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Aberdare Boys Grammar School

Musical & Dramatic Activities

Old School

Autographs of Concert Soloists

from Elfed Davies

Elfed Davies, (ABCS 1940–1946), stood conscientiously at the stage door of the Coliseum in Trecynon to ask for autographs of the visiting soloists, many of which were nationally famous musicians, or in some cases, were to become so later. Set out below are some of Elfed’s rewards for his patience.

Emlyn Burns Trefor Jones William Parsons

Emlyn Burns, tenor, was from Nantyffyllon near Maesteg. He was a winner at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, on nine occasions. He took part in the 1941 Concert, when this autograph was obtained. the 1941 concert had as its main work Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.

Trefor Jones, (1902–1965), tenor. He made fifteen BBC Proms appearances in the period 1929 to 1949, including a last night appearance in 1947. He sang in the 1942 School concert when this autograph was obtained. The work performed was Acis and Galatea.
In the British Pathé Archive you can see a short film of him singing here, although not in Aberdare.

William Parsons was a Bass soloist. He took part in the 1942 concert, when this autograph was obtained, and again in the 1943, 1946, & 1951 School Concerts.

Helen Gaskell Suddaby 1942 Peter Pears

Helen Gaskell, (1906 – 2002), oboe, oboe d’amore & Cor Anglais. She was a BBC Promenade Concert soloist on six occasions between 1939 and 1959. She took part in school concerts in 1943, 1945 & 1947.

Roderick Lloyd was a bass-baritone, originally from Glynneath.

Elsie Suddaby, soprano - see the next caption for biographical details. This signature was obtained at the 1942 concert when Miss Suddaby was engaged to sing in Handel’s Acis and Galatea.

Elsie Suddaby, (1893 – 1980), was a British lyric soprano of the inter-war period. She was born in Leeds, and the Town Hall in her home town has a room named after her. She was a leading soprano for forty years. She took part in the 1942, 1943 & 1945 School Concerts.
Peter Pears, (later Sir), (1910 – 1986), was a tenor. His career was closely associated with the composer Benjamin Britten. He took part in the 1943 School Concert.
William Parsons, see above.

All three signatures from the 1943 concert, when the performance included Spring (Haydn), and Sleepers, Wake! (Bach).

There was a fourth soloist, Helen Gaskell, whose autograph is missing here. As well as playing in the 24-piece orchestra, Miss Gaskell performed Handel’s Concerto Grosso No.10.