Blue Sweater Black Trousers Yellow T-shirt Black Socks Black Shoes (not No 1 shoes)
Yellow Jacket (from previous Stage Suit) Black Trousers (from Blues uniform) White
Shirt (NOT ‘wing-collared’) Black Socks Black Bow Tie Black Shoes (not No 1 shoes)
White Jacket Black Trousers (Satin Side Seams) White Wing-collared Shirt Crepe de Chine
Mulberry Floral W/Coat Crepe de Chine Mulberry Bow Tie Black Patent Leather Shoes White
Braces Black Socks
White Wing-collared Shirt (from No. 1’s) Black Trousers (from No. 1’s) Cerise Waistcoat
(reverse of No. 1’s W/Coat) Cerise Bow Tie Black Shoes (from No. 1’s) Black Socks White
The first set of Bernard’s documents I started to read is from 1992. It was an important
year because it was when the Preston Red Rose Chorus twinned with the Red Rose Chorus
from Lancaster, Pennsylvania as part of that year’s Preston Guild.
The first pages of the file are the weekly newsletter, which was known as Overtones
- The 5th Dimension of the Red Rose Chorus. They were written by Club Secretary Michael
O’Neill. His new year thoughts still hold good today:
I’m brave enough to go public in stating my New Year Vows (oh yes, there are more
than one.) Here goes,
* I will not eyeball * I will not sing when the pitch-pipe is blowing (stand up the
boy who whispered ‘Life would be sweeter if he didn’t sing at all’) * I will not sing
when the Section leader asks me to LISTEN to my part of a new song * I will not sing
any louder than ‘beautiful’ * I will listen to the man behind, in front of and by
the side of me * I will endeavour to glean all possible information about ‘The Craft’
AND SHARE IT with others who ask * I will sing as well and wisely as I possibly can
and … I WILL BE NICE (GENUINELY AND SINCERELY NICE) TO OTHER PEOPLE - BE THEY BARBERSHOP
SINGERS OR NO
On April 23, 1992, Michael O’Neill wrote of Bernard:
My Good Friend … Your Good Friend … In Fact …
Barbershop’s good friend, Mr Bernard Davis has not let the fact that he sings Bari
(he can sight-read and sing all the other parts too - clever so-and-so!) Deter him
from becoming the kind of information gatherer that would make a CIA officer look
like the latest entrant to an infants’ creche. Oh no, not our Bernard - in fact,
rumour has it that if reincarnation is a reality he is to return as a ferret! He
has an uncanny knack of unearthing information that is useful to all of us. Bernard,
seriously, I am grateful for your help - both musically and literally. Read through
Bernard’s info carefully folks - there is something for everyone.
I have looked through every issue of Overtones for 1992. I can’t claim to have read
them thoroughly. What strikes me most is the enormous amount of effort that went
into producing this newsletter every week. Every issue has at least two A4 pages
and some have six or more. How much easier it is these days when everything can be
updated on the website and (theoretically) everybody sees the most up-to-date information.
There was a lot of discussion about the twinning and even more about the new uniforms.
By September the Chorus had a variety of uniforms and there was clearly a great deal
of confusion. Michael O’Neill wrote:
I think we should clarify our uniform or dress options - and select a terminology
which will be permanently applicable to each one of those outfits. This will make
it easier for those of us who arrive at a venue in a different outfit and swear blind
that everyone else is in the wrong outfit. I suggest we stick to these terminologies
and DO NOT ADD ANY OTHER WORDS such as ‘and yellows’, ‘pinks’, etc., etc. Let’s keep
things SIMPLE and UNIFORM.
Please note: When appearing in ‘Yellows’ always bring along your blue sweater from
‘Blues’ uniform; when performance is completed the blue sweater then can be exchanged
for your yellow jacket thus extending the life/cleanliness of the yellow jacket.
Please retain and keep clean the yellow trousers which you have in your possession
from the ‘old’ yellow stage suit, these may be incorporated into an additional stage/performance
It seems that this didn’t really clear up the confusion and in October it was declared
that ‘Blues’ no longer exists as a statutory mode of dress for the Chorus.
Here they are in the new uniforms.
The last issue of Overtones for 1992 has a summing-up of the year’s event. Click
here to read it. In the summing-up mention is made of Bernard Dickinson, who paid
for the new stagewear for the whole Chorus, and Jim Turner, who bought and renovated
a trailer for moving the risers.
Twinning with The Lancaster Red Rose Chorus of Pennsylvania
Preparations went on throughout the year (and much of the previous year) for the
Twinning event, which took place in late August. Very detailed arrangements were
made. The two choruses were known as Red Rose East and Red Rose West.
Preston Chorus went by coach to Manchester Airport and greeted their guests in the
manner you would expect.
Red Rose West were welcomed by the Mayor and Mayoress of Lancaster.
For the ceremony itself a vintage motorcade took guests to Hoghton Tower, where gifts
were exchanged and the official certificates were presented. There was a concert
with both Red Rose choruses, The Rosettes and American quartets.
There were further concerts including One More Song at Preston Guild Hall, which
was followed by the Afterglow at Leyland Resort with a hotpot supper. (Earlier in
the day the Red Rose West had been introduced to he culinary delights of Lancashire
with a lunch of mash, mushy peas, black pudding, pickled tripe, onions and cheese.