by No. 6 Region of the National Association of Choirs.

The Choir tour to Scotland took place between the 15th and 21st May.

On June 11th a Service of Celebration of the life of Fred Warren took place at Chester Cathedral.

The Lord Mayor of Chester’s Office agree that the Lord Mayor of Chester should ex-officio be the Vice-President of the choir.


Joint tour (with Highfield Male Voice Choir) to Cardiff in July. The Choir sings in Hereford Cathedral, Tewkesbury Abbey, and in the ‘Cathedral of the Rhondda’. (St Peter’s Church at Pentre).


The Choir celebrates its 60th Anniversary with a Dinner at the Queen Hotel, Chester.

A history of the first sixty years of the Choir entitled "We Sing to Serve" written and compiled by Stuart Limb and Mike Heathcote is published in paperback form.

Choir Tour to Tenby, Pembrokeshire 21st to 24th September.


April - Joint Concert with Caerphilly Ladies Choir at All Saints Church, Hoole

August - the fifth consecutive year that the Choir appear at Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno in the popular series of summertime concerts.

The Choir now has 60 singing members.

The Choir is awarded a grant of £5000 from the National Lottery ‘Awards for All’ Scheme.


The Cestrian Male Voice Choir, so called since 1946, changes its name to become known as Chester Male Voice Choir.

23rd to 30th March - Concert tour to Malta and Gozo.

April - A "Concert for Kosova" emergency appeal staged at The Town Hall raises £4250 for the refugees of Kosova. Martin Bell M.P. is the guest speaker.

Concert for the National Cycling Club at Rees Heath, Nantwich.

December - "Sounds Like Christmas" the annual Christmas concert is performed, at the Town Hall,for the first time.


April - the Choir and the Highfield Male Voice Choir sing for Her Majesty The Queen and Price Phillip at Rocksavage, Runcorn. 15th and 16th October. The 100th Festival Concerts take place at the Town Hall.. The Choir’s President, Her Grace The Duchess of Westminster is the guest of honour at the Thursday concert. The Right Worshipful The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor David Nield and the Lady Mayoress Mrs. Ann Nield are the guests of honour at the Friday concert.

The Choir wears its new, red jacket, uniforms, which have been generously donated by Choir member David Owen.

11th December 1998 - The Northgate Arena Christmas Concert, "Music for Christmas", also features the Highfield Male Voice Choir.


March - Peter Macken conducts the Choir at the Town Hall for the 97th Festival in place of the retiring Peter Dalton.

Saturday 15th March - North Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs concert at the Northgate Arena.

Saturday 5th April, - The sixth ‘1000 Voice’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Granville C. Lund is appointed as the Director of Music. His first engagement with the Choir, as conductor, is at Llandudno.

20th December "The Magic of Christmas" is the Christmas concert at the Northgate Arena in aid of the Countess of Chester Hospital Heartbeat 2000 Appeal.


March - "West End Praise" - a prestige concert at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe, in aid of the Research Trust for Metabolic Diseases in Children.

April - St. Georges Day Concert in the Central Hall at Longton, Staffordshire.

6th July - Annual Charity Concert in aid of the Chester Branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at the Northgate Arena with the Cheshire Youth Brass Band and Haydock Male Voice Choir. Appropriately the Choir and Band present a special arrangement, by Choir honorary member Michael Williams, of the hymn "For Those in Peril on the Sea."


18th to 23rd April - The Choir tour to Sens, Chester’s twin city, in France. Diana Palmerston is the guest artiste on tour.

May - The Choir is represented amongst the many taking part in an open air concert in Hyde Park London to mark the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day. The concert, which was attended by H.M. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family together with a live audience estimated in number at 150,000, featured a galaxy of star names including, Dame Vera Lynn, Cliff Richard, and Evelyn Page, and was broadcast live by the BBC.

1st July - "Bless ‘em All" a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the ending of World War II. This concert at the Northgate Arena was in aid of Service Charities and also featured the Band of the Royal Air Force College, the Haydock Male Voice Choir and other Guest Artistes.


March - The Choir again join the North Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs in the fifth ‘1000 Voices’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Saturday 4th May - another ‘Concert in a Tent’! - at Highley in Shropshire. This one was a small leaking tent but the concert was ‘highley’ enjoyable!

Sunday 29th May - Concert in Tatton Park for the National Caravan Rally. A 1500 hundred strong audience pack a huge, decorated, marquee for an immensely successful concert shared with Diana Palmerston, The Clwyd Clippers, and the Panatonic Steel Band.

July - The Annual Charity Concert in the Town Hall is in aid of The Royal National Institute for the Blind. Sufficient funds are raised to provide a talking book (the autobiography of Ronnie Barker) which is dedicated to the Choir.

December - "Carolcade" concert for the NCH action for Children at Chester Cathedral with the Manchester Boys Choir.


April - "The Magic of the Musical" - the Annual Charity Concert at the Northgate Arena, in aid of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, with, amongst other guests, a special appearance of the Newton School Choir from Boston, U.S.A. with conductor Helen Taylor.

May - The Choir joins other massed choirs with the ‘World Choir’ and Shirley Bassey at Cardiff Arms Park.


Summer Charity Concert at the Town Hall with with Alexandra Gordon and Vernon Midgley in aid of Leukaemia Research.

The Choir compete in the Male Voice Choir Section at the Buxton Music Festival and are awarded the winning shield.


The Choir’s Golden Jubilee year. 50 years of ‘Singing to Serve.’

March - Honorary Choir members, Maryetta and Vernon Midgley and John Wilson are the guest artistes at the 85th Festival which marked the Choir’s 50th anniversary. This is the last Festival with Fred Warren as conductor of the choir.

The Choir record "The Cestrian Male Voice Choir - 50 Golden Years 1941 - 1991 and feature in a video recording of the same name.

The anniversary is marked by a celebration dinner at the Chester International Hotel. Civic guests, and other guests from all over the world, attend.

In April the fourth ‘1000 Voices’ Concert takes place in the Royal Albert Hall, London. On this occasion Fred Warren is honoured by being invited to conduct the 1000 Voices in singing "Morte Criste" in recognition of his unique 50 year record as conductor of the Cestrian Male Voice Choir.

May - the Choir tour Cornwall with concerts in Newquay, Penzance, Falmouth and Mevagissy.

The last concert on the tour, at St. Michael’s Church, Newquay, marked the retirement, after 50 continuous years, of Fred Warren - a unique record of service that must, surely, rank as a world record. He is appointed Senior Vice-President and Founder Member of the Choir and continues as a singing member.

His retirement is marked by the planting of an oak tree in Grosvenor Park.

Fred Warren is elected as ‘Man of the Year’ in the MANWEB Awards conduducted by the Chronicle Group of Newspapers. The Choir has 91 singing members at this time.

Peter Dalton is appointed as Musical Director. He first conducts the Choir on the 8th June at the Summer charity concert in aid of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund at the Town Hall with the Cheshire Constabulary Band.

12th July - Open air concert at Tatton Park for the Caravan Club Cheshire Centre’s 3000th rally.


February - A concert with Foden’s Band at Crewe.

26th August to the 3rd September - the Choir’s sixth overseas tour to Valkenburg, Holland. Geraint Jones is the guest artiste on tour.

The October Festival (The 82nd ) sponsored by Nationwide Anglia Building Society brings the young, and later to be world famous, Bryn Terfel to the Festival concert platform, following, some thirty years later, in the footsteps of his mentor Sir Geraint Evans.


The third ‘1000 Voices’ concert in the Royal Albert Hall, London.

October - The 80th Festival with Vernon and Maryetta Midgely - sponsored by Marks and Spencers Financial Services Ltd. - Ronald Medlicott, the choir’s deputy conductor conducted the Choir on this occasion due to the indisposition of Fred Warren. The programme for these concerts included a photograph of the Choir taken at the first Festival concert.


Summer Charity Concert in the Town Hall for Hospice of the Good Shepherd with the Debrose Ladies Choir.


February - Concert with the North Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs in Deeside Leisure Centre recorded for a St. David’s Day television transmission.

Saturday 9th March - The Choir join in the second ‘1000 Voices" concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

May - Visit to Chester by the Mannenkoor Vriezenveen with a concert in the Town Hall.

November - Combined concert with the Debrose Ladies Choir in Rochdale.

The Choir moves to its present rehearsal home, St. Andrews Church, Newgate Street.


The March Festival is the last of five Festivals (all one night concerts) to be held in the Northgate Arena. Despite valiant attempts the venue has proved to be unsuitable for the type of concert presented at the Festivals.

May - The Choir’s fifth overseas tour to Beek, Ludwigshafen, and Vriezenveen. Gwen Davies is the guest artiste on tour.

The October Festival moves to the Town Hall for the first time with a two night (Thursday and Friday) format. The Choir, appropriately having just left the Northgate Arena, sing "A Roman War Song" as their Festival opener at the new venue. The Festival concerts have remained at the Town Hall to the present day.


Sunday 26th June - BBC Songs of Praise recording at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Monday 4th July - American Independence Day Concert at the Town Hall in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Westminster with the Radcliff College Choir from Harvard University, Massachusetts, U.S.A. (The Choir hosted the ladies’ choir for the whole of this weekend).

Saturday 15th October - Concert in the Queens Hall, Widnes with Foden’s Band recorded for later transmission on BBC Radio Merseyside.

Saturday 17th December The Christmas Spectacular at the Northgate Arena features the Manchester Boys’ Choir singing for the first time with the Choir.

Thursday 22nd December - The Christmas concert (with the City of Chester Band, and the Manchester Boys’ Choir), is repeated at Stockport Town Hall.

Patron’s fees are £8 per year - which includes two tickets for each Festival Concert.


January - The Choir record its 4th LP, "The Cestrian Male Voice Choir of Chester - We Sing to Serve", at the Central Hall. This is the last occasion that the Choir present a performance in the hall which had been their home for 36 years.

February - The United Reform Church, Hoole Road, becomes the Choir’s new home for rehearsals and committee meetings.

Friday 26th March, - the 67th Festival. A one-night Festival Concert at the Northgate Arena. The first time a Festival Concert has been held other than at the Central Hall. The Choir open with "The Lord is My Light" and they are joined by guest artistes, Maryetta and Vernon Midgley, accompanied by their mother Gladys Midgley. John Wilson and Keith Swallow also make guest appearances as a piano duet.

Saturday 26th June - The Choir return to the Northgate Arena for a Chester Summer Music Festival Concert with the C.W.S. (Manchester) Band.

Saturday 9th October - The Choir sing to a packed Manchester Free Trade Hall in a joint concert with "Men O’ Brass" conducted by Sir Harry Mortimer. Due to illness this is the first occasion in 41 years that Fred Warren does not conduct the Choir on the concert platform. Kenneth R. Hughes deputises.

Saturday 11th December - the Choir appear for the third time in the year in the Northgate Arena to stage the first Christmas Spectacular to be held there. This is a joint promotion with the City of Chester Band. Tickets were priced at £1.


Concert at the Royal Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, with the North Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs.

Saturday 4th April - the first North Wales Association ‘1000 Voices’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

The George Artingstall Memorial Concert at the North Shore Church, Blackpool.

The Choir celebrates its 40th Anniversary with a formal dinner at the Town Hall, Chester, with civic dignitaries. Representatives from the Czechoslovakian, West German, Dutch and British choirs with whom the Choir had formed associations also attended.

The October Festival concert was the 66th and final to be staged at Central Hall.


8th January the Choir appear in a BBC1 television programme called "A Grand Sing".

Eve of Tour Concert at Central Hall with the Cheshire Constabulary Band.

Concert tour of South Dakota U.S.A. from the 9th to the 23rd May (initiated by former Choir member Gordon Garnos, the editor of the Watertown SD Public Opinion newspaper).

The Choir change its uniform from red jackets to blue jackets supported by a grant from Chester City Council. The new jackets are worn for the first time on the tour of South Dakota.

The Choir has 115 singing members (29 first tenors, 22 second tenors, 30 first bass, and 34 second bass)


Concert at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, for St. Ann’s Hospice.

Massed Male Voice Choir Concert in the Deeside Leisure Centre.

A Gala Spectacular Concert with C.W.S. (Manchester) Championship Band in the Northgate Arena.

The Choir take part in the pageant "Chester Tales" in Chester Cathedral to celebrate Chester’s 1900th Anniversary celebration.

At the Bishop’s House, Chester Cathedral, the Choir sing for H.R.H. The Princess Margaret. Fred Warren is introduced to her.

On the Saturday 22nd December the Choir stage the first of its Christmas Spectacular concerts, at the Chester Football Stadium, Sealand Road, with the City of Chester Band, celebrities and sports stars.


Concert in Cannock Chase with the Chase Orpheus Choir.

Concert in Coventry Citadel with Coventry City Band

Eve of Tour concert with the Liverpool Premier Banjo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra.

The Choir tour to Vriezenveen, Holland. Gwen Davies and Paschal Allen are the guest artistes on tour.

Concert in Sandbach with the Royal Doulton Band for St. John Ambulance.

60th (Diamond Jubilee) Festival with a programme message from Bruce Dargavel.


The Choir record their third LP, "The Cestrian Male Voice Choir of Chester", at the Central Hall

The first concert in the new Northgate Arena with the Massed Band of the Brigade of Guards.

"Friday Night is Music Night" with Foden’s Band at Northwich Civic Hall.


The Choir now has 105 singing members.

Eve of tour concert with the Cheshire Constabulary Band at Central Hall.

The 2nd Choir Tour to Ludwigshafen am Rhein in West Germany. Gwen Davies and Robert Bickerstaff are the guest artistes on the tour.

Concert for Toc H in the Manchester Free Trade Hall with , Fairey Aviation Band, and Foden’s band conducted by Sir Harry Mortimer.

Concert with the Band of Welsh Guards at Winsford Civic Hall.

The Choir records "Festival Volume Two" its 2nd recording at Eaton Hall.


Visit to Chester of the Gesangverein der BASF from Ludwigshafen am Rhein, West Germany.

The Choir visits Cardiff for a concert with the Cardiff Male Choir and are welcomed by the guest of honour, the Rt. Hon. George Thomas M.P. (celebrated Speaker of the House of Commons and later to become Lord Tonypandy).

Concert with the Band of the Coldstream Guards at the Civic Hall, Winsford.


Concerts in Blackburn, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, and Blackpool.

BBC Songs of Praise recording at Chester Cathedral with the North Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs.

Charity Concert with Chester Operatic Society in Central Hall.

October - the Choir perform their 50th Festival concert. The Golden Souvenir Brochure pictures individual photographs of 85 singing members. The guest artistes at this Festival are Raimund Herincx, Vernon Midgley and Maryetta Midgley. This is Maryetta’s first Festival appearance and she too is later to become an honorary member of the Choir.

The Choir records its first LP record "Festival" at Central Hall.


April - Sounding Brass and Voices with the Birmingham Citadel Band in Chester.

May - Sounding Brass and Voices with the Coventry Citadel Band in Coventry.

June - Visit to Chester of the Smetana-Slovanka Men’s Choir from Czhecoslovakia.

October - Concert with Cheshire County Youth Band in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Concerts on consecutive nights with the Band of the Royal Marines, Portsmouth. (2nd November at the ABC Cinema, Chester, - 3rd November at Winsford Civic Hall, - and 4th November at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.

John Wilson, later to become an honorary member of the Choir, becomes the guest accompanist at the Festival concerts for the first time.

Vernon Midgley, later to become an honorary member of the Choir, makes his first Festival appearance.

The Choir becomes a Registered Charity.


February - Festival of Sounding Brass and Voices at the Albert Hall, Manchester.

May - Festival of Sounding Brass and Voices with the Black Dyke Mills Band at the King George’s Hall, Blackburn.

September - First Choir tour to Czechoslovakia.

October - Concert in the Tower Circus arena at Blackpool.


Festival of Sounding Brass and Voices with "Men O’ Brass" conducted by Harry Mortimer in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester.


Maelor Richards, guest accompanist at every Festival since October 1949 makes his 40th and last appearance.


Prestige ‘Sounding Brass and Voices’ concerts in Burnley, Derby, and Blackpool.


The Choir celebrates its Silver Jubilee. Good will messages are received from supporters around the world including one from Jennie Lee the, then, Joint Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.


The British Legion Festival of Remembrance moves to the Gaumont Cinema in Brook Street. The Choir are joined at the event by The Military Band of Messrs. Williams & Williams Ltd. As part of the event the film "The Royal Tour of Canada 1959" was shown by courtesy of 20th Century Fox Ltd. Tickets were 2/6 and 3/6.


The Choir now has a membership of 93 singing members.


The Festival Concerts are extended to three nights (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) They remain at three nights for the next 25 years

Gwen Davies, later to become a Choir honorary member sings at a Festival Concert for the first time.

Bruce Dargavel, the inspiration behind the Festival concerts makes his last appearance on the Festival stage


First appearance at the Chester British Legion Festival of Remembrance with the Chester Salvation Army Band at the Royalty Theatre, City Road.

The Choir competes at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod on the same stage as a young Luciano Pavarotti who was a member of a competing Italian Choir.


Choir Vice-President, Councillor J.Henry Reece J.P. is elected as the Mayor of Chester.

The Choir retains the Cup for Male Voice Choirs at the Chester Music Festival, and are prize winners at the Mold Eisteddfod.


Choir wins the Chester and District Music Festival Cup for Male Voice Choirs.


The Festival Concerts extend to two nights (Wednesday and Thursday).


The October Festival is a celebrity concert to mark the Festival of Britain. The souvenir programme costs nine-pence, features an early photograph of the Choir, taken in Grosvenor Park, individual photographs of the Choir’s officers and for the first time lists the names of 59 choir members. (15 first tenor, 12 second tenor, 13 first bass, and 19 second bass). The Choir wear a red uniform jacket for the first time


Wednesday 16th of March, a "Grand Concert" at the Central Hall with guest artistes Bruce Dargavel, Peter W. Davies and the Blue Coat Prize Band, is the first in a series of biannual concerts which later became known as "The Festivals" and which continue to this day.


The Choir changes name to become the Cestrian Male Voice Choir. They adopt the motto "We Sing to Serve" and regard the Central Hall, City Road, as their home.


The Choir broadcast on the BBC Worker’s Playtime from ‘a factory somewhere in the North of England’ and are heard throughout the country as well as overseas.


The Choir, all the members of which were employed at HECO in reserved wartime occupations, sing to entertain in churches, village halls, and army camps throughout the war years, helping to keep up morale and at the same time raising funds for local good causes and for the British Red Cross.


The Choir is founded by Fred Warren at a works dinner party of the Hydraulic Engineering Company, with 16 original members, and becomes known as the HECO Choir. Their first three songs were ‘The Old Woman’, ‘Widdecombe Fair’ and ‘Passing By’

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