Choral society bygones on offer

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PEOPLE with a family link to a long-gone Spalding choir are in with a chance of getting their hands on a souvenir.

Retired banker Henry Roberts, who lives in Ely, has unearthed two programmes from the Spalding Choral Society performance of Handel’s Messiah, which took place on December 15 1932.

The programmes, priced 6d (2.5 pence) feature the names of conductor Charles Groves and accompanist Frank Murrell as well as singers named Freeman, Bates, Branton, Spencer, Fardell and Dixon.

Mr Roberts is keen for the programmes to go to people connected to the society and is happy to give them away.

He said: “If somebody, somewhere has a relative listed in the programme that would be marvellous.”

Spalding Choral Society was active between the wars.

South Holland Singers, who celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2007, carried on the tradition from the choral society after an adult education class revived interest in the art.

Malcolm Grief, musical director with the South Lincolnshire United Chorale formed in 1974, says he cannot remember the choral society being active during his years in the town.

But he does remember Mr Groves, who taught him Latin at Spalding Grammar School and was the choirmaster at the Congregational Church in Pinchbeck Road.

Mr Grief said he believes Mr Murrell was a printer in Victoria Street and may have been the organist at the Baptist Church in Swan Street.

l If you have a family connection to Spalding Choral Society – and are interested in having a copy of the concert programme – please contact reporter Lynne Harrison on 01775 765413.