Two stalwarts of Portadown Male Voice Choir have received their gold medals for 50 years’ service to the award-winning ensemble.
Conductor Gordon Speers, who received the BEM in the New Year’s Honours List, and baritone Ivan Davison are the recipients of the choir’s top accolade, with Gordon having joined all those years as a promising young second bass, and Ivan having served in the first basses.
The ‘gongs’ were handed over at the choir’s annual dinner in Portadown Golf Club by another golden boy, deputy conductor Mervyn White, who received his long-service medal eight years ago.
The only other golden member is Harrison Morrow who attained his medal some five years ago on the day the choir were the guests in Dublin of the then president of Ireland Mary McAleese.
Gordon Speers was trained singing-wise by John Donnan, then organist and choirmaster of St Mark’s Church of Ireland choir, who persuaded him to join the MVC of which Mr Donnan was conductor.
In later years, Gordon took over as conductor from Jack Braid, and has led the choir to silverware in England, Wales and all over Ireland, as well as taking them on musical tours of Germany, Canada and the US. He still sings in St Mark’s choir and is conductor of Portadown Ladies Choir.
Ivan has served the choir in many roles, especially as treasurer as he is a fully qualified accountant. He also acted as chairman.
At the annual dinner, the Bertie Shields Memorial Trophy was won by Darryl Magee and presented by Alan Turtle.