Despite this advertising, the response was poor, so in 1957, the decision was made to form a mixed voice choir. A room for rehearsals was engaged at the YMCA and whilst the number of members was a little disappointing, they were very enthusiastic. Music was purchased and rehearsals continued throughout the summer. By the autumn, the choir had improved sufficiently to perform in public and they took on concerts at the local hospitals and Pensioners’ Clubs.
In late summer of 1958, the committee decided that the timing for rehearsals at the YMCA was inconvenient for the majority of the members but more importantly, that an hour was not long enough for a good rehearsal. Permission was granted for rehearsals to be held in the Pilkington Sheet Works canteen, where they continued until 1981, when the choir moved to the present venue.
The Choir has been led by relatively few conductors in its life. Joe Leigh was its first conductor; followed by Wilf Jones; Osborne Hancock; Harry Corns; Albert Johnson; David Aldred and since 1993, Anne O'Hara.
In 1969, the choir recorded and broadcasted, six hymns for the BBC programme, “In Every Comer Sing”. In 1971, took part in a “Festival of Choirs” at Queen's Hall, Wigan, together with other choirs from Crewe and Manchester.This inspired us to host a similar Festival in 1972, in aid of the Mayor's Appeal for the Providence Hospital. Since then, we have performed in Liverpool, Manchester, Wigan and even North Wales,
Arthur Houghton is President of the Pilkington Choir having been Chairman of the choir for 12 years as well as a singer for a considerable time before that. He has a wealth of knowledge about the Choir and is ideally placed to give his own view of our history. Interestingly Arthur was our compere at concerts displaying a distinctive sense of humour together with a bottomless fund of groan- inspiring “one liners “ as well as a wealth of monologues, very popular with audiences.