11 thoughts on “Britain: 70 years of Workers Music Association

  1. Thank you for your excellent piece about the WMA. Just to let you know that the Birmingham Clarion Singers are still very active, and have just set up their very own website! We would be delighted if you would link to our new site. I am their secretary, and Aubrey Bowman is our president. We recently celebrated our 65th anniversary, and hope to have many more years singing for peace and solidarity.

    [UPDATE March 2011: site link changed, adapted now]

  2. Well Versed

    (Wednesday 31 October 2007)

    POETRY: Poem of the week
    edited by JOHN RETY

    POEM OF THE WEEK: Hymn to Friendship by Mozart.

    Let us now by friendship guided,
    By no creed or race divided,
    Sing of peace,
    Our right from birth.
    As good-will and friendship bind us,
    Thoughts of ill left far behind us,
    Be it so over all the earth,
    Be it so over all the earth.
    Pray that strife and sorrows perish,
    Render thanks for joys we cherish,
    Which from Nature’s bounty flow.
    May these blessings be extended
    To all people and never ended.
    So may health, grace, goodness flow
    So may health, grace, goodness flow.
    Honour, truth and justice ever,
    Wisdom love and high endeavour
    Be our duty and delight.
    East to West, each human being
    Live in peace and plenty seeing.
    Friendship fair and heavenly light,
    Friendship fair and heavenly light.

    Translated by Frida Knight
    About the Poet

    This is one of the songs which will be sung by the Birmingham Clarion Singers, augmented by a contingent from the Workers Music Association, at 7.30pm on November 10 at the All Saints Church, Kings Heath, Birmingham.

    The concert is in celebration of the life of a past conductor of the choir Katharine Thompson, whose sister Frida Knight translated this beautiful hymn expressing Mozart’s credo.

    Knight also wrote the libretto to Aubrey Bowman’s opera William Morris in 1980. It would be good to hear this on the stage after so many years.
    Another rarity which will be sung is by Randall Swingler, the still very topical final song from Freedom on the Air, an operatic drama with incidental music by Alan Bush which was banned at the last moment by the BBC in 1940.

    The first four lines read: “Oh, now strike hard, this year, this day, this hour/Death’s rule is broken and life shall come to flower/And over the fence of fear let courage vault/For truth is on the march that none can halt.”

    John Rety of Hearing Eye Press and Torriano Meeting House is a former editor of anarchist paper Freedom.


    Source: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/

  3. Quite good, hit the nail on the head in regard to Bush and why Iraq is not vietnam, lately though I find it interesting that when the military men were punished under the Clinton administration for critisizing the President, it was said they were excercising freedom of speech. However now that military people are speaking up, the right wing is coming damn close to calling them traitors. These are the same people who ask why the German Officers durring World War II stayed silent and did not protest to Hitler, I guess they are saying a “Democraticly ELECTED REPUBLICAN President” is taboo to critisize? But it’s OK to slander Democratic Presidents? Unless and until the world stands up, it will by it’s silence give consent to the Iraq Occupation. At this point in time I am shocked to see many of my fellow military men going to Canada to protest this unjust (in their opinon war) quite frankly the idea of invaiding Iraq after 9/11 makes as much sense as invaiding Australia after Pearl Harbor in 1941. Of the 19 highjackers there were how many Iraqi’s? hmmm clever these Iraqi’s to have disguised themselves as Saudi and Egyptian Nationals…..
    I urge all who read this to write Canada to provide sanctuary to the war resistors who are going North. Because in the end that is the only option. The Amaerican founding fathers said when an comissioned officer disagrees with national policy he should resign, however WHEN Lt Watada tried to do so….
    SO the only options left is to apply for CO status or travel North, kind of like Pre Civil War United States when escaped slaves would go north for freedom? Oh you say soldiers are NOT slaves? Hmmm then why do we say “I can’t be fired-slaves are sold!” Sold to keep the world safe for Exxon repeating the crimes done as Marine General Smedley Butler pointed out in his writing “War is a Racket”.
    Rise up for freedom!
    Today it is Iraq
    Tomorrow it will be YOU! IF you have natural resource the american corperations need.

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  8. I am a past student of Alan Bush and at the behest of the Alan Bush Music Trust have prepared into print more than 20 of his works which were left in manuscript. IU am as member of the Orpheus Choir of North Herts and in June we are presenting a concert of summer music. I have a copy of Alan’s arrangement of SUMER IS ICUMEN IN which our choir would like to perform. Would there be any problem if I were to photocopy this work for our poerormance?

    Martin Leadbetter

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