History

Orange Male Voice Choir was formed in 1926 with 22 members. The Choir became the Orange Orpheus Male Choir in 1934, then the Rowland Gregory Orpheus Singers in 1970 in honour of its conductor of 44 years, before returning to its original name in 2008. The appointment of a mere six Conductors in its long history bears testimony to the strong bonds of friendship shared within the Choir.

  • Rowland Gregory, 1926 – 1970
  • Donovan Burn, 1970 – 1992, 1994
  • Roland Auguszczak, 1993
  • Melanie Meers, 2011- 2014
  • Leon Paix, 1994 - 2010, Acting Conductor 2014, Conductor 2015. Conductor Emeritus 2016 -.
  • Barry Patterson, 2016 -

Skilled musicians have also accompanied the Choir over the years:

  • Sadie West, 1926 - 1930
  • Maisie Moore, 1930 - 1935
  • Winifred Chapman, 1935 - 1955, 1958 - 1970
  • Graeme Rawson, 1955 - 1958
  • David Murree-Allen, 1970 - 1974
  • Merrilyn Winkley, 1974 - 1978, 1979 - 1983
  • Elizabeth Brooks, 1978
  • Sue Channon, 1984
  • Donna Mahoney, 1984 - 1989
  • Carol Fleming, 1989
  • Beverley Glover, 1989-2017
  • Heejin Kim, 2017-

The Choir has a long list of outstanding achievements. These include:

  • Competitors in the first Australian Male Voice Championships in 1932.
  • Winners of the City of Sydney Eisteddfod on five occasions.
  • Performances with international artists Harry Secombe, John McNally, June Bronhill and Julie Anthony.
  • Performances in the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Town Hall, Melbourne Concert Hall, Great Hall of Parliament House, National Library in Canberra, Cardiff's St. David's Hall and in the Royal Albert Hall, London.
  • First Australian male choir to compete at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in 1985.

It has undertaken international tours:

  • Great Britain and Europe. 1985
  • China and Hong Kong, 1993
  • New Zealand in 1997, 2004 and 2011
  • Wales, England and Ireland 2002. The highlight of this tour was an invitation to sing in the 1000 male voice celebration of the Centenary of London Welsh Male Voice Choir, at the Royal Albert Hall before an audience of 7,000.

Some notable events in the Choir's history

  • 1926. Choir formation 
  • 1932. Competed in Australian Male Voice Championships, Sydney
  • 1932. Official opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • 1976. 'Night of Stars.' Official opening Orange Civic Theatre
  • 1976. Perform with June Bronhill
  • 1977. Civic function honours Choir's 50th Anniversary
  • 1982. Choir sings with Harry Secombe, Sydney Opera House
  • 1985. First international tour (Wales, Europe). Becomes first Australian choir to perform at Llangollen International Eisteddfod
  • 1986. John McNally sings with Choir, Sydney Town Hall
  • 1993. Second international tour – Hong Kong, China
  • 1996. 70th Anniversary celebrations
  • 1997. Third international tour – New Zealand
  • 2001. Choir performs at Parliament's Great Hall
  • 2002. Fourth international tour – Wales, Ireland, London (Royal Albert Hall with 1000 voices)
  • 2004. Fifth international tour – New Zealand
  • 2007. South-East Queensland tour
  • Male Choirs Association of Australia concerts - 2008, Llewellyn Hall, Canberra; 2010, Sydney Town Hall; 2012, Dallas Brookes Hall, Melbourne; 2014, AIS Arena, Canberra.
  • 2011. Sixth international tour - New Zealand
  • 2015. Western Australia tour and Bunbury Men of Song Festival.
  • 2016. 90th Anniversary Celebrations.

 

 

Executive Members - Honour Roll

President

  • Harold Balcomb 1983 - 1988
  • Jack Dutton 1989 - 1993
  • Jim Richards 1994 - 2000
  • John Rowland 2001-2002
  • Rob Westcott 2003, 2006 - 2008
  • John McDonald 2004 - 2005
  • Chris Morgan 2009, 2011 - 2012
  • Ken Fishpool 2010, 2016-2017
  • David Woodside 2013 - 2015

Vice President 

  • Don McDonald, 2004 - 2007
  • John Chapman, 2008
  • John Read, 2009
  • John Spencer, 2010
  • David Woodside, 2011 - 2012
  • David Kennedy, 2013 - 2014
  • Ken Fishpool, 2015
  • Michael Priest, 2016
  • John Mealings, 2017

Secretary

  • Colin Escott, 1983
  • Dick Haines, 1984
  • John Rowland, 1985 - 1993, 1996
  • Ken Fishpool, 1994 - 1995
  • Ray Brady, 1997 - 2000
  • Beverley Glover, 2001 - 2004, 2006
  • John Holland, 2005
  • David Woodside, 2007 - 2009
  • John Read 2010 - 2012
  • Chris Morgan, 2013 - 2014
  • Stephen May, 2015
  • David Kennedy, 2016 - 2017

Treasurer

  • Dick Haines, 1983 - 1989
  • John McDonald, 1990 - 2001
  • Laurie Chapman, 2002 -2 003
  • Gerry Sloane, 2004 - 2006
  • John Holland, 2007 - 2009
  • Peter Reid, 2010 - 2012
  • Michael Priest, 2013 - 2015
  • John Spencer, 2016 - March 2017
  • Peter Reid, March 2017 -

 

Rowland Gregory Service Award

For many years the Choir has acknowledged outstanding contributions of its members through service awards. When it returned to its original name in 2008 the award became the Rowland Gregory Service Award as a means of keeping that name before the Choir in perpetuity.

  • 1999    Barry Morgan
  • 2002    John Holland
  • 2003    Rodney Davis
  • 2005    David Woodside
  • 2008    Rob Westcott
  • 2009    Chris Morgan
  • 2010    John Spencer
  • 2011    Peter Reid 
  • 2012    John Read
  • 2013    Beverley Glover
  • 2014    David Woodside
  • 2015    Bryan Callinan
  • 2016    David Kennedy

 Life Membership Awards

  • Don Burn
  • Harold Balcomb
  • John (EJ) Chapman
  • Allan Connolly
  • Richard Eddy
  • Jack Edge
  • Noel Griffith
  • Neville Penhall
  • John Rowland
  • Barry Davis
  • Rodney Davis
  • Allan Grant
  • Jim Heron
  • Mervyn Day
  • Don McDonald
  • Barry Morgan
  • Allan Nesbitt
  • Alwyn Roweth
  • Max Laughton
  • John Thurtell
  • John F. Chapman
  • Jim Richards
  • Ken Fishpool
  • Jack Dutton
  • Tom Fenton
  • Beverley Glover
  • Les Glover
  • John McDonald
  • John Read
  • Uel Balcomb
  • Bob Nash
  • Leon Paix
  • Robbie Muirhead
  • John Holland
  • David Woodside
  • David Hughes