Programmes 1904-1950

The first column of the table below contains links to the individual programmes. Click one of them to see the programme on a new page in pdf format. The link includes the date in the format yyyy-mm-dd plus a brief title.

The second column may contain some comments about points of interest.

1904-03-09 Elijah Mendelssohn’s Elijah, conducted by Robert Jackson and involving two future conductors, Harry Brookes as organist and Ernest Craig in the orchestra on violin. This and most following concerts was given in the Unity Hall, King St. Choir of 100 voices.
1905-11-22 Subscription Concert First Subscription Concert (presumably of this year), with two soloists. The programme included Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” March (perhaps with the choir?), several other orchestral pieces such as Elgar’s Bavarian Dances and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture, and a number of songs by Elgar and others for the soloists. The only piece explicitly involving the “Choir of 100 Voices” is Elgar’s ballad “Banner of St George”.This programme, like most of the others from this time, included all the words of every piece. For brevity, these pages have been omitted from the images here, except in the programme for January 1912, which includes an item written by the conductor.
1906-03-28 Haydn Creation Third Subscription Concert, conductor Robert Jackson, Organist Harry Brookes. Artistes were Madame Goodall (Gabriel and Eve), Mr Henry Brearley (Uriel) and Mr Fowler Burton (Raphael and Adam).
1909-11-10 Judas Maccabaeus The first subscription concert of the 25th year, given in the Unity Hall. The conductor was Harry Brookes who had now taken over from Robert Jackson. The programme lists 16 players in the orchestra and numbers the choir at 100 voices, but there is a trailer for a planned performance of Messiah on Christmas Day 1909 in the Empire Theatre involving 110 voices and an augmented orchestra of 30.
1911-03-15 Sullivan Night Held in the Unity Hall with four soloists and 130 voices. The first half consisted of “Onward Christian Soldiers”, followed by a performance of “The Golden Legend” The second half (after an interval of five minutes!) comprised a number of Sullivan overtures and songs and songs including “The Lost Chord”, and performances by the choir of the part song “Say Watchman, what of the Night?” and selections from “The Prodigal Son”. And at the end, of course “God Save the King”.Ladies are asked to remove large hats to avoid impeding the view of those behind!
1911-11-14 Elijah First Subscription Concert, at Greenacres Cooperative Hall. “Tram connections from all parts of the system”.
1912-01-16 Misc incl Elgar This programme has been copied in full. It is for the second Subscription Concert of 1912, also at Greenacres, with 130 voices a tenor soloist. The programme included Elgar’s “Barvarian Highlands” and “Banner of St George” for the choir as well as an unaccompanied part song “In the Twilight” by the conductor, Harry Brookes. There were also a number of songs and arias by the soloist and some orchestral pieces. There is a trailer for another concert on 19th March to include Smart’s “Bride of Dunkerron”.
1913-11-18 Bon-Bon Suite etc The main work in the first half was a performance of Coleridge-Taylor’s Bon-Bon Suite. The concert continued with a number of orchestral, choral and solo pieces by Verdi, Elgar and others. The chorus and orchestra is now 150 strong.
1913-12-23 Messiah The programme advertises a further concert on 17 March 1915 for which we have no programme, to consist of Elgar’s “King Olaf”, apparently previously performed in 1910.
1914-12-22 Messiah This was probably the first wartime concert. The programme advertises a further “Grand Concert” on 12 Jan 1915 in aid of the Belgian and Local Relief Funds.
1915-03-16 Caractacus This performance of Elgar’s cantata about the early British general is described as “singularly fitting for this period of our National History”. The chorus and orchestra now number 160, probably the biggest membership in the society’s history.
1926-03-09 Opera incl Gounod Faust After a long gap, this programme celebrates a “Grand Operatic Night” including a concert performance of Faust. The conductor is now Ernest Craig, who took over in 1925. The venue is still Greenacres Cooperative Hall. The choir now composes only 70 voices.
1932-11-08 Miscellaneous Concert (and review) Now in the Cooperative Hall, King Street which becomes the usual venue hereafter. Conductor Ernest Craig, soloists Frank Titterton, Tenor and Ivan Mellodew, Bass
1933-11-07 A Sea Symphony + Partial review Soloists Alice Moxon (soprano) and Frank Green (baritone).
1933-12-19 Messiah Soloists MARGARET COLLIER, Soprano, BESSIE COLLINS, Contralto, WILLIAM BERNARD, Tenor, HENRY GILL, Bass
1934-03-06 Miscellaneous Concert Artistes Jane Marcus (Violin), Harold Williams (Baritone). 80 voices.
1934-11-06 Miscellaneous Concert
1934-12-18 Messiah 50anniv Concert to mark the Society’s 50th anniversary, with soloists including Heddle Nash. There is a lot of information, with a history of the choir so far, a list of members with a photo and photos of previous conductors.
1935-03-12 Miscellaneous Concert
1935-11-12 Miscellaneous Concert + Reviews
1935-12-17 Messiah + Mayor letter + Reviews
1936-03-10 Miscellaneous Concert
1936-09-22 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1936-11-03 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1936-12-15 Messiah + Review
1937-03-09 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1937-10-26 Carmen + Review
1937-12-14 Messiah + Review
1937-12-26 Miscellaneous Concert
1938-03-08 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1938-11-08 Maritana + Misc Concert + Review
1938-12-13 Messiah + Review
1939-03-07 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1939-12-17 Messiah
1940-03-05 Miscellaneous Concert+Review
1940-11-24 Merrie England + Review This performance, conducted by Ernest Craig in the darkest days of the war, was in aid of the Mayor’s Spitfire Fund. The Avro works in Chadderton just down the road was of course an important centre of aircraft production, although they made bombers, not fighters. Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, fairly recently married and among the most famous variety duettists of that time took part. Tickets rapidly sold out and a second performance had to be arranged in the evening.
1940-12-15 Messiah
1941-03-18 Miscellaneous Concert + Review
1941-05-04 Merrie England + Review Another performance of “Merrie England” in aid of the war – this time the Oldham War Weapons Week. The review includes a report of a very patriotic speech by the ex-Lord Mayor of Manchester. And of course the concert ended with the National Anthem.
1941-10-19 Creation + Review
1941-12-14 Messiah + Review
1942-02-15 Miscellaneous Concert
1942-12-13 Messiah + Review
1943-12-12 Messiah
1944-12-10 Messiah Oldham The Society has usually been able to call on the very best soloists for their concerts – although there were instances where they found the fee too high! Towards the end of World War 2, Kathleen Ferrier, already recognised as a major talent, took part in “Messiah” in two performances a week apart in Oldham and in Stockport. Different tenor and bass soloists were used for the two concerts.
1944-12-17 Messiah Stockport See above
1945-03-18 Elijah With Marjorie Thomas contralto, who was took part in many future concerts.
1945-11-17 Misc incl Tales of Hoffman
1945-12-09 Messiah
1946-03-09 Grand Concert + Review With Louis Kentner, piano and Joan Cross soprano.
1946-04-16 Elijah
1946-10-27 Grand Charity Concert
1946-12-08 Messiah With Peter Pears as tenor
1946-12-15 Messiah Dukinfield + Review
1947-03-04 Faust With Heddle Nash as tenor
1947-11-15 Hiawatha + Reviews
1947-12-07 Messiah + Review Ada Alsop took the soprano part in this and the next concert.
1947-12-14 Messiah Dukinfield + Review
1948-03-06 Miscellaneous Concert
1948-11-07 Hymn of Praise + Miscellaneous Concert
1948-12-05 Messiah + Review The review indicates that the choir had been concerned by shrinking audiences but that this trend seemed to have been reversed with this concert.
1949-03-06 Miscellaneous Concert
1949-05-29 Merrie England + Review
1949-10-25 Samson and Delilah Marjorie Thomas as Delilah and Richard Lewis as Samson.
1949-12-04 Messiah + Review
1950-10-31 Carmen + Review Heddle Nash “not at his best” as Don Jose. The review includes a cartoon.
1950-12-03 Messiah … with Richard Lewis as tenor.