On 15th May 1959, a meeting was held in the schoolroom 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.
From its creation, Shiney Row Male Voice Choir had always been based, for rehearsals, at Trinity Methodist Church in Shiney Row. In 2013, the choir moved to St Aidan's Parish Centre, New Herrington and since September 2021, they have been located at St. Chad’s C of E Church Community Hall, East Herrington, Sunderland.
The Music Team
The choir was originally led by Fred Wilson. He was conductor between 1959 and 1980. At first, he was assisted by George Thompson, who was the Church organist.
In 1961, Robert (Bob) Chicken became the accompanist until 1967. George Gent then took over until 2005.
Bryan McAree took over as musical director in 1980 and was replaced by Joe Parker in 1987.
In 1994, Stephen Wroe became musical director and a strong partnership with George Gent, until he retired in 2005, being replaced by Denis Whittaker for a year and then the return of Bob Chicken in 2006. Bob Chicken continued as accompanist until 2021.
After the retirement of Stephen Wroe in 2015, Carl Heron was musical director for four years, and then the role was shared between Bob Chicken and Richard Forster.
In late 2021, Shiney Row Male Voice Choir started to stabilize its music team with the additions of Phil Dixon and Janette Waugh, and the support of Julie Lawrence.
Shiney Row Male Voice Choir has made several 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’. A further CD, ‘On Stage…In Song’ was produced in 2002, and for the Choir’s Golden Jubilee Year a new recording was made, entitled ‘Shiney Gold’.
In late 2021, the choir started recording again. They have also produced an extensive selection of musical videos which now appear on Facebook and YouTube and can be accessed through ‘Music’ on this site.
The Choir and Covid-19
Shiney Row Male Voice Choir did not meet during Covid-19 restrictions but since the autumn of 2021, it was all systems go! Regular rehearsals are being held, new members recruited, a strong concert programme is being developed and promotions improved.
Launch of Sunderland Male Voice Choir
Sunderland Male Voice Choir was announced as the new name for the former Shiney Row Male Voice Choir. The announcement was made on Wednesday, 27th July, 2022 when the Choir sang at the Citizenship Ceremony at City Hall to welcome new citizens to the City of Sunderland.
The Choir hope this initiative will make us more inclusive for all communities in the Sunderland region and beyond.