THE CHOIR. A history of this group is in the society section.
Worship within the body of the church has depended upon a faithful band of voices for its musical accompaniment, in this church as most others for centuries, and is therefore our oldest parochial group. As soon as the local railway appeared their voluntary presence was rewarded by an annual trip to the seaside. Often in those early days the destination was Margate. Here is one record.
" The annual excursion of the choirs of the Parish Church and of Laddingford took place on Wednesday 14th August, 1895 at Margate. Yalding station presented an unusually lively scene at 8 am, there being about 150 passengers ready to start on their day's outing. The united choirs - men, ladies, boys, and girls consisted of 53, and capital arrangements had been made for their comfort, a saloon having been obtained for the choir.
On arriving at Margate, after a rapid journey, the members distributed themselves among the rocks, on the pier, and esplanade; the younger ones indulged in donkey rides, sea bathing, and purchasing toys; some visited Sanger's Menagerie, and watched the seals, bears, lions, elephants, pelicans, and other animals never seen at home; others took advantage of a sea trip in a well appointed steamer to Ramsgate and back. All subsequently assembled at tea, preliminary to starting homewards.
The return Journey commenced in downpour of rain; but the day had been beautifully bright and warm, so all congratulated themselves, when they arrived at Yalding station at about quarter to ten, on having spent a most happy and profitable day.”
Another trip is recorded in an article from a 1925 Edition of the Parish Magazine.
This was a Choir Treat to Hastings July 13th 1925.
“With one exception, who came along rubbing the sleep from his eyes and not so fresh as the flower he had gathered, all were ready for an early start at 8 a.m. The Vicar, prevented from coming by contact with the noisome pestilence, saw us off. The manoeuvring for seats in the comfortable charabanc was watched with interest, and one learnt the correct position for the dignified Sexton - next the Driver; the stately Tenors and Bases - in the front seat; a row of Choir Boys in front of their watchful parents; visitors and the Curate - in a strategic position in the middle; more unattached boys, with the lively one well guarded; and, lastly, the younger men with their young ladies - in the seclusion of the rear!
We met the Laddingford coach at the White Hart, and the journey down took about two hours, through beautiful scenery, and by the time we reached Hastings the morning mist began to clear, giving us the promise of a fine day. After the distribution of the luncheon money, all went away happily, each to their own devices. These were amusing and various. One small boy was discovered putting unlimited pennies into the slot machines on the pier! A party of men spent a peaceful morning selecting the best place for lunch; having it, and resting after until woke up by the strains of the band!
Others took great joy in watching the Curate take what is called "an annual dip"! The Laddingford girls, well chaperoned by their Organist, were not seen, but no doubt had their own methods of amusement.
All re-assembled at 4.30 for tea at the Castle Hotel in a truly magnificent ballroom. The small boys, however, were not overawed, but enlivened the proceedings with the squeals of no known breed of dogs, accompanied by a mouth organ! Thus was digestion aided, and as much justice as possible was done to the splendid tea provided, when allowance is made for the varied diet of shrimps, ice cream, etc., consumed during the day. The waiters kindly turned their backs while several plates were mysteriously and suddenly emptied!