Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Rushden Echo, 9th November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins
Choir Festival at Rushden
Park-road Wesleyan Methodist Church - Excellent Financial Result

Miss Evelyn Sayer
Miss Evelyn Sayer
Rushden’s reputation as a musical town was well maintained on Sunday, when large congregations assembled in the Park-road Wesleyan Methodist Church morning, afternoon and evening, the occasion being the annual choir festival.

It was only to be expected, it being Choir Sunday, that music would take a prominent place in the day’s proceedings, and the musical arrangements could have been left in no better hands than those of Mr. A. E. Bates, the capable conductor of the choir, who had provided a veritable feast of song. The artistes specially engaged for the day comprised Miss Evelyn Sayer (soprano), of the Royal College of Music, and Mr. Bernard Tomkins (tenor), who were assisted by Mrs. Harry Shaw (contralto). Miss Sayer’s popularity in Rushden is due in the main to her undoubted abilities as an artiste, but further interest is added by the fact that she is a native of the town, and the pride her fellow-townspeople take in her accomplishments was strikingly evidenced by the crowded congregation which thronged the church on Sunday afternoon, many being unable to find a seat. One thing in regard to Miss Sayer that is bound to find favour with the public is that she always has surprises in store. However attractive her singing has seemed to be on former visits, yet on each succeeding visit she excels her efforts on all previous appearances in Rushden, which further proof of the excellence of the training she is receiving from Madame Hutchinson.

Mrs. Harry Shaw, who is the wife of the newly-appointed minister of the Park-road Wesleyan Church, is a decided acquisition to local musical circles. She is the possessor of a beautiful contralto voice, which is of a remarkably even quality and admirably controlled. These attributes, coupled with her excellent taste in the choice of her numbers, will, we venture to say, speedily establish her as a favourite amongst local lovers of the divine art.

Bernard Tomkins
Photo by Virgo of Rushden
Note: copied by digital camera from microfilm of newspaper
Throughout the day excellent service was done by the choir, under the conductorship of Mr. A. E. Bates, and it was a pleasure to find Miss Rose Peck again in her place at the organ after her recent indisposition. The artistes, we have no doubt, would, with one accord, be the first to acknowledge the valuable assistance they derived from Miss Peck’s skilful accompaniments.

The preacher, morning and evening was the Rev. Harry Shaw, whose morning discourse is reported elsewhere in this issue, and whose evening sermon was based upon Matthew xxvii. 22: "What then shall I do with Jesus, which is called Christ?" During the afternoon, Mr. Shaw expressed thanks to Mr. Bates for arranging the programme, and to Miss Sayer, Miss Peck, and Mr. Tomkins for their services. Collections were taken at each service in aid of the choir funds, the total being £13 18s., about £5 above last year’s figures.

The day’s programme was as follows:-

Morning service: Anthem, "Fear not, O Land" (Jamouneau), Choir; recit., "And God said", aria, "With verdure clad" (Haydn), Miss Sayer.

Afternoon: Quartette, "God is a Spirit" (Bennett), Miss Sayer, Mrs. Shaw, Mr. Tomkins, Mr. Bates; solo, "Peace and rest" (Batten), Mr. Tomkins; anthem, "The Lord is my strength" (Booth), Choir; solo "If God be for us" (Handel), Miss Sayer; solo, "The lost chord" (Sullivan), Mrs. Shaw; solo, "Ave Maria" (Cherubini), Miss Sayer; solo, "Then shall the righteous" (Mendelssohn), Mr. Tomkins; solo "Crossing the bar" (Willeby), Mrs. Shaw; duet, "My song shall be always" (Mendelssohn), Miss Sayer and Mr. Tomkins.

Evening: Introit, "O ye that love the Lord" (Coleridge-Taylor); anthem, "Our blest Redeemer" (E. V. Hall); Choir, soloists, Miss Sayer and Mr. Tomkins; solo, "Sun of my soul" (Adams), Mr. Tomkins; solo, "O Divine Redeemer" (Gounod), Miss Sayer; duet, "Love divine" (Stainer), Miss Sayer and Mr. Tomkins.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to e-mail us