Conisborough Musical Society’s Concert Version – “Tom Jones” – A Triumphant Evening

March 1925

Mexborough & Swinton Times March 14, 1925

“Tom Jones”
Conisborough Musical Society’s Concert Version
A Triumphant Evening

In point of numbers and enthusiasm the audience assembled in the Station Road School, Conisborough, for their concert on Wednesday evening, was the best that has yet supported the Conisborough Musical Society.

This Society’s performance of the concert version of Merrie England last winter was so pleasing that the prospect of hearing music of the same type proved a powerful draw. Indeed it was not possible to accommodate all who desired to hear the concert, and it is unfortunate that the musical enthusiasm of Conisborough is not served with a concert hall of suitable type and type.

Denaby has the hall, but the experience of the Conisborough Musical Society is that it lacks, at present, a public for concerts of this type.

Vocal and instrumental items were included in the programme as a preface or hors d’ouvre, but the cello recital by Mr Collin Smith and the pianoforte concerto by Mr Ernest Dabbs and the orchestra were a feast in themselves. Indeed the outstanding performance of the concert was the brilliant treatment by Mr Dabbs (who is organist at the Denaby Parish Church) of the Mendelssohn”Capriccio.”

The virtuosity of this able young musician was a revelation to most of the audience, for Mr Dabbs has hitherto been content with the humble, if honourable role of accompanist, though he has certainly excelled in that difficult art. The orchestra supported him splendidly and the piece was beautifully done. The performance was warmly applauded and the audience would gladly have heard more.

Mr Collin Smith, the able cellist that we have in the district and a popular and familiar figure on our concert platforms, was in his best mood and we heard with very great pleasure. He selected for his short recital three movements of the Sonata in G Major (Sammartini-Salmon), a Spanish serenade by Glazounon, a serenade by Squire and Quilters arrangement of the old English air, “Drink to me only with thine eyes.”

The middle movement of the sonata was gloriously done, but it was the simple song which aroused the greatest enthusiasm. That clever pianist, Miss Ivy Smith, supplied the accompaniments.

The concert opened with one of the German’s songs “Yeoman of England” sung by Mr Harry Pendleton one of the baritone principals in the subsequent performance of the “Tom Jones” music, and the other vocal item was by Miss Edith Wright, who sung “Dear Hall of song,” from Tannhauser both items being well received.

Miss Wright, Miss Betty Shillito (of Greasbro’), Mr Pendleton and Mr R Jenkin Scoular were the principal soloists in the “Tom Jones” concert, and their work was very satisfactory, both in the solos and in the concerted items.

Miss Wright sang “Sophia,” Miss Shillito “Honour,” Mr Scoular “Squire Western,” and Mr Pendleton “Tom Jones.”

In the finale Miss Shillito supplied the small parts of Lady Bellaston and the Hostess and Mr Scoular those of Blifil, Allworthy and the Captain. Miss Wright sang with great animation and good judgement and never failed in an effective climax. Her singing of the Waltz song was one of the hits of the evening and was deservedly encored. Miss Shillito’s most successful numbers were the dainty, lilting “Dream o’ day Jill,” and “The Green ribbon.”

In the second item the choral work was capital and both songs were enthusiastically encored. The audience also demanded more of the song “If love’s content,” very finely sung by Mr Pendelton. Mr Scoular with fewer opportunities acquitted himself well. The chorus scored heavily in the Madrigal, but the most beautiful example of choral singing, which the concert afforded was the Gavotte, “Glass of Fashion.” The treatment of this lovely little thing was nigh well perfect.

The chorus was not quite so powerful as usual, the tenor section being numerically weak, though very sweet and tuneful. The basses were both robust and musical, and the ladies not only sang with spirit and power, but with perfect blend. The chorus work throughout was indeed excellent.

The orchestra was one of the grand features of the evening’s performances. The society is to be congratulated on its surprising fortune in assembling almost at random so able a body of musicians. In this small string orchestra there were at least half a dozen men qualified by experience and ability to conduct important work. The violins alone included Mr A G Steel of Parkgate, Mr H H Sharp, Mr Robert Wilson, and Mr Moses Soar, with Mr Collin Smith and Mr J H Brocklesby among the cellos – all men of high musical standing.