The Nelson Arion

The Nelson Arion Male Voice Choir is an integral part of the musical landscape of East Lancashire.

Based in Nelson, the choir has a distinguished history and we hope that this website will provide information as to that history and the choirs future activities.

Please take a look at our image gallery for a look at our past performances. If you are interested in becoming a choir member or patron of the choir you will find all of the information you need on our Join Us page.

Nelson Arion Male Voice Choir 

Choir Officers

Choir Officers

Nelson Arion is proud to perform at venues and events near you. Our team consists of a strong group of choir members, musical director, deputy, conductor, treasurer, secretary and press officer. Meet the team that makes this possible;

Frank Smith


Frank, a proud Yorkshireman, has been associated with the choir for over 50 years and over 40 years as conductor. Frank’s father Jack conducted the choir for 10 years and Frank sang under his direction as a choir member. When Jack retired, he passed the baton to his son (no pun intended), and young Frank, by means of innate musicianship and a steely determination to get things done to the very highest standard, led the choir to unprecedented success. Forty years later he continues to uphold these high standards, his drive and resolution undiminished.

John Taylor


A good choir needs a dependable accompanist, and John, another Yorkshireman, has played that role to perfection for more than 35 years. As well as accompanying the choir on piano and organ, John accompanies both soloists from the choir and guest artists, often professional singers. The choir is fortunate to be able to call on John’s musical abilities not just as accompanist, but also as a more than competent deputy to Frank

Ian Hargreaves


Ian is a retired teacher from St Theodore’s School in Burnley. At that time the school had a student who later became an Opera Star. His name was Sean Ruane. A native of Rossendale, Ian is a relatively recent member of the choir – anyone who has been a member for fewer than 15 years is regarded as a new member – and has rapidly established himself as a prominent member of the bass section and a solid committee man.

Duncan Read


By profession Duncan is a Chartered Valuation Surveyor. He has been a member of the Tenor Section for over 30 years, and presently is the choirs Press Officer and Editor of the Clarion newsletter. A man of quiet disposition, Duncan has a good sense of humour, which has been shown in recent editions of the Clarion. His considered opinions at committee level are rarely challenged and is a great asset to the choir.

Tony Young

Choir Chairman

Tony Young is the only Choir Chairman in living memory not to be a singing member of the choir. He says 'if you have heard me sing you would know why'. Tony has been Choir Secretary and is still Patron's Secretary and is an invaluable member of the team

Nelson Arion Choir History

The choir was formed in 1887. Although Joe Ingham was the first of many famous names to have the honour of conducting the Arion Choir,  it was not until he handed the baton to Isaac Thompson in 1890 that the choir ventured into the competitive arena.

In was in 1910 that Lawson Berry (pictured on right) took the Arion to compete at Caergwile (Wales) where they took first prize and Bardic Chair. This was the first time a Chair was ever brought out of Wales.Over many, many years the unique sound from the Arion Choir has been widely recognised by people like Sir Thomas Armstrong, who for many years was a most respected adjudicator of Choral Music.

It could be said that the choir hit one of its peaks during and after the 1980’s. The choir won many Festivals and Competitions, which included the Llangollen International Eisteddfod (a record 5 times), the BBC Radio Wales Choir of the Year Competition, The Elgar Trophy and many more.The choir has also appeared at the Royal Albert Hall and the Festival Hall in London. They have also visited Germany, Vancouver, Budapest and Ireland and have made very recent appearances (and continue to do so in 2012) at the prestigious Bridgewater Hall – Manchester.


Latest Events


This concert takes place on SATURDAY 11TH JUNE 2016 at 7.30pm


Tickets are £8 including refreshments and are available from ANN KAY tel 01254 824103 mob 07768322125 or pay on the door.


The Arion's annual CELEBRITY CONCERT will take place on SATURDAY OCTOBER 15TH 2016 AT 2.30PM (PLEASE NOTE THE TIME) at ST THOMAS' CHURCH, BARROWFORD. The choir's guest artist  is again THOM HARDAKER, the brilliant accordionist. Those who heard him last year will want to hear him again ...