We Rejoice in Singing

Choir History

Early Beginnings

On 15th May 1959, a meeting was held in the school-room of Station Road Methodist Church, Shiney Row, at which the male section of the Church Choir decided to increase their number by inviting men from other churches to join them. Ten men were present, and donations were given, totalling £1, to buy music.

A year later, at the Annual Meeting, 21 members were present and the balance in hand was reported as a healthy £7 and a penny ha’penny. At this meeting, it was decided to hold an Annual Concert, establishing the tradition of inviting professional guest soloists to sing at Annual "Celebrity” Concerts, which has been maintained ever since, with many soloists of international repute having been pleased to come and sing with Shiney Row.

For the first few years, there is no mention in the Choir’s Minutes of Shiney Row Male Voice Choir as a title – but a Post Office Account was opened in that name during 1962.

Musical Directors and Accompanists

From its inception the Choir had always been based, for rehearsals, at Trinity Methodist Church in Shiney Row but since 2013 we have used St Aidan's Parish Centre, New Herrington.

Musical Directors,

Fred Wilson from 1959

Bryan McAree from 1980

Joe Parker from 1987

Stephen Wroe from 1994

Carl Heron from 2015

Robert Chicken/Richard Forster 2019 to date

Accompanists -there have been several,

George Thompson 1959 to 1961 (Organist at the Church when the Choir started)

Robert Chicken, 1961 to 1967

George Gent 1967 to 2005

Denis Whittaker 2005 to 2006

Robert Chicken again, 2006 to date (with temporary assistance from Richard Forster ).


The Choir has made recordings over the years, has featured on television, and on radio many times with excerpts from an LP made in 1975 and from a later 1979 LP, "Pleasure in Singing”.

In 1999 the Choir recorded their first CD, "Rejoice in Singing” (our motto is "Gaudeamus Canentes” or "We Rejoice in Singing”).

In 2002 a further CD recording was produced - "On Stage In Song”, and for the Choir’s Golden Jubilee Year a new recording was made - "Shiney Gold”.

The Choir Today

Current membership of the Choir stands at 40. members come from a wide local area, including Sunderland, South Shields, Houghton-le-Spring, Chester-le-Street and Durham. The Choir performs a number of Concerts and other Events throughout the year helping to raise literally thousands of pounds for local and national charities.

We sing regularly at 'Beamish Museum' and also for Citizenship Ceremonies, organised by the City of Sunderland Local Authority (one of or patrons), when new citizens are welcomed and presented with a memento of their new status. The Choir has received support and sponsorship over the years from various sources,e.g., N.E. Co-op, Roundel Manufacturing Ltd and J&M Sewing Service Ltd including grants from the Local Authority "Community Chest” Fund and the National Lottery’s "Awards for All”.

As an active member of the National Association of Choirs, the Choir participates in all the Events organised by the North-East Group of the Association.

Choir Practice: Friday (time to be determined)

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St Chads Church
Charter Drive

East Herrington
Sunderland, SR3 3PG
National Association of Choirs