Winnipeg Male Voice Choir
Winnipeg Male Voice Choir. An enterprise of the Men's Music Club. Founded in 1916 as a quartet of club members, it had increased by 1918 to 46. On the death in 1920 of its founding conductor, George Price, Cyril F. Musgrove was brought from England to take over the choir. Musgrove was succeeded in 1921 by Hugh Ross, another Englishman, who served until 1927. Each of these men served also as organist-choirmaster at Holy Trinity Church. Under Ross' direction, as the Winnipeg Male Voice Choir, it became a polished ensemble, which toured the USA in 1922 with Percy Grainger as soloist. A longer tour included a performance, 26 Feb 1923 at Carnegie Hall, which received praise for 'a fine quality of tone, a rich pianissimo, a sonorous forte, and commendable accuracy and finish' (New York Times). The choir was placed unequivocally 'in the very front rank' (New York Post).
After Ross' departure to assume the conductorship of the Schola Cantorum of New York the choir maintained its arrangement with Holy Trinity Church and imported from England its next three conductors: Douglas Clarke 1927-9, Peter Temple 1929-31, and Bernard Naylor 1932-5. Besides presenting many great soloists to Winnipeg (eg, Enesco, Gabrilowitsch, Grainger, Boris Hambourg, Harold Samuel, Albert Spalding, and Thibaud) the choir often performed with visiting orchestras (eg, 22 May 1926, with the Minneapolis SO in Hermann Goetz' The Water Lily). Herbert Sadler (the conductor 1935-44) and Filmer Hubble (the conductor 1944-9) saw the choir through the years of World War II, but the ranks had thinned, and the future had become uncertain. However, Walter Kaufmann became the conductor of a revived choir in 1949, and Kaufmann was followed by Donald Leggat 1953-5, George Kent 1955-7, and Lucien Needham 1957-60. The choir never regained its pre-war status, however. In 1960 it broke its tie with the Men's Music Club and continued under a new name, Metro Male Chorus, conducted until 1966 by Barry Anderson and thereafter by Clayton Lee and Herbert Holland 1966-7, James Whan 1967-8, and Archie Stone 1968-77. It assumed the name Winnipeg Male Chorus in 1974. In 1980 Gordon McNabb became the director, a position he continued to hold in 1991.