Calling the faithful city back to the faithful God

Like most churches Red Hill had a regular choir, which lasted right up to the 1970s. Indeed Red Hill was always known for its singing. The choir was almost an organisation in itself, always doing things and going off here, there and everywhere (geographically and no doubt sometimes musically as well). Take 1899 for example. The choir had their annual outing on Saturday, 12 August when they drove in a couple of brakes [open horse drawn carriages with four wheels] although we’re not told where to – probably one of the mystery trips popular for very many years until car ownership became widespread.

The report goes on to say:

‘The 12th is the commencing of the shooting season but there were no guns in the party and no lives were lost. The day was perfect and there was an al fresco tea which was the chief item of the informal programme. Judging by the appearance of the young people as they wandered about in groups and sometimes in two’s, all seemed thoroughly to enjoy the holiday.’

The following year we read that 7 August was the date of the choir’s Annual Picnic. A little later we discover that ‘on one Saturday in September 1912 the little choir goes off to Ankerdine to climb the hill, have tea and pick nuts in the wood’.

Much later in March 1929 the choir gave a performance of the Lion of Judah conducted by Mr Whitworth and this was repeated at Rainbow Hill in aid of their extension fund. No doubt they gave other performances of various works over the years. Mr Whitworth also conducted the children at the SS Anniversaries – they would have practiced singing their songs for weeks beforehand! For many years also the choir supported the annual Singing Festival of the Worcs. Baptist Association – a coach or even two coaches on occasions would go from Red Hill each year.

As mentioned earlier the choir continued to lead the singing at the evening services up to the 1970s. One tradition observed every year until its demise was the singing by the choir of the old Sankey hymn ‘Ho, reapers in the whitened harvest’ at each Harvest Festival. For a major part of the century, of course, the Sankey hymnbook was standard fare for services until replaced by the Baptist Hymnal. When the first Youth Praise came out in 1966 it was eagerly taken up by the Young People’s Christian Endeavour as a breath of fresh air akin to rock ‘n’ roll breaking into the general music scene in the late 1950s!

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