The Choir under Harold Gray, OBE

An old logoThere then followed a long and stable period of 20 years under the baton of Harold Gray, OBE, with whom Birmingham Choral Union enjoyed many exciting performances with the C.B.S.O. Two concerts were recorded for the BBC and later transmitted. The Choir took part in Birmingham ‘Prom’ concerts and the C.B.S.O.’s Christmas concerts and, on a number of occasions, joined the City of Birmingham Choir for Good Friday performances of St Matthew Passion. Harold’s last Concert as Conductor of Birmingham Choral Union was Mendelssohn’s Elijah on 26 April 1975. However, he remained our President until his death in 1991 – nearly 40 years’ association with a delightful man.

Llangollen Gala Concert 1972 by courtesy Nigel Cripps

Llangollen Gala Concert 1972 by courtesy Nigel Cripps

Harold and his wife Jocelyn attended the Civic Reception in the Council House, on the occasion of our Centenary, with Edgar (Chairman at that time) and Betty Richards. Edgar was still in the Bass section at that time, having been a Member for well over 50 years! In 1967 and 1972, Birmingham Choral Union was invited to give the last concert at the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen, the first performance was Verdi Requiem, the second with the Hallé Choir of Berlioz, Grande Messe des Morts. Other notable events included the world première of Peter Wishart’s Te Deum and the first public performances in Birmingham of Gordon Jacob’s A Nun’s Priests Tale and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

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