The Nineties

Bert Bissell M.B.E. - Choir President from 1988 to 1998Bert Bissell M.B.E. - Choir President from 1988 to 1998

1990 We hosted a number of visitors from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and the Royal Doulton Band were our Celebrity Concert guests. Graham Hancox, was appointed Deputy Conductor - a post he held for three years before he was "transferred" to Wolverhampton Orpheus Male Voice Choir as its Musical Director.

1991 Our Celebrity Concert guest artiste was Mary O’Hara. We were honoured to perform in front of Her Majesty The Queen at the International Olympic Committee meeting at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. We were invited to appear at a concert in aid of the Royal Institute For The Blind in Torquay - an event which was repeated twelve months later.

1992 Massed male voice choir events were on this year's agenda as we appeared in Peterborough Cathedral. We were also present at the first "World Choir" event with 6,500 male choristers, Dame Gwyneth Evans, Dennis O'Neill, Oliver Sammons, Tom Jones and the massed bands of the Guards Division at Cardiff Arms Park. Susie Bourne retired as Accompanist, and was replaced by our fourth lady Accompanist, June Box.

1993 Susie Bourne was made an Honorary Member for services to the Choir. Shrewsbury Abbey was the venue for a massed male choir event. We participated in a further "World Choir" performance, this time with 8,500 voices, with Shirley Bassey as our "support act". Our Celebrity Concert guests were HM Band of the Royal Marines.

1994 The Midgley's were our Celebrity Concert guests, Besses O' Th' Barn Brass Band appeared at our Annual Concert.

1995 Again we hosted a party of visitors from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and our celebrity guest for this year was another well known "voice" from Friday Night Is Music Night, Valerie Masterson.

1996 A social evening with Tredegar MVC started the year, which also saw us perform a concert in Launceston, Cornwall, and host a joint concert with The Band of HM Coldstream Guards. Our fifth lady member, Lynn Andrews was appointed Deputy Conductor.

1997 During this, our "Ruby Anniversary" year we celebrated with an Anniversary Dinner at which our guests were Joe and Joy Brandrick of Brandrick Holdings (our sponsors for the year) and the Midgley family. Maryetta and Vernon Midgley were the stars at our Gala Concert the following evening. A party of choristers climbed Ben Nevis and laid a wreath on behalf of Bert Bissell at the summit peace cairn which he had founded on VJ Day. The choir also performed a concert at the summit. Bert was present at the foot of the mountain to welcome the climbers back at the end of the day - this was to be Bert's last visit to "The Ben" with the choir. The Warley Male Choir were guests at our Annual Concert, together with local artists who had appeared with us over the forty years. Lynn Andrews took charge as Musical Director in November.

1998 Our guests at the Celebrity Concert were the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. In May, we had a very successful five day singing tour in Normandy, France, during which, we performed a brief concert for Mme Gondree on the terrace of Café Gondree at Pegasus Bridge, the first building in France to be liberated by the allies on D Day in 1944.

Neil Bolton was appointed as our Deputy Accompanist and John Walley as Deputy Conductor. Brixham Male Voice Choir and the Bedworth Brass Band were guests at our annual concert. Choir President, Bert Bissell passed away at the age of 96.

Photo's from Pegasus Bridge in Normandy, France

Café Gondree

Pegasus Bridge in Normandy

Mme Gondree with the Gentleman Songsters

Outside of Café Gondree

1999 Our first engagement in 1999 was to pay our respects at Bert Bissell's memorial service. Local concerts during the year were with Sandwell Youth Band, St Cecilia's Singers and our Celebrity Concert guest was Willard White. We performed in Torbay with Brixham Orpheus Male Voice Choir in All Saints Parish Church, and the Band of the Prince Of Wales's Division (Clive) were our Autumn Concert guests. We hit the small screen on BBC Midlands Today's "The News Makers" programme.

Bert Bissell M.B.E. Memorial in DudleyThe Bert Bissell Memorial in Coronation Gardens, Dudley