Original choir members in this photograph are:- BACK ROW : Frank Vinnicombe; John Laity; Michael Parsons; Matthew Laity; David Laity; Jack Curnow & William Stuthridge MIDDLE ROW: Alfred Rose; George Sara; Harry Owen(Conductor ); Harold Wales & Joseph Sawle FRONT ROW: Terry Burleigh & Ronald Laity
Nankersey Male Voice Choir has come a long way since
their first concert at Flushing Primitive Methodist
Chapel in 1950, but throughout the years, they have
held true to their Choir Motto "to sing for and
to give pleasure". Translated into Cornish it is"Can
ha ry lowender."
Nankersey Male Voice Choir was formed in 1950. Originally
Nankersey Glee Singers', the twelve members joined together
to pursue their mutual interest in close harmony singing.
twelve original members were:
Alfred Rose, Ronald Laity and David Laity
Harold Wales, Joseph Sawle and Matthew Laity
Jack Curnow, William Stuthridge and Michael Parsons
Frank Vinicombe, John Laity and George Sara
choir's name is the old Cornish name for the village
of Flushing . As many of the members lived in the village
it was decided that Flushing should be where the choir
Flushing's location, on the opposite side of the harbour
to the town of Falmouth , sometimes provided more than
a few problems for members from 'across the water'.
The only public transport to Flushing in the early days
was by a ferryboat, which finished at 7 pm . After that
time it was by rowing boat, which on a dark and stormy
night could be very hazardous.
members quite clearly remember standing on Flushing
Quay for half an hour or more, shouting 'Over' to the
boatman who was waiting for passengers on Falmouth's
Greenbank quay, or possibly in the bar of the Greenbank
choir's original Conductor was Harry Owen, a renowned
bass soloist who was the Conductor of the Flushing Male
Voice Choir in the 1930s and for many years conducted
the Falmouth Docks Christmas Choir. In those early days
the choir had no accompanist, so to get the note a 'pitch
pipe' was often used. As word of the choir spread, Harry
Dower stepped forward as accompanist and this arrangement
lasted for a number of years.
the mid 1950s both Mr Owen and Mr Dower retired leading
to the appointment of David Eastburn, who, aged only
19, must surely be one of the youngest conductors ever.
The choir also had no trouble finding a replacement
accompanist, Noel Ashton, who went on to play a large
part in the Choir's affairs for the next twenty-five
years. However after five years, David left to return
to college and Noel took his place, with Harry Francis
1963, with Nankersey's success steadily growing, it
was decided to appoint a Choir President on a yearly
basis. The first member to be honoured was a founder
member, the late Ronald Laity.
1966, the choir began its association with Falmouth
's Princess Pavilion, performing 270 concerts in seventeen
seasons. The following year, Margaret Howard joined
the Choir as assistant accompanist to Ven Collins. When
Ven left to become Organist and Choirmaster at the Falmouth
Methodist Church , Margaret became the choir's first
female accompanist, quickly endearing herself to both
choir members and guest artistes alike.
Noel Ashton continued in office as Musical Director until
1987 when he and his wife Caroline emigrated to America
. Later the same year, the choir was also sad to see
the departure of Margaret, although her replacement,
Elaine Tangye, proved to be another highly talented
1998, the Choir was invited to sing in the Daily Mail
Pavilion at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and
the same summer, also played a key role in the celebrations
of the Tall Ships Race from Falmouth . Later in the
year, Elaine took over from Denman as Musical Director
and Jane Wernham was appointed accompanist.
1999, the Choir participated in a short film by Wild
West Films called Wind , which has been shown
at a number of international film festivals and on Carlton
early 2000, Jane was forced to leave the choir due to
ill health. 2000 was Nankersey's 50 th Anniversary year,
and a celebratory CD and cassette was issued, the first
recording the choir had released under the musical direction
of Elaine Tangye. The recording is a glorious collection
of both old and new choir favourites that truly represent
50 Golden Years . The accompanists on the recording
are Jane Wernham, Clive Ellison and Simon Jacobs.
2000, Nankersey have been fortunate in acquiring the
services of Accompanist George Smith.
the 2002 Camborne Music Festival, Nankersey received
the Ewart Kinsman Challenge Cup in the Advanced Male
Voice Choir class, whilst Elaine received the Special
Award of the Bob and Eileen Gilbert Perpetual Baton.
March 2003, Nankersey won the Open Class for Male Voice
Choirs at the Cornwall Music Festival and awarded the
In May 2003, the first-ever British Male Voice Choir
Festival was held in Cornwall with forty-eight choirs
taking part, including eight from continental Europe
. Nankersey participated in a Gala Concert in Richmond
Chapel, Penzance with the Bela Bartok Male Voice Choir
from Pecs , Hungary , Rhos Male Voice Choir from Wales
and Marazion Apollo. Nankersey also took part in the
festival competition for choirs of over 40 singers.
Again, in both 2005 and 2007 Nankersey Male Choir took
part in the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral
Festivals with events held throughout the whole of Cornwall
in the form of Regional Galas. In May 2007 the choir
also took part in the Festival Competition for choirs
of over 40 members, held at the Hall for Cornwall.
choir have been featured on Songs of Praise ,
and also on the late Sir Harry Secombe's programme Highway
. The choir has also participated in the massed
Cornish Male Voice Choirs concerts at the Royal Albert
Nankersey Male Choir is well known, not only throughout
Cornwall , but also across the UK. Their popularity
draws capacity audiences enabling them to raise many
thousands of pounds for various charities. The choir
has bucked the trend in male voice singing in Cornwall
( and elsewhere) and grown steadily over the years.
Membership as at the beginning of 2010 was 65 members.
A policy of active recruitment by means of "Open Evenings"
has been and continues to be highly successful. Great
credit for this growth must be attributed to the superb
reputations of the Musical Director and Accompanist.
New members are always made very welcome and the choir
prides itself on its "family" spirit.
Keen to help a photography student at the University (Will Bunce), the choir was rewarded with 2 photos taken by Will:-
A more informal type photograph was called for the Royal Albert Hall programme (November 2013) and again the University helped out with 2 photos taken at Penryn College.