In spite of the unfavourable weather the St. Crispin Hall* was crowded with parents and friends on Wednesday evening, the occasion being that ever popular and enjoyable concert given by the scholars attending the Church Day Schools. Although the arrangements for holding the concert and the practice during the past weeks have been conducted in a rather hurried fashion, everything appeared to pass off without the slightest hitch, and the interest was sustained from the rise to the fall of the curtain.
The whole affair was produced and conducted under the supervision of the popular headmaster, Mr. J. Boardman, whose great pains and time spent in preparing the entertainment, and of bringing his scholars to such a high state of efficiency, were amply repaid by the manner in which the concert was patronised, and the way it was received by the large audiences present on Wednesday and Thursday. Praise is also due for the great assistance given by other ladies and gentlemen, amongst whom we must specially mention Miss Scholes, Miss Morris, and Mr. E. Carter, all of whom had a large share in the production of the concert.
The piece chosen for production was that popular children’s operetta, “Bold Robin and the Babes.” Prior to the operetta a short programme was gone through, the first item being a pianoforte solo by Miss Dorah Reach, a pupil of Mr. E. Carter. The piece was nicely played; and this promising little pianist received well-merited applause. This was followed by an action song by twelve little maidens, each dressed as “nurses” carrying a doll, which, like the action song by a number of boys, and the pretty scarf drill by girls were all gone through with untiring energy and clockwork precision.
During the interval the Rector presented certificates to the scholars who were never absent during the whole of last year. No less than 27 scholars had made the full attendances, while over 100 had attended 400 times, and 12 had only missed once.- Mr. Boardman said he had made arrangements to have a photograph taken of the children in a group who had made all the attendances.
The second half of the programme comprised the performance of the operetta. The whole of the choruses were nicely sung, while the dresses were both pretty and suitable, and together with the splendid limelight effects, produced a picture which was in every way an unqualified success. Plenty of variety was introduced, a notable item being the dancing of a set of “Lancers,” the various figures being gone through with much exactness. The various characters were entrusted to capable bands, and all the performers carried out their respective parts in praiseworthy fashion.
The part of the cruel uncle was entrusted to the capable hands of Wilfred Downing, the humour which this youngster imparted in this rather difficult role being exceedingly droll and clever, and he was the life of the whole play. Robin Hood found a dashing exponent in Horace Miller, while Rowland Boardman, in his splendid get up as the village crier, left nothing to be desired. Miss Emma Smith carried out her part as Fairy Queen with much grace, and sang the song in a pleasing voice, while Violet Boardman and Gwennie Coles made very pretty attendants on the Fairy Queen. Maggie Petritt did splendid as Aunt Liza, and Edith Mason made a good schoolmistress of the old type. Charles Loveday, Charles Cook, Henry Webb, and Alfred Goodman each had suitable parts, but the honours of the evening must be awarded to George and Mabel Talbutt for their exceptionally pretty impersonation of the “Babes.” These prettily dressed children were great favourites with the audience, and each gave a capital representation of their parts. The operetta concluded with an exceptionally pretty woodland scene.
Mr. E. Carter, assistant master, accompanied the various songs and choruses in his usual skilful style, while Mr. P. Cooper assisted on the violin. To the stage managers much of the success of the evening was due, this responsible work being ably carried out by Mr. Browning and Mr. Nelson, while the effects of the limelight, manipulated by Mr. F. Styles, should also be specially mentioned. The costumes were quite a feature of the evening, and reflected credit on Miss Morris and Miss Scholes. The entertainment was repeated yesterday afternoon when the children of the Cottage Homes were specially invited by Mr. Boardman, and again produced before a large audience last night.
The annual concerts given by the scholars of St. Mary’s Day Schools took place in St. Crispins Hall* on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when large audiences testified their appreciation of the young people’s efforts.
The principal feature this year was an operetta, “Cinderella,” which was admirably produced under the direction of the head master, Mr. J. Boardman. The first part of the programme, however, was not less interesting, the action songs and drills reflecting credit upon scholars and teachers alike. In the operetta the characters were without exception well portrayed, and the costumes, which were under the direction of Miss Morris and Miss Scholes, looked charming.
Standing: L to R: George Talbutt, Arthur Barlow, Lucy Tailby, Nancy Loveday, Roland Boardman, Alfred Darby.
Seated: L to R: Frank Reynolds, Horace Miller, Joe Whitney, Lily Blake, Wilf Downing, Frank Downing
Standing at back: L to R: Lizzie Butlin, Lucy Tailby, Emma Smith
Front: L to R: Gwen Coles, Mabel Talbutt, Violet Boardman, Grace King
A substantial stage had been erected for the occasion, with suitable scenery and drop curtain, and limelights supplied by Mr. Styles, of Wellingborough, were used with pretty effect. There was a chorus of sixty scholars, and the principal parts were taken by Annie Loveday, Lucy Tailby, Lily Blake, Horace Miller, Wilfred Downing, Roland Boardman. Joe Whitney, Arthur Barlow, George Talbutt, Frank Reynolds.
Mr. E. Carter ably supplied the accompaniments. During the interval on the first evening the Rector (Rev. W. B. Jacques) presented certificates to the scholars who had not been absent during 1897. In addition to the concert last night a special performance was given in the afternoon. The proceeds of the concert were for the prize fund for regular and practical attendance.
Last night the annual concert and operetta in connection with the St. Mary’s Day Schools was held in St. Crispin’s Hall, there being a large and representative audience. The hall had been tastefully decorated, and a fine stage erected. The children who took part numbered about 120, and were trained in a most perfect manner by Mr. J. Boardman, the head master, and the acting called forth frequent rounds of applause. Amongst those present were the following :- The Rector and Mrs. Jacques, Mr and Mrs. Talbutt, Mr and Mrs. Preston, Mr. and Mrs. James, Mr. and Mrs. Attfield, Mr. and Mrs. Blackmore, Dr. Atkinson, Mr. and Mrs. C. Barlow, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, Mr. and Mrs. Barratt, Mr. and Mrs. E. James, Mr. and Mrs. John Ball, Mr. and Mrs. Henson, Miss Walker, the Misses Preston, Miss Barlow, Miss Gross, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman, Miss Wylic, Miss Grant, Miss F. Ball, Mr. and Mrs. Baistrick, Mr. T. Bird, Mr. F. Barlow, &c. The first part of the programme commenced with a pianoforte duet entitled, “Elnera,” which was played in a most perfect manner by Dora Keach and Lottie Ward, both pupils of Mr. E. Carter, assistant master at the school. A very pretty action song followed, “The Japanese Fan,” being given by the junior girls, the using of the fans each girl carried lending a pretty effect to the song. Wilfred Miller played a sonata in G on the pianoforte, which called forth loud applause. The dumb bell exercise of the junior boys was perhaps the chief item in the first portion of the programme. In these exercises the patriotic song, “Pro Patria,” was introduced, Reggie Boardman, possessing a sweet soprano voice, singing the national airs in a manner which called forth loud applause. A pianoforte duet, “La Diabelli,” was executed by Mabel and George Talbutt, and the first portion of the programme concluded with an action song, “Red, white, and blue,” in which twenty of the senior girls took part. These youngsters were attired in white dresses, with hands of red, white, and blue ribbon over their shoulders and round their waists. They also carried Union Jacks, and a very pretty effect was produced, ten of the girls crossing their flags, the remainder passing under, at the same time sweetly singing portions of the song. The second half included an operetta entitled “The Enchanted Palace.” The opening chorus was sung by about 30 little girls dressed in white, and amongst them were fairies carrying silver wands, which they used at will for good or evil over the Princess of the Palace (Violet Boardman). This young lady was attired in a blue dress, with long blue train, edged with swansdown, and was attended by two little pages dressed in black velvet suits, making a very pretty contrast from the large number of white dresses. The music sung by the children on the entry of the Princess was very difficult, and was sung in a harmonised manner which did them and their instructor the greatest credit. The Prince (Richard Ball) then appeared on the scene in a purple velvet attire, edged with swansdown, and wearing a black velvet hat. This young gentleman broke the spell of sleep which had rested on the palace for a century, and in touching the Princess the whole scene became animated and broke forth into song. The Chancellor (Charles Kilborne) and the King’s poet (Wilfred Downing) were the soul of the piece, and their acting was most perfect ; in fact, the whole of the items on the programme were performed without a hitch. The following is a cast of the characters :- King, Geo. Talbutt; Queen, Gwennie Coles; Prince Emerald, Richmond Ball; Princess Crystal, Violet Boardman; Fairy of the Palace, Mabel Talbutt; Fairy of Life, Dora Keach; Fairy of Darkness, May Darby; Chancellor, Charles Kilborne; King’s Wise Man, Joseph Banks; King’s Jester, Wilfred Miller; King’s Poet, Wilfred Downing; Pages, Reggie Boardman and Ernest Wood. The stage was erected by Mr. A. J. Ball, and the scenery, footlights, etc, were constructed by Mr. W. H. Henson and Mr. J. Browning, the latter gentleman having the management of the stage. Mr. E. Carter acted as a proficient accompanist, and Miss Scholes was in charge of the costumes, the dressing of the children doing her every credit. Mr. J. Boardman acted as conductor. This gentleman, whose love of entertainments of this description is well-known, is to be complimented on the perfection the children had attained.
The annual concert given by the scholars attending the popular Church Schools of this parish are always looked forward to alike by the parents, scholars, and supporters of the Schools; and this year’s entertainment, given in the St. Crispin’s Hall*, before large audiences, on Thursday and Friday evenings last week, were no exception to the rule, being accorded even more popularity and success than previous events.
Mr. J. Boardman, the genial and able Master, with his capable staff (Misses Scholes, Hodson, Tookey, and N. Loveday) had devoted a deal of time, patience, and ability in training the scholars to perform their respective parts with such efficiency.
The first portion of the programme was of a varied character, consisting of vocal and instrumental music. Miss Winnie Freestone showed ability in the execution of the pianoforte solo, “Tema” (Beethoven); the girls of the Senior School were deservedly applauded for an effective action song, “The ribbon drill”; while an encore was awarded eight infant girls, trained by Miss Tookey, for their action song, “Little gipsies,” these little children being dressed in gipsy attire, and manipulated tambourines; Miss Mabel Nutt effectively contributed the pianoforte solo, “Home”; and an action song, “Ten little Chinamen, “ by the Finedon-road boys, was followed by a drill of physical exercises entitled “The ball drill.”
The second part consisted of the operetta, “Cinderella,” and this was exceptionally well portrayed by the following caste:- Cinderella, Emma Henson ; Fairy Godmother, Francis Ball ; Baroness (Cinderella’s stepmother), Emily Wood; Dolabella and Marinella (Cinderella’s step sisters), Daisy Boardman and Annie Smith ; Prince, Reggie Boardman ; Baron (Cinderella’s father), Wilfred Miller; Herald, Sam Gibbs; Page, Ralph Buckby ; Trumpeter, Bertie Saddington ; Guards, Courtiers, fairies, and Citizens.
Mr. J. Boardman was an efficient conductor, Miss Scholes and Miss Hodson showed taste in the selection and arrangement of the costumes, and Miss Violet Boardman and Miss N. Loveday were clever accompanists. Mr. J. Browning erected the stage, and the footlights were arranged by Mr. W. H. Henson. Mr. J. Browning and Mr. R. Nelson were
* Later called Preston Hall