WORLD WAR ONE: War orchestra returns to Spalding

Private Alfred Herd
Private Alfred Herd
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There was a musical treat for Spalding residents when the munitioneers band, the Belvedere Orchestra, played in the town.

It was the band’s second visit to Spalding with their combination of musicians - a unique product of the war.

The orchestra included men of musical ability, including professionals, who had taken up munition work at Peterborough as their share of National Service.

Under Mr J Taylor’s leadership, the ‘war orchestra’ had ‘developed a connectiveness in playing, which brought to the fore the undoubted skill of each individual player in sympathetic harmony’.

It was reported that on both visits to Spalding, they ‘caught hold’ of their audiences with their ‘sympathetic interpretations of high class music’.

Two outstanding features of the evening’s programme were the operatic overtures,Bohemian Girl and Cavalleria Rusticana, whilst the string trio provided ‘another rich treat’.

The vocalist of the day was Mr R Jones, a fine dramatic tenor, with a strong and well-pitched voice.

An interesting ceremony marked the evening performance.

Mr E Stapleton, chairman of the committee of the Christmas Parcels Fund for Spalding boys serving in the war - the beneficiary of the first concert - presented a ‘handsomely framed and designed illuminated address’ setting forth the appreciation felt in the town for the splendid and generous efforts and services the orchestra had rendered in aid of the fund’.

Captain Sam Kingston, CO of the Spalding Company of Volunteers, returned the thanks of the company to the orchestra and other artistes for the generous help they had voluntarily given in aid of the funds of the company.

He also thanked Mr J Harrod for his ‘energetic assistance’.