28 July 2018
In 1911 Sheffield Musical Union, the choir that became the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, went on a remarkable world tour with a number of other Yorkshire choirs, covering 34,000 miles and giving 134 concerts in Canada, The United States, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and South Africa.
This unique event is documented in a new book by Dr. Christopher Wiltshire using letters written by young soprano May Midgley to her family back in England. The book ‘12 Oak Avenue – the letters of May Midgely 1911‘ is featured in a special three-page article in the Yorkshire Post 28 July 2018
May’s lively, action-packed letters have only recently been discovered, and they throw a new light on this unique and exciting event. Her first letter, written in March 1911 after docking in Canada, gives a flavour of May’s down-to-earth account of this unique event:
“On Saturday morning nearly everybody was ill… Miss Jowett has been the worst in our cabin, she has been awfully bad… Mrs Bell looks just like a corpse… Isabel crawls about just like a little old woman… Hilda and I simply daren’t get up, the boat rocked so – we heard terrible crashes of crockery…”
May was obviously highly valued by the choir’s conductor, Henry Coward, and her letters provide an irreplaceable window on the tour that are as unique as the event itself.
Check out Buy Our Recordings and Books if you would like to buy a copy of this fascinating account of a truly unique event.