Alan Coad has kindly provided this account of WBHS’s final concert:
The last major performance by Wednesbury Boys’ High School Choir was held in St Bartholomew’s Church in the spring of 1968. An ambitious project, the main piece was Haydn’s Mass No 3 in D Minor; which had been written in commemoration of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile.
During the last years of WBHS, the choir was under the expert tutelage of music master Timothy Lees. Rehearsals were held at lunchtimes in the Music Room, usually once per week; increasing in frequency as we approached major events.
Rehearsals for the “Nelson” Mass, must have gone particularly well, because a recording company was engaged to produce a vinyl record of the performance. This was agreed on the understanding that sufficient numbers of pupils and their families gave an undertaking to purchase said record.
The final rehearsal, on the afternoon prior to the evening of the concert, was also expected to act as a sound check for the recording equipment. The choir, plus guest soloists and organist assembled, and waited, and waited. Phone calls were made, but there was no sign of the people from the recording company. Eventually, we had to proceed with the rehearsal without them.
The recording company finally showed up that evening, about 30 minutes before the concert was due to begin; hastily setting up gantries and microphones.
Whether the recording equipment was ever switched on, or the recording was so poor that it could not be transferred to record, we will never know. Communications with the recording company fell silent after the event (if any OW has a more detailed explanation of what really happened, I would love to know…many pupils were disappointed that they never got to play their own recording!).
The event itself was well-attended and the audience appreciative of a stirring performance. For the record (no pun intended!), solo parts were sung by: Margaret Osborne (soprano), Linda Watts (mezzo-soprano) and two old boys of the school, Keith Noakes (tenor) and David Taylor (bass).
The choir comprised:
D Richards, R Corfield, D Burkitt, J Taylor, L Gutteridge, S Foster, K Horley
Mr A Watkins, J Cartwright, P Horley, B Poxon, K Burton, G Maxfield
Mr H Baptist-Smith, Mr L Smith, Mr A Rimmer, Mr R Edwards, P L Cartwright, R Hill, S Allen, A J Goodwin