Harland and Wolff - Shipbuilding and Engineering Works

Harlandic Male Voice Choir

It was during the latter days of November 1944 that the statement "Let's form a choir" was made to a group of men singing round a coke fire in the Victoria Works of the famous Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff during a lunch time break. The sing songs of these men sounded good to the listeners and were a daily feature to help break the monotony of men working long hours during the war years. At the first meeting called for those interested in the formation of a choir the response was so encouraging that rehearsal began the next week.

Harlandic Male Voice Choir 1956 - 1957

They encountered problems immediately - Where would rehearsals take place? And when? as the men were working twelve hour shifts. Agreement was soon reached, and an outside air-raid shelter was placed at the disposal of the men during lunch-breaks for the first choir rehearsals. One member, Norman Fitzsimmons, agreed to act as conductor and so rehearsals commenced.

Progress was good, so good in fact that a room in Belfast city centre was hired and the first full time Director of Music, Adam Donaghy was appointed in 1945. Under Adam's guidance the choir grew rapidly in competence. The membership became larger and more dedicated, the scene of men coming directly from work in boiler suits and overalls was a common one such was the enthusiasm, which pertains to this day. The decisive moment had arrived, the choir entered for Larne Competitive Music Festival and in a strong class entry won first place with an average of 92 marks.

This was the first of a succession of awards won at music festivals in the British Isles, the list is an impressive one. Harlandic have won the BBC 'Let the People Sing' competition a record four times and have represented the United Kingdom in the European finals of that competition on three occasions.

Harlandic Male Voice Choir Website