A couple of weeks ago a photograph of the Swindon soprano Una Rouse (nee Boffin) was kindly dontated to the Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, fitting in ideally with the museum’s partnership on the Creative Wiltshire & Swindon project.
|Una was well known in the 1930s for her fine voice, singing regularly at the Empire Theatre in the town to packed audiences. She also performed at the Playhouse (now known as the Mechanics Institute) and after serving at RAF Lyneham during the Second World War, continued to work musically in Swindon until the 1960s, making two albums and later teaching speech and drama in Wroughton. She was also a founder member of the Springfield Ladies Club and Wroughton’s amateur music society. She passed away in 2000.|
With theatre and the music hall in mind, another who made a name for himself in the world of music a generation before was Ernest Ford. Born in Warminster, from 1868-1873 he sang in the choir at Salisbury Cathedral and studied under Arthur Sullivan at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where, in 1875, he received the first Goss Scholarship. His compositions and arrangements were played in many theatres and Opera Houses. He was Assistant Musical Director at the Savoy Theatre and Musical Director of the Trafalgar Theatre. By 1911, Ford was teaching singing as a Professor of Music at the Guildhall School of Music and beginning in 1916 he taught composition there.