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Weirton’s Singing Men of Steel

By Mary Zwierzchowski

Weirton Steel Choral Society
The Weirton Steel Choral Society perform at a 2004 concert in Wheeling. Photograph by Richard Bryan.


The Wall Street Journal called them the “Anvil Chorus, ...a conglomerate of men from all vocations and walks of life who meet once a week to do what they love best — and that is to sing.”

They are members of the Weirton Steel Choral Society, and they have been singing together since 1934. The names and faces have changed many times through the years, but the mellow blend of their voices has remained constant.

Originally named the Weirton Steel Male Chorus, the group was organized under the sponsorship of the mammoth Weirton Steel Company, through the General Recreation Committee of the Employees’ Representatives. They came from all departments of the mill and were soon dubbed the Singing Men of Steel.

The new choral group, under the direction John Ferguson, made their debut on May 3, 1935, and presented their first annual concert at Weir High Auditorium March 6, 1936. Since then, they have performed admirably in hundreds of concerts throughout the area and across the country.

John Possnack, a retired Tin Mill employee, holds the distinction of being the group’s only surviving charter member. Possnack is in failing health and was not available to be interviewed. However, he did express his dedication to the chorus in an interview with Yesterday and Today in January 1994. “I love to sing,” he said. “I received my training in the church choir, and [chorus member] John Glover was my choir director. I enjoy the trips we make and the companionship of the whole thing. For a musical group, we have the best relations among the men of any group I have ever been in.”

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.