That first performance in
Huddersfield Town Hall on December 17, 1946 was packed.
Tickets cost between one shilling (that's about 5p in today's
parlance) and three shillings (that's about 15p).
And to mark those wonderfully
nostalgic prices, the choir agreed to sell the first 10
tickets bought for next week's concert at 1946 prices.
So some lucky concertgoers have snapped up tickets for
next Tuesday's (December 6) celebratory concert at just
5p for a gallery seat, 10p for an area ticket and 15p for
the privilege of sitting in the balcony.
The jubilee concert is certainly
capturing the imaginations of many connected with the Methodist
Choir both present and past. Supporters are travelling
from all corners it seems to hear a concert which will
be packed not just with present choir members but with
some of its former singers and with guests voices from
other well-known local choirs .
has it that there may be as many as 50 "extras" turning
out to join the ranks for this very special event. Of
that number who turned up for rehearsals over a two week
period, eight were tenors with another nine singing bass,
a remarkable feat for any choir!
Some of the singers are from
Huddersfield Choral Society, both present and retired members,
some are from Wakefield Festival Choir and some from Holmfirth
"One has sung with the London
Festival Orchestra and another with the Hallé. There
are a few coming from the U3A Choir and members of the
Methodist choir have come out of retirement to sing," said
a choir spokesman.
And some are literally going
the extra mile to get involved whether as singers or in
Brian Bullick, a retired minister,
and his wife Anne will be travelling from St Anne's to
be there - as will Ron Horn who will make the journey from
Photographs and memories have
been flying in thick and fast from choir officers who have
found that ads and stories about the jubilee have sparked
off lots of reminiscences about the choir and about that
first concert in particular.
That first concert, staged
as the country was still struggling to come to terms with
a new life after the end of World War 2, hoped to raise
money for the Methodist Appeal for Bombed Churches. The
choir's charity this year is the Yorkshire Air Ambulance
The massed voices in 1946
were accompanied by Mr Ernest Cooper at the organ - a tradition
which is still maintained, the organist for this year's
performance being Simon Lindley. That early choir was conducted
by Mr A S Frost and the choir's current man with the baton,
Alan Brierley, will lead this year's Messiah.
to the Examiner review pubished the day following the
debut concert: "The
choir had a good balance, their singing had always confidence
in attack and in such choruses as For Unto Us, Mr Frost
was able to secure an easy and fluent rhythm as well as
a fine tone."
The soloists were Miss Hilda
Broadbent, Miss Elsie Jackson, Mr Jack Ardron and Mr H
Miss Hilda Beaumont was said to sing with a voice of "lovely quality".
Elsie Jackson, it said "Sang
the contralto solos with a fine appreciation of their value
but it was probably nervousness that surprisingly robbed
this singer of the power to finish long phrases with complete
Do The Nations? was sung by Mr H Winfield Sykes with
a freedom, robust effect and full generous tone that
were wholly engaging."
tenor solos were well sung by Mr Jack Ardron. His production
was a little on the tight side but the tone had clarity
and resonance and his singing of Thy Rebuke and the succeeding
numbers was marked by a deep understanding of the music
and an expressive power that had both complete sincerity
and vocal finish."
organ playing was also highly praised. "The accompanist secured often
an effect of genuine brilliance".
After reading about the 60th
anniversary performance of Messiah in Denis Kilcommons'
Examiner Diary, Jack Ardron's cousin Mrs Mary Newman came
up with some photographs which you can see above.
clearly ran in the family because she too was a singer
with the Glee & Madrigal
and with St Mary's Outlane. Jack sang for both.
Soloist H Winfield Sykes sang
with the Choral and Elsie Beaumont sang with the Choral,
Lindley Zion and with Huddersfield Ladies.
Bags of memories then and
a feeling of much to celebrate as Huddersfield Methodist
Choir prepares for another, milestone Messiah.
* Tickets for the concert
at Huddersfield Town Hall on December 6 at
7.15pm on 01484-542257.
uploaded 20051201 : Source: Jon Voslo
Concerts Menu 2005