Royal Command Performance 1957
The official photograph of the Choir taken in 1957. Second from left in bottom row is Ivor Sims, Conductor. Next to Mr Sims is Mrs. J T Morgan and next to her is Mr. J T Morgan (Choir President).
Here are transcripts from the Daily Herald and two unidentified national newspapers, 1957. See the original cuttings: one, two.
in the presence of
Her Majesty The Queen
on the Evening of Monday 18th November 1957
at The Palladium, London
In aid of the Variety Artists’ Benevolent Fund and Institution
Kaye Sisters - Max Bygraves - George Carden Dancers - George Mitchell Singers - The Goofers -Jimmy Logan - Harry Secombe with the Morriston Orpheus Choir -The Crazy Gang - Leo deLyon - Gracie Fields - Dickie Henderson - Count Basie and his Orchestra - Ralph Reader and the Gang Show - Max Bygraves - Judy Garland - The Diplomats - Mario Lanza - Norrie Paramour’s Big Ben Banjo Band - Ronnie Hilton - Dickie Valentine - Malcolm Vaughan - Teddy Johnson - Dennis Lotis - Frankie Vaughan - David Whitfield - Herschele Henlere - Arthur Askey - Vera Lynn - Markova - Alma Cogan - John Tiller Girls - Tommy Cooper - Winifred Atwell - Tommy Steele and his Steelmen - Bob Monkhouse (Compère)
(Should have taken place on 5th November 1956 - postponed because of the Suez crisis)
Cheers for Orpheus
DAI JONESES’ TRIUMPH AT PALLADIUM
After the heartbreak of last year’s Suez-cancelled performance, the Morriston Orpheus Choir returned triumphantly last night to the Palladium for the Royal Variety Performance before the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Dressed in miners’ helmets, boiler suits and overalls, the 101 strong choir collected one of the biggest ovations of the star-spangled evening with their two songs, “All Through the Night” and “We’ll Keep a Welcome.”
Harry Secombe, the Welsh Goon with the golden voice, introduced the choir.
After singing “On with the Motley” he gave the famous Goon Giggle, cleared his throat and announced; “Now for some culture.”
The curtains parted and the choir stood posed against a black backcloth depicting the Welsh hills. “I’ve brought some of the lads along,” said Secombe.” I know them all by name. Listen. ‘Are you there Dai Jones?’”
Roared back the Choir in rich unison, “Aye.”
The group then went on with their first song and were later joined by Harry Secombe for the “We’ll Keep a Welcome” number.
The audience, which, up to the Choir’s appearance early in the first half, had been sparing with their plaudits, gave them the first genuine applause of the evening.
The Royal party clapped enthusiastically, the Duke leaned forward appreciatively.
Today, secretary of the choir, Mr, David Jones, said; “Last night’s reception more than made up for the disappointment we experienced over last year’s cancelled show. I know the chaps were really thrilled at performing before the Queen.”
“None of us was presented to the Queen because there was not time for her to meet all the members of the cast. After the show we stayed on for the reception given to the cast at the Palladium.”
Welsh choir in London
ROCK’N’ROLL FANS KEPT A WELCOME
Return to Swansea of the Morriston Orpheus Choir yesterday after its triumphant appearance at the Royal Command Variety Performance at the Palladium in London brought to light several interesting incidents in connection with the trip.
It was a sacrifice of wages for many of the choir, but all were convinced the experience was well worth it, particularly when it became known that Harry Secombe, the Swansea born comedian, who sang with them, had been told by the Queen that she had been delighted with the singing of the Choir
The party went to London on the 9.15 train on Sunday morning.
One member, Mr. Cyril Lewis, a dairyman, got up at 3 a.m. to get everything ready for the round.
His brother, an accountant, saw that everyone had their milk as usual.
Another member, living in Gowerton, started out for Swansea on foot at 6 a. m. Fortunately he was able to get lifts towards town.
In London the party learned at the first rehearsal that only 80 could be accommodated on the stage but this happily was remedied just before the start of the great show when all appeared on the stage in the clothing of their callings, in miner’s rig, in boiler suits , and in one case, a milkman’s coat.
On Sunday evening a party of 50 of the Choir sang in Snow’s Picadilly, and Monday saw more rehearsals. One amusing incident was when the choir arrived at the Palladium on Monday night for the great occasion. In the large crowd outside were very youthful “fans” of Tommy Steel and Dickie Valentine some with their favourites’ names on their jerseys or coats.
With the arrival of the choir these struck up “We’ll give a welcome.” Inside the theatre the Choir had a tumultuous reception.
The act the Queen didn’t see
Stars in row over top-of-the-bill Tommy Steele
By Anthony Carthew
The curtain never rose on the liveliest act at the London Palladium last night, and the Queen, sitting in the flower-bedecked royal box, really missed something - a fine old backstage barney.
For all the 50 stars in the Royal Variety Show were arguing about one question: ‘Why was a rock ‘n’ roll wonder boy, Tommy Steele made top of the bill?’
With his Steelmen, Tommy was given the coveted spot immediately before the finale. And he was given it in preference to the big international names. Names like Judy garland, Mario Lanza, Gracie Fields.
In previous years it has been the practice to give the honour to a visiting celebrity. This year, Tommy Steele, one year in the business, swept tradition away
The official explanation from Palladium boss Val Parnell: “Steele’s act fitted in better with the plan. We arranged a Cavalcade of Variety to fill most of the second half of the show and Tommy Steele was gthe idea way of bringing the cavalcade up to date.”
Tommy said: “ I couldn’t care less. I go on when I’m told to go on.”
On stage Steele had a pretty tough time. His teenage following was absent ( the tickets were 20 guineas a time and this made for a slightly elderly audience) and the applause was polite.
The greatest cheer of the evening went to the men who came on in their ordinary clothes. These were the Morriston Orpheus Choir from Swansea.
Wearing miners’ helmets. Boiler suits and overalls they sang, ‘All through the night’. This was one of the few serious moments in the evening. It went over better than Mario Lanza and ever better than Markova dancing the ‘Dying Swan’. The other amateurs were boy scouts – hundreds of them in an excerpt from the Gang Show. The youngest was 12 and the oldest was Ralph Reader.
Judy Garland was far from well and her voice far from strong. But ‘Over the Rainbow’ was still the show’s most touching moment.