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
Since its inception, the Choir has always been based for rehearsals at Trinity Methodist Church in Shiney Row - and there have been five Musical Directors.
Fred Wilson from 1959
Bryan McAree from 1980
Joe Parker from 1987
Stephen Wroe from 1994
Carl Heron from 2015 to date
As for 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 during 2009).
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 55. members come from a wide area, mainly Tyneside & Wearside, including Sunderland, South Shields, Houghton le Spring, Chester le Street and Durham. The Choir perform some 10 to 15 Concerts a year throughout the North-East and North-West, helping to raise literally thousands of pounds for local and national charities.
We also sing regularly at Sunderland Civic Centre, for Citizenship Ceremonies organised by the Local Authority when new citizens are welcomed and presented with a memento of their new status. We have been supported by sponsorship over the years from N.E. Co-op, Roundel Manufacturing Ltd and J&M Sewing Service Ltd. The Choir has also been supported by grants from Local Authority "Community Chest” Funds, 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.