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Historic 1946 Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir Sings Again On KVMR's "Old Radio Theater"

KVMR's "Old Radio Theater" 9pm, December 28, 2008



Dec. 18, 2008 - Christmas in the gold country wouldn't be complete without the annual airing on KVMR-fm of those age old carols sung by the 1946 Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir. Add to your holiday festivities Sunday evening, December 28, at 9pm by listening to KVMR-fm and OLD RADIO THEATER'S airing of the 62 year old broadcast of the Cornish Carol Choir.

Tune to KVMR at 89.5-fm or via www.kvmr.org.

Hear the actual voices of the gold miners and their sons who sang live to the nation on Christmas morning 1946 over the National Broadcasting Company radio network. Their fifty voices, all male, five-part harmony was under the direction of Harold J. George, Sr. The Choir sang live over a special NBC network telephone hookup to the nation that originated from the stage of Grass Valley's Del Oro Theater. NBC-San Francisco announcer Dudley Manlove provides an informative historical narrative about the Choir and Grass Valley on the program. This is the only known recording of the Choir's many appearances during the golden days of radio.

The 1946 NBC Cornish Carol Choir broadcast is an annual presentation by David and Linda Breninger hosts of OLD RADIO THEATER. They recently celebrated their 23rd year on the air as volunteers sharing their time and vast collection of original radio programs with listeners across the Sierra and Sacramento Valley.

About the Grass Valley Cornish Carol Choir

This holiday broadcast is one of several coast-to-coast presentations the Choir aired during the golden days of radio. In 1941, '42 and '43, they sang each Christmas season to a national radio audience via network hookup while singing from 2,000 feet underground in the Idaho-Maryland gold mine. In 1941 the Choir sang over NBC. In 1941 and 42 they were heard on DEATH VALLEY DAYS over CBS. The Choir was heard world wide during World War II via the British Broadcasting Corporation. Both in 1946 and again in 1948 the Choir was heard on NBC while singing to the nation from the stage of Grass Valley's Del Oro Theater. The only known surviving radio program of the Choir is the 1946 NBC network broadcast.

The Carol Choir originally formed in the early 1870s. It was composed of Cornish gold miners who began the practice of singing at the end of a work day in the mines while walking to their homes. The miners would sing Cornish Christmas songs that their ancestors had sang for centuries in Cornwall, England.

Thus, a music tradition began in Grass Valley. The Choir was invited and traveled throughout northern California beginning in the late 1800s and would sing from the chancels of scores of churches, at hospitals and on the steps of the California State Capitol. They were invited back decade after decade and especially so to sing for the citizens in the cities of Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco.

The original Carol Choir shared their Christmas carols locally every holiday season for nearly a century until finally disbanding at the close of the 1968 Christmas season.


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