The Choir consisted of 60 boys and 190 girls, aged 9 to 14, drawn from 50 schools (mainly 'central') all over Manchester. The choir was predominantly working-class since those children whose parents could afford musical instruments and music lessons went into the school children's orchestra; Mr. Rose estimates that a third of the choir's parents were unemployed; the children were taught to sing phonetically to erase local dialect.
The photograph is unique in that it records the only collaboration between the universally renowned orchestra and a choir of 250 working class school children lacking conventional nusical training, (Grammar School pupils were assumed to have no time to spare for non-academic endeavours such as this, which required two evenings a week rehersal throughout the whole academic year). As the prints cost 5/- each at the time, the children, given their background, could not afford copies (only six of the 180 members Mr. Rose was able to contact in 1975 held a copy). The photograph was arranged spontaneously, thus the children are not in concert dress, but dressed in school uniform or evening clothes and they are out of formation; it is the first photograph of any sort of the choir.
The photograph shows the old Free Trade Hall, before the interior was destroyed during the bombing of 1940-41. The orchestra consists entirely of men because of the conductor's, Hamilton Harty, insistence that, during the depression, women were not to be employed as they might be taking a place that a man, as the dominant bread-winner of a family, could fulfil.
The adults on the photograph are: left foreground, left background and centre middle - Registrars from Manchester Education Committee; centre foreground - Walter Carroll (Music Advisor to Manchester Education Committee, 1923-1935, the first such appointment made in the Country), Gertrude Riall (Carroll's assistant), and Hamilton Harty (Conductor of the Halle Orchestra); right middle - Edna Jamieson (Accompaniest to the choir); the remainder are members of the Halle Orchestra.
The Manchester School-Children's choir existed from 1925-1939 and grew out of the combined choirs (from 3,4, or 5 schools and consisting of about 50 choiristers) which, starting in 1923 gave concerts - usually in local Town Halls - during Civic Week. The concert with the Halle lasted from 1929 until Walter Carroll's retirement in 1935.
Mr. Rose is at the present time (October 1978) writing a history of the choir.
Negative Sheet Number C12/1