Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Musical and Dramatic Activities
School Musical Production, May 1953
‘The Revenge’ (Stanford)
This was the thirteenth concert in the series. As usual, there were miscellaneous items and a main work, on this occasion Stanford’s ‘The Revenge’. The conductor was Mr P.E. Phillips and Mr T.R. James provided the continuo. There were two soloists: Edna Graham (soprano) and Philip Jones (oboe) and two senior boys took on soloist roles in Part 2. Once again, the Morgan Lloyd Orchestra was hired for the occasion.
Click the small images below to see larger versions.
(Reproduced with permission of Rhondda Cynon Tâf Library Service)
The newspaper article mentions that the soloist, Edna Graham, sang at the St Elvan’s wedding of Patricia Towler and the baritone John Camburn, which took place in the autumn of 1952. Pat Towler was the daughter of physics master William David Towler who taught at the school from 1920 to 1952. Mr Towler was brought up in Cardiff and settled in Llwydcoed when he came to teach at the school. Tragically Pat, his daughter, died in the spring of 1954 at the age of 28 just eighteen months after her marriage.
John Camburn sang at the School Concert in 1949, and later went on to specialise in performing the comic operas of Gilbert & Sullivan. He also introduced a series of BBC broadcasts for schools called Singing Together in 1977. The Aberdare Leader article mentions that he was one of the Ilford County High School boys who came to Aberdare as evacuees in 1940. No doubt, it was during this period that he first met Pat Towler, when they were both 15 year-olds.
Edna Graham was a coloratura soprano from New Zealand who sang at Covent Garden and other British theatres in the 1950s and 1960s. She retired from the opera stage in 1972, but was active in teaching and conducting opera, and its production, until the end of 2004. She died in London at the age of 80 on 26 May 2005. Her obituary was published in The Independent on 04 June 2005, and is available on-line.