The Blaydon Races is famous worldwide and recognised as the ‘Geordie National Anthem’. It is also one of the most popular numbers performed by one of the most successful male voice choirs in the country. And it belongs here on Tyneside!
Champions of Britain reach record landmark!
Felling Male Voice Choir was classed as one of the best in the country, Champions of Britain, winners of over 100 first prizes in local and international music festivals, and true ambassadors of male voice singing. And they are based here in the region!
The name of ‘Felling Male Voice Choir’ was confirmed on the 15th October 1920 when the Orpheus Male Voice Choir, formed the previous year at Holly Hill Wesleyan Methodist Church in Felling, changed its name. This famous choir should have been marking 100 years and the start of their Centenary Year on Thursday. Unfortunately, all its many plans have been put on hold because of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Success for the Region!
The Men of Felling have been true ambassadors for this region taking part in major events and winning competitions in this country and abroad. They have also toured across Europe making many friends with their popular and varied programmes. Many top national and international artists have performed alongside them at their concerts.
Out of all their many successes, perhaps their greatest achievement was on Saturday, 23rd June 1951 when they won The Festival of Britain Music Competition at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The choir’s musical director, Tom Mearis, was presented with the Silver Rose Bowl by Her Royal Highness, the Princess Elizabeth.
After the event, the Geordie National Anthem rang out from the choir in celebration within the hall. Hundreds turned out the next day in the pouring rain to welcome the choir home to Felling Square. The Rose Bowl still has pride of place in Gateshead Civic Centre.
Supporting the Geordie Nation
Over the years, the choir, which is a registered charity, has helped to raise thousands of pounds for other North East charities and good causes.
One of the most popular numbers in the Felling repertoire has always been the Geordie National Anthem, ‘Blaydon Races’. The photograph shows the choir singing the ‘Blaydon Races’ at their last live performance in the region before lockdown.
The event was at The Benton Ale House in Newcastle during February when the choir was helping to raise funds for the Newcastle West End Foodbank.
A video of the choir performing ‘Blaydon Races’ was tweeted just after the event and was viewed by over 150,000 people. If you would like to check this video out, then follow this link, https://www.facebook.com/177175689084329/videos/661798604374718.
This popular song has also been missed ringing out from the terraces of St James Park. Would not it be great if one day soon this famous and well-loved Tyneside choir could be leading the singing of the Geordie National Anthem on the hallowed turf!
A rich musical heritage
Felling Male Voice Choir has and continues to perform a wide variety of popular songs from classical, musicals, pop, sacred and traditional male voice favourites. A selection of these will be performed at the choir’s Centenary Concert at The Sage Gateshead rearranged for Saturday, 9th October 2021, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.
The choir also plans to release a new collection of remastered recordings entitled ‘100 Songs and More for A Centenary’. Further details can be found on their website by following the link,https://www.fmvc.org/fmvc-cds.
Be part of the future!
Felling Male Voice Choir is always looking to recruit new male voices and you could be part of the future of this famous regional choir.
The choir is still rehearsing on Friday evenings, but members are safe at home and are using ‘Zoom’ technology. Members are also able to support their learning with specially prepared teaching tracks.
Felling continues to prepare to be ready to enjoy their Centenary and the next 100 years when it is safe to resume singing in public. If you are interested in singing, then check out the choir’s website, https://www.fmvc.org/important-to-know. You can also visit their Facebook page or contact Mick McCabe on Tel. 0796 910 7791 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.