Castlethorpe Choral Society

The Society used to put on shows to raise money for the church.
Parish Records: March 18th 1926. Thank the members of the Coral Society for their generous gift to the village of the hand bier

Northampton Mercury 27 February 1903

CASTLETHORPE. - ENTERTAINMENT—On Friday and Saturday capital entertainment was given in the Board Schoolroom, by the Castlethorpe Choral Society, the programme submitted being the opera “Columbus”. Mr. Middleton conducted very capably, and the characters were as follow:—King of Spain. Mr. T. Osborne: Queen of Spain, Mrs. Middleton: Columbus. Mr. S. Wheeldon; President, Mr. J. Whitmee, Tapioca, Mr. J. Cowley: Banana Bill, Mr. G. Powell: Sago Palo, Miss Compton : Boatswain. Mr. J. Nicholls: Usher. Mr. A. Clark. Violins, Messrs. H. Nicholls and H. Spong; 'cello. Mr. C. Freeman . There was a good company present, including Rev. H. J. Harkness (vicar Hanslope). Mrs. Grant (Leamington), Mr. and Mrs. Wallace. Mr. C. Whiting, Mr and Miss C. Whiting, Mrs. Weston, Mrs. Gamble, Mrs. and Miss Masterman. Mr. T. Barrett, etc. The performance was very good one, and great credit dueto  the company. The scenery was made and painted by members of company.

Click on an image for more details
"Rajah of Rajahpore"
Charming Operatic
“The Bandolero
A musical comedy
"Cupid and the Ogre"
An opera in two parts
"Rajah of Rajahpore"
"Phillida" or "Love on the Prairie,
"King of Kandy"
"The Bandolero"
"Cupid and the Ogre"

The Bucks Standard January 22nd. 1922

CHORAL SOCIETY. With the object of bringing the young people and others together to encourage the development of a love for music, and the secondary object of doming something to relieve the monotony of village life during the winter months, a meeting was convened in the Council School on November 10th presided over by Mr. T. Osborne, J.P., to consider the advisability of starting a choral class. The meeting was numerously attended and the proposal was adopted unanimously and with enthusiasm. Mr. H. Cook, a capable musician, was appointed leader and conductor, with Miss M. Rainbow as hon. sec., and Miss Burbidge as treasurer. Miss A. Gregory consented to act as pianist. It was agreed to meet once a week for practice, and it is encouraging to learn that the practices are well attended, and so far, justifies the venture. On Thursday, December 29th, a social was held in connection with the Society, when nearly 100 were present. The Council School was tastefully decorated and made attractive by the Committee, who were also responsible for the refreshments and the general management, Games of various kinds were indulged in, interspersed with songs, duets, etc. The singing of Mr. Edward Nicholls came as a surprise to most of those present; he possesses a rich tenor voice, and should be heard more of in the future. Miss Olney also sang with pleasing effect, her enunciation being especially good. The duets of Mr. George Nicholls and Miss Compton were rapturously received. Mr. A. Clarke and Mr. A. Richardson also contributed to the programme. Misses A. Gregory, M. Rainbow and E. Robinson were the accompanists. Later in the evening a dance took place. Mr. Cook presided at the piano. The social was a great success and everyone present thoroughly enjoyed it. All are hoping it will be the precursor of similar functions in the near future.

The Bucks Standard April 8th 1922


The Castlethorpe Choral Society’s concert, given in the Council School on Saturday, April 1st, was an unqualified success in every way. The choral work was exceptionally good and did the greatest credit to Mr. H. Cook, the conductor, whilst Mr. H. H. Middleton, who presided at the piano, understood his choir thoroughly and assisted them materially to achieving a gratifying success. Artistes from Wolverton and Newport Pagnell came to the assistance of the Society, and their several items met with due appreciation from the audience.

The programme was as follows: Part song. “Wake! Wake! The morning bells,” the Choir song, Mr. W. Harding; song “My Ships” (encored and “The Demoiselle of the Dee”given). Mrs. P. J. Spooner; violin solo, “Kingawiak” (encored), Mr. H. Clayton Jones; song ,”She wandered down the mountainside” (encored and “Comin’ thro’ the Rye” given) Miss D. Pursey; humorous song. “My first cigar,” Mr. J. H. Booth; recitation, Mrs. Spooner part song, “The Indian maid,” the Choir; violin sole, “Berceuae,” Mr. H. Clayton Jones, song “Happy Summer Song” (encored), Miss D. Pursey; madrigal, “Harmony,” the Choir song. Mr. W. Harding; recitation, “Aunt Tabitha,” Mrs. Spooner; humorous song, “My old bassoon,” Mr. J. H. Booth; song “Hills of Donegal” (encored), Mrs. Spooner part song. “Good night beloved,” the Choir; God Save the King.

The Bucks Standard October 6th 1923


Choral Society. On Sunday last illeg successful sacred concert was given in the Council Schools by the members of the Castlethorpe Choral Society, there was a large and appreciative audience. Dr. Hinde of Hanslope, presided. There was an excellent programme, consisting of part illeg anthems, etc., which were given by the choir, and solos were nicely rendered by Miss G. Olney, Mr. A. Richardson, and Mr. E. Nichols. Mr. H. Cook was the conductor and Mr. H. H. Middleton the accompanist. A collection was made in aid of a hand bier for the parish and the sum of £4? 1s was realised. The chairman, in a very able speech, emphasised the necessity (from a sanitary view) of every parish being in possession of a bier or hearse. He also congratulated the conductor on having so many members in the society. This make the second concert that has been given for the worthy object, and with donations illeg been received the Choral Society have raised about £20 towards it.

The Bucks Standard October 6th 1923

Choral Society. On Sunday last a very successful sacred concert was given in the Council Schools by the members of the Castlethorpe Choral Society, there being a large and appreciative audience. Dr. Hinde of Hanslope, presided. There was an excellent programme, consisting of part illeg anthems, etc., which were given by the choir, and solos were nicely rendered by Miss G. Olney, Mr. A. Richardson and Mr. E. Nichols. Mr. H. Cook was the conductor and Mr. H. H. Middleton the accompanist.

A collection was made in aid of a hand bier for the parish and the sum of £1 1s was realized. The chairman in a very able speech, emphasized the necessity (from a sanitary view) of every parish being in possession of a bier or hearse. He also congratulated the conductor on having given so many members in the society. This makes the second concert that was given for this worthy object, and with donations that have been received the Choral Society have a sum of about £20 towards it.

The Bucks Standard July 25th 1925

Choral Society. On Sunday last the above society gave an excellent alfresco concert in front of the Council school, under the conductorship of Mr. H. Cook, assisted by Mr. H. Middleton (pianist). The Rev. W. J. Harkness, (vicar) presided. The evening was an ideal one for the purpose, and the large attendance of the parishioners was most encouraging – a proof, if proof were needed, that they fully appreciated the object of the concert. In order to bring the members of the society together and to keep up their interest in the work they agreed to meet for practice every alternate week during the summer months. The concert was, primarily, the outcome of this arrangement. Great credit is due to this enterprising class for the many enjoyable performances they have given at intervals during their existence. There can be no doubt that their efforts have helped to create an atmosphere in the locality for the better appreciation of good music. In another sense they deserve encouragement for the way in which they have disposed of their accumulated funds, Some time ago they generously purchased an up-to-date hand bier with the intention of presenting it to the village. There has been a little delay in completing the transfer owing to the Parish Council not having a suitable building at their disposal for storing the same. The first step the Council took towards securing a building was to communicate with the Ministry of Health to ascertain if money could be used from the rates for the purpose. The reply was in the negative. The only alternative was, therefore, to do something upon a voluntary basis. It may not be out of place to mention that voluntaryism was advocated a few months ago in a very brief and prosaic election address. The result of the election, however, acted as a cold water douche, and caused the authors to stand aloof and see the idea materialize in spite of them. The Council after conferring with a deputation from the Choral Class, decided to accept the bier on behalf of the village, and invited the officials of the class to join them, which they cordially did, in devising a scheme for raising the necessary money for a building. The method which found favour was a house-to-house collection, supplemented by donations from other who are always ready to help in time of need. An estimate was asked for, and in due course accepted. The work was put in hand and the building is now complete. It is a very substantial one and sufficiently large to house the hand bier and two invalid chairs, also the property of the village. It is pleasing to note that the response to the appeal has been most gratifying, and although the collection is not quite complete, the committee are confident the required amount will be forthcoming in a short time.

Northampton Mercury 21 April 1933




Undiminished zeal in aiding the Church Roof Repair Fund, brought marked success to Eastertide efforts in Castlethorpe. Equally, the well-kept appearance of the recently repaired Parish Church, with its tasteful scheme of Easter decoration, testified the devotion parishioners.
The Repair Fund benefited considerably by the proceeds of the tea, sale of work, and social gathering on Monday, arranged by the churchwardens, Messrs. J. Rawlinson and H. Cook, and the members of the Church Council.
The stall holders were Mesdames Axon, Cook, Lewis, Rawlinson, the Misses and N. and M. Maltby, and Master J. Furniss, Mesdames Clarke, Evans, Kingston, Maltby, Mills, and Walton served teas. With the assistance of Miss Algar at the piano, the Mises Maltby and Messrs. B. Bavington, J. Nichols. and T. West, entertained the large company, while Messrs. Holt, Kingston, and Mills gave useful service to help the smooth running of the event.
The duties of M.C. were carried out by Mr. Harding, who also handed to the Curate-in-Charge, the Rev. E. J. Fenn, a contribution to the Repair Fund of 11 11s., the result of the recent production of “Ali-Baba-Baba” by the Castlethorpe Choral Society, of which Mr. Harding the secretary.

Northampton Mercury 20 April 1934


OPERA.—Two performances of "The Rajah of Rajahpore,” a light opera, have been given in the Council Schools by the members of the Church Musical Society. There were crowded audiences, and the church roof fund will considerably benefit. The name-part was taken by Mr. B. Bavington, and others in the cast were Mrs. H. P. Cook, the N. Pittam, R. M. and N. Maltby, and Messrs. T. West, B. Evans, A. Atkins and Harold Cook. The performance is to repeated at Hanslope for the funds of the Northampton General Hospital.

Northampton Mercury 19 March 1937


TWO PERFORMANCES of San Marino,” a comic opera, were given by the Castlethorpe Church Musical Society to large audiences In the schools The chief characters were taken by Messrs. Arthur Cowley, Aubrey and Frank Atkins, Harold Cook, Sam West, Mr and Mrs. C. W. Harding, Mrs. H. P. Cook, Miss M. Maltby, Miss L. Cooper, Mrs. Harold Cook, Miss D. Mills, Miss C. Waring, B Sawbridge and G. Alcock, who were supported by a chorus. Mr. H. P. Cook was conductor, and Miss G. Algar pianist. Mr. C. W. Harding made the secretarial arrangements.

Northampton Mercury 23 April 1937


When the Castlethorpe Church Musical Society, gave an admirable entertainment in Hartwell Parish Hall, two of the members sang under the shadow of heavy sorrow. Their mother had died suddenly earlier in the day but they took their parts in order to prevent disappointment to a very large audience. Replying to a vote of thanks Mr. H. P. Cook, the conductor, expressed sympathy with the bereaved members and Mr. W. Spriggs tendered the sincere regrets of the audience.
The party numbered 28 and Miss G. Algar was the leader. A comic opera. San Marino (Stanley Guise) was splendidly performed. The leading parts were taken by Mr. T. West, Mr. A. Cowley, Mr. A. Atkins. Mr. F. Atkins, Mr. H. Cook, Mr. S. West, Mr. C. W. Harding, Mrs. H. P. Cook, Mrs. M. Maltby, Mrs. C. W. Harding. Mrs. L. Cooper, Mrs. H. Cook, Mrs. W. Mills, and Mrs. C. Waring.
The entertainment was given in aid of the Hartwell School Repair Fund, and the Rev. E. V. Martin, the Vicar, chairman of the School Managers, moved a vote of thanks.

The Church Musical Society functioned until the outbreak of the 1939-45 war.

Northampton Mercury 28 April 1939


By three performances of a comic opera, “My Lady Jennifer,” Castlethorpe Church Musical Society has raised £14 for the church tower repair fund and £6 8s. 9d. for Castlethorpe Hospital Fund. In addition the Society has given two performances in Hanslope for the benefit of church and hospital funds of the village.
At a Castlethorpe performance Mr. Dyer, on behalf of Northampton General Hospital Staff, spoke appreciatively of the efforts of the Society and the conductor. Mr H. P. Cook. Mr. H. Dolling spoke on behalf of Castlethorpe Hospital Committee, referring to the services of the pianist, Miss G. Algar, the Society’s secretary, Mr. C. W. Harding Mrs. H. P. Cook, who had the leading part, and Mrs. S. West, who supervised the making of many of the costumes.
Others in the cast were: Mrs. C Harding, Miss M. Maltby, Miss L. Cooper, and Messrs. Harold Cook. T. West. A. Cowley. S. West, E. Bates, B. Evans. W. Cook. F. Machin, R. Walton and B. Sawbridge; chorus, Mrs. H. Maltby, Mrs. H. Cook, Mrs. T. West, Mrs. R. Mills, and the Misses G. Stones D. Stonton L. Mothersole, E. Atkins, B. Panter, N. Cowley, D. Clarke, C. Waring and D. Worker.
Messrs. W. Markham and H. Dolling were door stewards, and Mr. A. Cowley with members of the Society, had charge of seating arrangements. Refreshments, given by Mrs. W. Markham and women members of the Hospital Committee, were served by Mrs Coey, Mrs. Limbrey and Mrs. Cooper. The last-named organised a competition for a box of chocolates given by herself. General arrangements for the effort in aid of the Hospital Fund were made by Mrs. Winifred Furniss (hon secretary to the Hospital Committee).