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Authority record
GB0192-780 · Corporate body · 1925 - Present

The York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir was founded in York in 1925, by a group of men from the Leeman Road Adult Boy’s Club. They came together out of a love of singing, rehearsing in the front parlour of a house on Leeman Road. The founding members sought the direction of conductor Cecil H. Fletcher, and over the next ten years Fletcher oversaw the growth of the choir to over fifty members.

The choir experienced a severe decline in membership as a result of the World Wars, followed by the death of conductor Fletcher. The choir survived this period, becoming informally known as the Cecil H Fletcher Memorial Choir into the 1980s.

Sefton Fearne took over as conductor, and worked to rebuild the choir following the drop in membership. In 1950 Fearne retired due to ill health and was succeeded by Archie W. Sargent.

Sargent retired in 1962 and was succeeded by Richard B. Lister. In 1962; with Robert Patterson, then curator at York Castle Museum; Lister helped initiate the first the ‘Carols in Kirkgate’ concert, which raised money for the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Fund. The York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir performed at the first ‘Carols in Kirkgate’ event, which continued for over fifty years.

In 1968 the choir formed a relationship with Münsterscher Männergesangverein (Münster Male Choral Society), a choir from York’s twin city Münster, in Germany. The choirs have done multiple visits to each other’s respective cities.

In 1972 the choir became a registered charity, to help improve public knowledge of the choir, and to help the choir to support other charities through their performances.

Richard B. Lister stepped down as Musical Director in 1980, at which point David Keeffe took over the role. Subsequent Music Directors also include Richard Bowman, Margaret Martin, Ian Colling and Berenice ‘Berry’ Lewis.

As well as performances and charity concerts, the choir have historically competed in competitions across Britain and Europe.

GB0192-783 · Person · [c1930s-2010s]

Resident of York who collected an extensive collection of theatre programmes for performances in York theatres and by York theatre groups.