|Four hundred children taking part in the Rushden and district schools’ music festival at Rushden Windmill Hall on Tuesday evening received strong encouragement to develop their musical gifts.
A large audience of parents and friends rewarded their singing with warm applause, and called for some encores. Miss Janet Maddison, the Kettering violinist, who has assisted the Halle Orchestra and given radio recitals, played to them and spoke about the music she had chosen. The Mayor of Higham Ferrers (Mr. John White) urged them to continue their interest, and Mr. W. A. E. Sherwood, chairman of the festival committee, said in thanking the scholars; “I wish they could all attach themselves to adult choirs later on; what a revival there would be of music in Rushden and the district!”
From ten primary and secondary schools in Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Stanwick and Raunds, the young singers were massed on and below the stage, taking up more than a third of the floor space. Facing them were as many people as could be packed into the large hall, guests including representatives of civic and educational bodies.
Mr. Stanley Thorne, county music adviser, was principal conductor, and obtained joyous, eager performances, in which, though light and shade could be secured, the natural high spirit of youth and a particular flair for attractive rhythms were predominant.
Only one chorus was on a direct patriotic theme, but many songs, composed or arranged by modern musicians, were rooted in healthy tradition or sprang from familiar scenes and subjects.
Choirs from five schools took the front platform separately, and were conducted by their own leaders. Mr. R. R. Lawrence was the chief accompanist.
In a speech at the interval Mr. White told the scholars: “Today there is every opportunity for you to continue to sing or, if you prefer, to play an instrument. There are bands and choirs and societies which cover every branch of music in which you may be interested, and they would be only too happy to help you to develop your talent.
“Do let me impress upon you the importance of continuing your interest in music so that in due course you will be able to take the place of those who have built up the reputation held by this neighbourhood.”
Schools taking part were Higham Ferrers, Raunds Junior, Rushden Alfred Street, Rushden Newton Road, Rushden South End, Stanwick, Raunds County Modern, Rushden North End and Rushden Tennyson Road.