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Adult School Male Voice Choir

This early picture is thought to be 1905 soon after the choir was formed.
This picture has been captioned : by C. W. Bedford.
Photo courtesy of Mrs Moore.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 12th October 1906, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Large Photograph of the Rushden Adult School Male Choir, handsomely framed, has been presented by the members to the former conductor, Mr. William Skinner.

Accompanying the gift was the following letter from Mr. Walter Howes, the hon, secretary of the choir: “Dear Mr. Skinner, The members of the Rushden Adult School Male Prize Choir would be pleased if you would accept the photograph of the choir. We are proud of the position we hold today and we feel that it is entirely due to the great effort and sacrifice you so kindly give to the choir, and feel sure you will feel that your valuable assistance has not been wasted, but rather that it will be of great benefit, not only to the members of the choir, but also to the credit of Rushden. Again thanking you for past services, and trusting to your interest and kind advice for the future, I remain, yours respectfully, W. Howes, secretary.”

Rushden Echo, 9th April 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—At a meeting of the Adult School Male Choir on Tuesday Mr F Linnitt, who is leaving the town, was presented with a copy of the latest edition of Sankey’s Hymns, with music, with the best wishes of the choir, of which he had been a member from its commencement.

Rushden Echo, 28th May 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Outing—The Adult School Male Choir had a very pleasant outing on Saturday, when they drove to Carlton. They went by way of Sharnbrook and Harrold, singing selections in each place. Carlton was reached about 5p.m., and tea, provided by Mrs. Leaberry, was greatly enjoyed. The return journey was by way of Podington and Wymington, Rushden being reached about 10p.m.

Rushden Echo, 28th May 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

Open-Air Concert—In the Council Field, on Sunday afternoon, the Rushden Adult School Male Choir and String Band gave an enjoyable concert before a large audience. The choir, under the conductorship of Mr. T. T. Clarke, gave in excellent style the part songs, Hymn before action, In absence, Sweet doth blush, Martyrs of the arena, The traveller’s farewell, and The destruction of Gaza. The Band, conducted by Mr. F. S. Knight, with Mr. J. W. Randall as leader, played very pleasingly the selection Zethus, Diadem, The heavens are telling, and Distant greeting. A collection was taken for the choir fund.

The Rushden Echo, 17th December 1909, transcribed by Kay Collins

THE FIRST ANNUAL DINNER and social of the Rushden Adult School Male Choir was held in the Public Hall on Wednesday evening last. Dinner was provided at 7.30 p.m. by Miss Wyldes and staff, of the Waverley Hotel, and about 70 sat down to a first-class spread. Mr. T. H. Bond, president of the choir, made a brief speech, welcoming the visitors and complimenting the caterers on the excellence of the repast. After dinner various games were indulged in, and the entire company had a rollicking time. Songs were given by Mr. Bert Sanders, Mr. A. A. Colbourne, Mr. Max Stringer, and Mr. H. Ginns. Mr. Harry Neal, with his subtle humour, caused great amusement, and Mr. H. Ginns also created laughter with his humorous songs. The company broke up at about 11.30 after an extremely pleasant and enjoyable evening.

In 1912 Mr Horace Catlin was the conductor.

Rushden Adult School Male Voice Choir (date unknown)
Jesse Bird is 4th from left 2nd row down.
He loved singing and a family favourite we liked to hear him sing was the laughing policeman.
Photo from Lynn Morris (grand daughter of Jesse)

Rushden Argus, 1st May 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

On Saturday the Men's Adult School Male Choir journeyed to Northampton, and took part in the Mid-Northants Musical Competitions, taking second prize, under the conductorship of Mr. Bert Sanders. The piece was "Love's folly," the choir getting 93 marks out of 100.

Adult School Choir in 1914
Postcard by S Powell

Rushden Argus, 26th June 1914, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—A pleasing presentation took place on Saturday in the grounds of Mr. J. Claridge’s residence, when Mr. Bert Sanders was made the recipient of a handsome oak-framed photo of the Adult School Choir. Mr. T. H. Bond, the retiring president of the school made the presentation on behalf of the choir. Speaking of Mr. Sanders’ valuable services as conductor, and mentioning that the success of the choir was largely due to the great pains Mr. Sanders took over their training. The photo was inscribed “Presented to Mr. B. Sanders by the Rushden Adult School Choir, June 1914.”

The Rushden Echo, 24th July, 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis

The Rushden Adult School Male Prize Choir under the conductorship of Mr. Bert Sanders, will take part to-morrow (Saturday) in the great open contest for male choirs at Coalville, Leicestershire.

The 21 competing choirs includeKettering Gold-st, Earls Stilton, Tamworth, Church Gresley, and other well-known combinations. The test piece is “The Coming of Day,” which the Rushden choir have been carefully rehearsing during the last week or two under the baton of Mr. Sanders. This is the most important contest for which the Rushden choir have ever entered. There is also a quartette contest, for which there are 14 entries, including the Rushden Adult School Male Quartette (Messrs. Ingram, Edwards, Bert Sanders and A. E. Bates).

Rushden Echo & Argus, 25th June 1920, transcribed by Kay Collins

A presentation of a handsome gold watch was made to Mr. Bert Sanders by the members of the Rushden Adult School Male Choir at their weekly practice on Monday. Handing the gift to Mr. Sanders, Mr. H. Durham, one of the longest serving members, expressed the gratitude of the choir for the efficient and untiring services given as conductor by Mr. Sanders for eight years. Mr. Sanders, in thanking the members, assured them that the work had been a pleasure. He was also indebted to the choir for the splendid manner in which they turned up so enthusiastically for practices.

Rushden Echo, 26th August 1921

The Angelus Quartette and a Rushden Adult School Quartette competed yesterday.

Rushden Echo, 8th December 1922, transcribed by Kay Collins

Noted Male Choir—Under the Oundle news, the “Peterborough Advertiser” of Friday last makes the following glowing tribute to the Rushden Adult School Male Choir and Rushden vocalists: “On Saturday evening at the Victoria Hall, the Rushden Adult School Male Choir made, we believe, their first appearance in Oundle, in aid of the funds of the Oundle Congregational Church, and it must be said their singing was really wonderful, the blending and harmonisation being perfect, as they had no accompaniment, and it was a real musical treat. There were two lady vocalists, Miss Berrill and Miss Stringer, who were deservedly encored for their beautiful singing. Mr R Knight expressed indebtedness to the choir. Mr F Ingram, the conductor, said they were delighted to come, and were only too willing to help in any good cause. Mr G Rippiner arranged for the choir to come, and many thanks are due to him.”

Rushden Echo, 20th April 1923, transcribed by Kay Collins

Tribute to Rushden ChoirMr. F. Ingram, conductor of the Rushden Men’s Adult School Choir, has received the following letter from a friend at March, Cambridgeshire: "Dear Mr. Ingram, We can never forget hearing your choir at Wisbech recently, and we want you to come to March. There has never been any male voice choir in March yet, and I want an Adult School choir to be first! I am confident we shall have grand memories to cherish of your visit. There is great scope for the Adult School movement here, but we are sadly handicapped by having no place of our own."

Rushden Echo, 6th July 1928, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—At the Adult School Male Voice Choir practice on Monday a gift of a watch was made by Mr H Durham (president), on behalf of the choir, to Mr Bert Wills, the pianist and deputy conductor, who is leaving the town for London. Several members expressed their appreciation of Mr Wills’s valuable services and wished him success in his new sphere. Mr Wills, in response, wished continued success to the choir.

Northampton Independent Magazine, 26th October 1934, Vol 26

They have selected the following: "The Border Ballad" (Maunder), "On the Sea" (Buck), "Lovely Night" (Chwatal), "Excelsior" (Balfe), "Sun of my Soul" (Baker), "In Silent Night" (Brahms), "The Herald" (Elgar), "Robin Adair" (Cantor), and "The Radiant Morn" (Coleman).
The reputation of Rushden for musical talent has received another notable tribute following the B.B.C.'s invitation to the Rushden Adult School Male Choir to broadcast a programme on Sunday, November 19th, from 5.30 to 6.30.

Naturally the members have proudly accepted the invitation and will broadcast from the Midland Regional a number of part songs for which they have already begun rehearsing three nights a week.

This now famous choir has been in existence for 30 years, and in 28 contests has won 23; among its triumphs being the winning outright of the championship cup at the Market Harborough Festival. The choir has raised large sums by concerts for charity, its efforts involving much self-sacrifice, for it is a strict rule that not a penny of the profits goes into the members' pockets. Even their music—not a small item—is bought by the members themselves.

A Popular President
During the war the choir had great difficulty in carrying on, but it has since grown in strength and efficiency under the capable conductorship of Mr. Christopher Francis. Many of the most promising young singers of Rushden have recently joined, so that its average age of members is lower than it has been for some years. The only remaining original member is Mr. H. W. Durham, who has been elected president, with Mr. C. Parker as hon. secretary, Mr. C. Jaques as hon. treasurer, and Miss Mary Gomm as accompanist.

This broadcasting honour follows swiftly upon that recently conferred by the B.B.C. upon Rushden Town Band.

programme for Martyrs 1935
Programme of ' The Martyrs' 1935
Extract from a longer article 1941
Joseph Ekins the second son, is a sergeant in the R.A.S.C., and the only one of the brothers now serving abroad. He has been in the Middle East about 16 months. Before his voluntary enlistment he was in the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society office and a tenor in the Adult School choir.

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