Recent highlights and distant memories......
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From the Orpheus to the present, some of the choir's escapades over the years.........boy have things changed!!!
One day there will be a real Book, written by a real Historian. These web pages are intended to be little more than a Scrapbook of memories gleaned from past records and programmes, and current activities, with only the odd caption and a sentence here and there to maintain the thread. This section of the site will be under constant development, so please come back often...
The April 2000 radio broadcast as part of "The Reel Blend", recorded by Jennifer Cruikshank, contained some very interesting interviews with members of the Choir. Betty Sinclair and Mary McKay talked about memories of the Orpheus Choir and Sir Hugh Roberton , Marilyn J Smith spoke of her role as conductor . Ian MacDonald talked of his family association with the Choir - his grandfather was a member of the Toynbee Musical Association - and John Blue spoke a little of the future . Donald Burgess, J. Lawson Purdie, Janette B. Walker, and Jan Bonomy gave their impressions of life in the Phoenix Choir.
From singing with Michael Crawford to celebrating our 50th/100th Anniversary, touring the Highlands and another European tour or two, things are even more exciting now!
A new conductor, a performance in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and a European tour!
Marilyn J Smith, our present conductor, joins in 1991. More connections made with other choirs, including a trip to Hereford to visit the Hereford Police Male Voice Choir, and a European tour of three countries in eight days.
A New Conductor and Accompanist
On behalf of the members of the choir, I would like to thank all who will be attending our December Concerts in the Glasgow City Hall this year. We will be joining in paying tribute to our late conductor Mr. Peter Mooney. In his twenty eight years with the Phoenix, Mr. Mooney has received much critical acclaim for the music we have made together.
21st Anniversary Concert, 22nd March 1972, and a tour of Canada and USA.
At last we're 21, and the years have gone in so quickly, that it seems but Yesterday since I came to the Phoenix. We were then only 4. I came to the Choir with the simple ambition to make singers sing better, and in so doing develop their personalities in the full expression of emotion, which I believed, and still believe, that music can so ably provide.
An excerpt from Peter Mooney's Foreword to a concert in October 1961.....
We are, however, well aware of our continued contact through the medium of radio and recording, and it has afforded us great encouragement to realise how many good friends and well-wishers followed our progress in the recent B.B.C. Competition, "Let the People Sing." We also know you have enjoyed our first long-playing record, "Road to the Isles," and we are now very happy to say that within the next two months there will be issued a further two long-playing and also two extended-playing records. We have been, you will agree, not without task.
HUGH S. ROBERTON
This is a new choir. True, it has a substantial backing of experienced singers from the Orpheus. True also that its Conductor and its office-bearers are all old Orpheans. Nevertheless it is a new choir, a choir with its own problems to face and its own reputation to make. That it will face those problems and solve them I have no doubt, nor have I any doubt that it will quickly establish a reputation for good work.
The Glasgow Orpheus Choir gave private performances by Royal Command at Balmoral and entertained Prime Ministers and Ambassadors at Downing Street and Chequers - quite a reputation, but the Glasgow Phoenix Choir does not claim or even aspire to be the Orpheus. Times have changed, musical tastes have changed, and audiences (and singers!) of the internet age demand and expect a very different concert experience from those of the first half of the 20th century. That said, we are immensely proud of our roots and without the foundation of the great Orpheus the Phoenix would not exist to outlive its predecessor. Here is a taste of what that foundation was....