Music 1959

1959 School Magazine Report

Grange has long been recognised as a musical school; one where boys can enjoy their music and join in many school and out of school activities of a musical nature. The past year has, however, been one of unprecedented activity for the choir and orchestra, and the school may justly be proud of the high standard the members have attained.

In July last, the music department rounded off the academic year with first a recital of organ music and vocal items at Thornton Parish Church, and then the end-of-term service at which the choir sang Dyson’s Magnificat in C minor and Charles Wood’s anthem: Expectans Expectavi.

St George's HallSeptember saw the department  working at fever pitch from the very start of the school year. At very short notice the school was asked to provide the music for a lunch-hour concert at St George’s Hall. This involved many rehearsals after school and at lunch time, but the boys accepted the challenge of a first class performance to be achieved in a short space of time; an effort which must have been particularly bewildering to the many new boys in Form 1 who had joined the choir and still found normal school routine somewhat hectic!

The choir did not rest long on their laurels of the lunch-hour concert, however, because work started straight away on a concert of Christmas music we had been asked to give at the Connaught Rooms in December. The request originated from Mr Frank Musson, an old boy of the school, and for so long a leading member of the Old Boys’ Association, who duly spoilt the boys on the evening of the concert by providing them with a cinema show before-hand and a “pop and sweets” feast afterwards, all of which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone concerned.

Our own Carol Service at St Columba’s in the same month included some adventurous items of music, notably one or two of the carols sung by the choir of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and two items from Benjamin Britte’s fine work, “A Ceremony of Carols”. This again necessitated much hard work, and special mention ought to be made perhaps of the gallant trio of tenors who maintained an excellent balance with the remainder of the choir, despite the latter’s superior numbers: Mr Jones, K Aspinall (VIb) and B Tate (VIb).

BradfordIn February the choir was honoured to be asked to take part in a BBC programme, “This is my City”, a documentary feature of the life of Bradford as seen through the eyes of youngsters. They sang one of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, and a charming song by Alec Rowley, “The Kangaroo”. The process and paraphernalia of recording fascinated the boys and few would not have their ears glued to the radio when the actual broadcast took place.

By this time it appeared that the services of the department were much in demand, and early in April, at the request of Mr Tordoff, the choir and a section of the orchestra gave a concert at Tetley Street Baptist Church, which was a further success. The department is very grateful to Mr Tordoff and the many other staff who help us in so many ways and are always ready to join in and assist our activities.

The three weeks immediately following the Easter break proved to be as lively as those at the beginning of the Autumn term, for within those three weeks fell the Speech Day and the school concert. The two activities went very well, and the latter provided some searching tests in ability for both the choir and the orchestra. The choir proved its versatility in items ranging from a simple German folk song to the complications of Brahms, whilst the orchestra tackled the simplicity and warmth of a Haydn quartet and the intricacies of Kodaly with equal accuracy and zest.

To crown a year of achievement, the choir entered the Wharfedale Festival at the end of May, and after a particularly beautiful performance of Vaughan-Williams’ “Let us now praise Famous Men”, was awarded first place. Jubilation was great, and by seven o’clock that evening few Ilkley residents would be left in ignorance of Grange’s victory!

It has been pleasing to note that more boys have made use of the reduced price for Subscription Concert tickets available to schools during the past season. We hope that the interest will continue to grow. IngleboroughIt is not always possible to hear such fine music on gramophone records, even if the music department possessed them, and any boy who enjoys his music at school would be well advised to “supplement” his listening by visiting the Halle Orchestra’s series of concerts this coming winter.

Finally, the choir trip. Last year the outing was to White Scar Caves, Victoria Cave, near Settle, and included an ascent of Ingleborough. Whilst the latter would not appeal too much to the accompanying members of staff, the boys found it a great thrill. The summit was conquered in a thunderstorm!


The following copy of the programme for the choir's Lunch Hour Recital at St George's Hall, Bradford on 17th December 1959 was kindly donated by Harry Atkinson