Dovercourt Choral Archives

Although Harwich and Dovercourt Choral Society was first mentioned in the press as early as 1891 it was not until 1921 that the society in something like its present form appeared. their first performance being an oratorio by H W Nichols "Persephone" conductor by Harry Wright, who may well be viewed to have founded the group.

 

The group progressed so quickly that inside three years they had joined the Essex Music Association and began taking part in competitions, gaining two firsts and a second in their very first year. However in 1936 Harry Wright retired due to ill health and Mr W F Mahoney took over. In 1940 the war had reduced numbers so much that the group was forced to disband, but by 1946 Harry Wright had restarted the group and members old and new had started to sing again.

 

 

The Standard's review of the society's first performance at Cliff Road Congregational Church.

 

"Persephone"

 

The general opinion as to the rendering of "Persephone" in the Congregational Church, Cliff Road Dovercourt on Wednesday last was absolutely unanimous. The singing and the music by the orchestra was excellent and left nothing to be desired. The dramatic representation of the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, by H E Nichol, Mus. Bac., Oxon, provided good scope for local talent. His worship the Mayor opened the argument. Throughout the music is such that one could listen to with pleasure. Miss E Riches (Demeter) was the soprano soloist, and Miss Howat (Persephone) the mezzo-soprano soloist. Mr Fred Shillam (Baritone) took the part of Priest of the Temple of Eleusis. The whole company sang well and the soloists well chosen. Mr H S Wright is to be congratulated on the success of the company and we hope to have the pleasure of hearing them again. Miss Main L.R.A.M., was the pianist, and Mr W Gray the conductor of the orchestra. We anticipate that a good sum will be handed over to the Congregational Hall Organ Fund.

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