Teesside Apollo Male Voice Choir
Teacher becomes first female conductor of Teesside Apollo Male Voice Choir in 127 years.
In the 1830's ironstone was discovered in the Cleveland Hills, which led to a rapid development of ironmaking around the town of Middlesbrough, situated on the banks of the Tees. As the industry and the town expanded so did the need for workers many of them migrating from Wales. Tragically, an acdaent occured at one of the steelworks and a Welsh worker was killed. A group of friends then decided to get together and arrange a social event at which they sang and raised money for the deceased's family. As a result of this event they agreed to continue their group singing and hence the birth of 'The Apollo Male Voice Choir' in 1887. By 1890 the choir was competing and winning regularly at music festivals and in 1882 and 1896, because of its large number of Welsh speaking members, it was invited to take part in the welsh A National Eisteddfod. Many successful years followed but after the Second World War there was a slow decline in the choir's fortunes. Since 1955, however, when the late musical director, Gwyn Morris, took up the baton the choir went from strength to strength having success in both National and International competitions and performing concerts in many countries around the world. Additionally the choir was performing around 20 concerts a year at venues stretching from South Yorkshire to Edinburgh.
Touring has also played a big part in the choir's busy schedule and 'Teesside Apollo' concerts have been applauded in many countries around the world. Countries visited include Holland (twice), Norway, Germany (four tours), Switzerland, France (twice), Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, USA, Yugoslavia and Jersey. Probably the most prestigious tour, however was in 1986 when the choir had the honour of representing Great Britain at Expo '86 in Vancouver, Canada.
The choir have appeared many times at Llangollen International Eisteddfod and at The Male Voice Choir championships in Huddersfield. Winners of The Golden Rose Bowl at the prestigious Blackpool Music Festival. Award winning performances at both Cork and Nis(Yugoslavia) International Music Festivals. The only British choir invited to the Warsaw Choral Festival. Many successful appearances at British choral festivals included, Harrogate, Perth and Edinburgh. Because of the choir's busy schedule in recent years it has not been possible to dedicate the necessary time and commitment to attend competitions and festivals.
We ended 2013 with without a Musical Director but our Annual Concerts proved really successful thanks to the versatility and talent of our accompanist, Martin Dack. However, the good news is, we begin 2014 with Clare Wills as our a new Musical Director. So now for the first time in a long time, with Clare and Martin at the helm, we are looking forward to a more settled and exciting time over the coming year. Neverthe less we are still placing a high priority on recruitment. So different from the heady days of ten years ago when the choir boasted over 100 members, the choir now has some 50 singing members (listed under Choir Personnel). Neverless this has not detracted from the renowned Apollo 'sound' and you can always expect a varied and entertaining programme at any Apollo concert. During the past two years we have been performing our concerts free of charge and relying on a retiring collection to cover the choir's basic expenses. Thanks to the generosity of our hosts we have been more than covered our costs so we have decided to continue with this policy through 2013.So if you should require a concert please contact Ken Clayton on 01642 474730 or Joe Thompson on 01642 477113. A number of CDs of choir recordings covering the last 20 years or so are listed under 'Choir recordings' and are available at any of the choir's concerts, or from Brian Nugent on tel. 01642 466938. At the end of 2013 it was decided that, for a variety of reasons, we would relocate our rehearsal venue from Green Lane Primary School to St, Barnabus Church, Linthorpe Rd. Middlesbrough. This change commences from 10th February and hence practice now takes place on Monday evenings throughout the year [except for holiday periods] at St. Barnabas Church, Linthorpe Rd. Middlesbrough. from 7,30 till approx 9.15pm