It's been a loooong time since the last post. But thanks to Ron for his update and photos. I've included responses from other choir members about the choir quartet in the final photo.
It's been a while since I emailed I have been back to work in September only to go back to furlough after Christmas I was at work 1 day and furloughed again, back to work Monday hurray for how long this time.
We've both had our first vaccine waiting for second in April, both of us are OK going for walks (see the photos). One photo not of a walk it's sometime in the 90s Christmas Concert Chester le Street apart from me do you know others?
Hope all is well with you
From Don: This looks like a jolly quartet but I cannot identify all of them. Soprano - Pauline Harris, Alto - I cannot place under that disguise, Tenor - Ron Newlands, Bass - The late George Minto. My apologies to the alto!! Cheers Don.
From Sharon: Ron, George Minto, Pauline Jones and Joyce Taylor.
From Maureen: I think the young woman bottom left is David Harris's sister Pauline, twin of Gerrie.
On 30th January 1990 Judith Cole [naming names!] gave notice that she didn't want to be nominated or re-elected as secretary at the AGM.
So Judith, how is your freedom from the committee going?
From the September/October/November '89 minutes.
Waiting lists were created for sopranos and altos - more men were needed [a perennial problem!]
To prompt more consistent attendance it was suggested that at the AGM members would be informed of their attendance over the past year "not to offend, only to inform".
As the choir was approaching its 10th anniversary a celebrity concert was suggested - again with Bradley Creswick as the celebrity - in July 1990.
Gateshead Garden Festival asked the choir to perform on 26th May 1990.
For the Christmas concert "despite trying to find a fair distribution system it doesn't appear to have worked. The five remaining tickets were 'shared' " [somewhat different nowadays]
ve been enjoying the historical items from the committee meetings and other sources and thought it may be of interest to old and newer members to look at our earlier history in Durham County Youth Choir days. I know a few of you have seen some of the pictures I carry around from that time and I've added one here taken at Llangollen International Eisteddfod in the late 1960s. The choir made three visits to the competition there in the Youth Choir class (once in the Folksong class too) and on one visit was fifth overall and joint top British Youth Choir.
As a slightly different quiz, you may wish to try to find at least 10 people in the photo who have been associated with Argus at some time over the last 40 years and there may be a few others that some of you recognise too.
Also in quiz mode, I've added an MP3 file which has a few clips from a concert at CLS Salvation Army in early December 1972. There are about 40 seconds from each of three soloists - again they've been with Argus in recent years. Can you spot who they are? The last clip is a reminder of some Christmas music which Argus sang just last year and provides us with the thought that we may be able to get together to sing some songs like this before too long (well, we are passed the midsummer equinox and the nights are pulling in :) My apology for the quality, but it was originally done using a free standing reel-to-reel tape machine perched on a pew a few rows from the front, then transferred to cassette from which I have made a digital copy!!
Back row - standing: Michael Beaney (3rd from left), David Harris (12th from left), Sue Tobin (13th from left), Richard Kasher (14th from left), Derek Jago (5th from right), Ian Murray (4th from right ), Peter Barker (3rd from right).
Middle row - kneeling up: Janet McGrath (6th from right), Jean Graham (3rd from right).
Front row - kneeling down: Pam Kasher (6 from left).
Recording Soloists: Michael Beaney, Val Revely, David Harris.
A celebrity concert was sugested in March 1987 with Maureen McCauley and/or Bradley Creswick.
From the records the choir was still awating a response in July 87, ... Jan 88, ... May 88, ... June 88.
In July 88 Bradley Creswick and Alan Tearon were provisionally booked for 25 Nov 88 at Chester-le-Street Methodist church
... no further information is available in the minutes
- so how did it go? was it a success? was it a sell out? Can anyone remember?
Concerts planned: Birtley (October), St Nicholas's Durham (December) - with the hope that Santa Claus would make a reappearance.
Uniforms: suggestion for ladies' of long navy wrap-over skirt and white blouse.
Folders: still under discussion.
Resignations: Mr and Mrs R Kasher sent a letter of resignation and the proposal was made that they be made honorary member as a tribute to their valued contribution.
Committee meetings were often held at the home of Mrs Jones in Chester-le-Street, a street , the name of which I can’t recall but it was just behind the Chester le Street hospital. If I could travel there I could name the street.
Mrs Jones was mum of Christine Jones and Gerry and Pauline Jones.
The 3 girls were choir members for a time. Christine married David Harris, our previous conductor, Gerry subsequently married Michael Beaney who was also a choir member in the tenor section and has since joined the Master Singers. (I think that is the correct group name).
Good morning Helen,
Interested and pleased you found Argus first minutes.
To fill in gaps before further search I can tell you:-
J.Bell was a member of Durham County Youth Choir. As one of the older members had had to leave eventually but missed the singing. J.Bell bumped into Norman Barker subsequently and expressed the wish to have continued choral singing. Norman had been and I think still was the Bass Tutor of the Durham County Youth Choir. J. Bell asked him if he would be willing to start a new choir if enough people were interested and he said he would - he had conducted other choirs in past years. He was able to gather contact information for past youth choir members and they both set about seeking interest.
Norman was a member of the Chester-le-Street Methodist Church and was able to secure use of rooms upstairs in the building, now replaced by the new annex. Saturday was agreed by J and N because that had been the rehearsal day for DCYC and would therefore probably best suit those who had been members as they may be in university, hopefully locally, or work and would therefore be otherwise committed and also Saturday was available for the church. As it would then be an adult choir some parents/ friends of youth choir members were able to join, including:-
A further trawl of the minutes will show that J Bell suggested the new choir ought to have a constitution and drew up that constitution. It has been tinkered with, and rightly so, on I think two occasions, the last about two years ago but it remains substantially the same as first drafted.
The Committee was then tasked with finding a name for the new choir as “old members of the DCYC and friends” was not very flattering, even then. The Committee wished to have a name to identify locally with the area but all Dunelm and Cestria etc names had long since been adopted by other organisations. J Bell suggested the name “Argus“ it not only means ‘a fabulous being with a hundred eyes’, which was aspirational in both respects but also because of that drab brown Butterfly with orange spots which is very rare but is found in County Durham and I believe still in the Ferry Hill area. No more better suited name came forth hence "Argus Singers" was adopted.
Final revelation J. Bell married in 1989 and became J. Graham.
Just don’t ask how old I am!
Happy reading of minutes