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Article extracted from "One Hundred Years of Worship" by kind permission, and compiled by Greville Watson 2007



By all accounts there was a flourishing choir at the opening of the new church in 1900.  The minutes show that the choir-masters in 1898 were Mr. Mackness and Mr. Bromage.

In January 1900, recommendation ‘that the first verse of the hymn be read out by the minister and afterwards played over by the organist – the choir and congregation to rise during the playing of the last line’  was made by the choir to the leaders of the church.

There were various choir-masters in the early history of the choir with Mr. Cunnington taking the reins in 1906.  However, by 1908 Mr. Cunnington had developed ‘a bad throat’ and asked to be relieved of his duties for six months, but, his throat having not recovered after this time, he resigned his position and Mr. Lawson took over.  By 1920 Mr. Flood had been appointed choir-master – a role he fulfilled until 1945, being succeeded by Mr. Hardwick who resigned in 1949.  After some time without a conductor, the post having been advertised in the local press, Mr. Wesley Vorley of Wellingborough was taken on in November 1950, with Mr. John Parker succeeding him in 1958 and continuing until 1962.

The Choir Secretary in the early years of the church’s history must have been a very busy man as the minutes constantly stated ‘a letter had been received from the choir...’ outlining various complaints.  As early as 1901 complaints of draughts around the choir were made and curtains were hung to try to rectify this.  However, they were still complaining in 1937!  Lighting was another problem and special incandescent lights were fitted in 1933 but these were found to be unsatisfactory.

Another ominous minute states ‘the choir – an opinion was expressed that there was an unfortunate undercurrent or misunderstanding between members. The secretary of the choir to be asked to call a special meeting’.  No further details of this were available although a minute in a meeting a few weeks later stated: ‘if the minister chooses a tune for a hymn this must be played – if not known should be practised beforehand by the choir’, maybe the two are connected.

In 1942 the choir took on the mammoth task of rendering “The Crucifixion” on Passion Sunday afternoon and “Olivet to Calvary” on Palm Sunday evening, the proceeds from which £17.13.9d were made up to £21 by the church and sent to the union “War Damaged Churches Fund”.

The choir served the church and its congregations well for many years, but sadly it folded in 1967 when the number of choir members dwindled.

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

Presentations – On Sunday afternoon several interesting presentation were made in the choir-vestry at the High-street Independent Wesleyan Church, the recipients being Mr. and Mrs. W. Drage, who have this week left Rushden for the United States of America. Mr. Drage has been a teacher in the Sunday school for some years and this department of church work presented him with a writing case. He has also been a member of the choir for a considerable period, and his fellow choristers made him a farewell gift of a pair of ebony-backed brushes in a case. Mr. George Denton, C.C., made the presentation on behalf of the Sunday school, and said that the school had sustained serious losses by the removals of so many of their workers. He hoped some of the younger people would be prepared to fill the positions vacated by those who were leaving. It was a sorrow to lose Mr. and Mrs. Drage from their midst, but their removal was probably for the best, as they had friends in the country to which they were going. Mr. Arthur Lawson made the presentation to Mr. Drage on behalf of the choir, and he presented to Mrs. Drage, who also has been a member of the choir for several years, a brush and comb. Mr. Drage suitably acknowledged the presentations.

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