Clarion Calls for Peace and Harmony; Alison Jones Looks at the Social History of the Trail-Blazing Clarion Singers

By Jones, Alison | The Birmingham Post (England), May 25, 2000 | Go to article overview

Clarion Calls for Peace and Harmony; Alison Jones Looks at the Social History of the Trail-Blazing Clarion Singers


Jones, Alison, The Birmingham Post (England)


Anyone who heard the football chants echoing round Wembley Stadium on Saturday could not fail to appreciate the power music has to move people.

It is the very reason we have national anthems, because songs can stir the soul in ways that no other medium can.

This was the lesson learned by Dr Colin Bradsworth after returning from the Spanish Civil War where he had been working as a field surgeon for the Government forces.

He was so moved by the inspiring songs sung by the anti-Fascist international brigade that when he returned to Britain, he decided to start his own Socialist choir to raise the spirits of a city hovering on the brink of another world war.

The Clarion singers were formed 60 years ago as a small 'weapon' to raise morale in Birmingham and they held their first rehearsals above the Old Contemptibles pub in Edmund Street.

The aims were to make good music 'accessible to all in the belief it can help men and women work for the improvement of society'. It was a workers' group and had close links to the Labour and Trade Union movements.

Among the singers above the pub was Elsie Marshall, who is now in her 80s and still performs with them today. 'The choir was open to anybody, although the people who came were mildly political,' said Mrs Marshall. 'But then most people were more interested in that sort of thing in those days.'

The group soon found themselves raising people's spirits as they huddled together in air-raid shelters or worked in hospitals, on factory floors and in army barracks. Even during the most trying circumstances, the Clarion standards were not allowed to drop.

'The composer Alan Bush worked with us right from the beginning,' said Mrs Marshall. 'I remember we were rehearsing Figaro when a bomb dropped and the pianist missed a note. All Alan said was, 'play the right note, David'. He was a great character.'

Also still heavily involved with the Clarion Singers is Katharine Thomson, who joined them as a conductor in 1940. A skilled musician, she was the wife of eminent Birmingham scholar Professor George Thomson.

The singers were committed to taking music to the masses and as part of this performed excerpts from the Marriage of Figaro from the back of a lorry in Balsall Heath and staged Bach's Peasant Cantata on Bournville village green.

They also presented the Beggar's Opera in the Big Top that Birmingham Council erected on a bomb site in New Street during the summer of 1944 when city residents were encouraged to 'holiday at home'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Clarion Calls for Peace and Harmony; Alison Jones Looks at the Social History of the Trail-Blazing Clarion Singers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.