THE CHOIRMOTHER

Wayne E. Russell 

          The importance of the service rendered by the choirmother probably often lost sight of, due, perhaps, to the unobtrusive manner in which she functions, and even those who come into somewhat closer contact with her work are often prone to take a little too much for granted.

          Let if be know, however, that the choirmother’s work is not only of importance to the choir, but it is also unmeasured assistance to the rector and the choirmaster in relieving them of many of the details of choir management that might very easily become burdensome.

          Grace Church Vested Choir came into being as an organization during the early part of January, 1889, at which time the position of choirmother was assumed by Mrs. Hannah J. Rand, who held this important office until Easter Day, 1895.

          The Choir was particularly fortunate in having the services of Mrs. Rand during those early days of its history.  They had no club room or choir room in which to meet for rehearsals or socially, and the old vestry room was, of course too small and in other ways unsuited to their purpose.  Mrs. Rand met this deficiency in characteristic fashion however, by offering the use of her home where many rehearsals as well as informal social gatherings were held thereafter.

          Her home became, in fact, actual headquarters for the choir, and continued so for several years, during which time Mrs. Rand repeatedly entertained the boys at dinners and other functions, all of which, you may be sure, was very highly appreciated not only by the boys but by their elders as well, who quickly recognized the fact that here was being built up a background and a foundation, clean and strong, that must insure lasting success for the venture and the grateful pride of those whose privilege it was to have a part in it.

          Mrs. Rand resigned on Easter Day, 1895, bringing to a close a period  of more than six years of conscientious and self sacrificing effort in the interest of the choir during its pioneer days, and with the satisfaction of knowing that her efforts had contributed, in no small degree, to the success of the organization.

          By this time the choir was well out of its swaddling clothes and had  become a lusty youngster indeed, with an increasing number of regular members as well as a reserve list of probationers.  All of its problems, financial and otherwise, were becoming greater and it was at this time, Easter, 1895, that Mrs. Louise D. Henningsen (Pollock) took over the duties of choirmother and immediately found ample opportunity for the exercise of her great talent for seeing what was needed and getting it done.

          Mrs. Pollock’s first official act was the solving of the choir’s financial  problems for all time by prevailing upon St. Margaret’s Guild, of which she had been manager for years, to assume this burden.  Thereafter all bills were paid promptly much to the relief of the choirmaster and organist.

          Many other constructive measures benefiting the choir took for under Mrs. Pollock’s capable direction notable among which was the installation of a modern ventilating system in the church.

          In addition to her duties as choirmother Mrs. Pollock’s activities extended in  many other directions, both in the parish and the community, yet she found it possible to be Godmother in baptism to many a choir boy and, what is perhaps of more importance, always discharged her obligations as such.

          Mrs. Pollock served the choir faithfully and well for more than fourteen years, and the positive character of her kindly and sympathetic personality will forever remain indelibly impressed upon the minds and hearts of those whose good fortune it was to know her.  She was a real friend.

          Mrs. Pollock’s term of service came to a close in October, 1909, at which time the duties of choirmother fell on the capable shoulders of another of the faithful women of our parish.  Mr. Angell.

          The choir was now in its hey-day, so to speak, with its organization complete and its house in order and although most of its major problems had perhaps been disposed of, there were still plenty of things requiring the attention of the choirmother, all of which were well cared for by Mrs. Angell.

          In point of time the term of Mrs. Angell’s ministration was greater than any of the others—almost fifteen years—and terminated in 1924.  Her work was quietly and efficiently done and gives her a place side by side with those other loyal and devoted women to whom service to the Church is a pleasure as well as a duty.

          After Mrs. Angell’s resignation in 1924, the choir carried on without without a choirmother until early in 1929, when Mrs. W. H. Gode consented to serve and the choir now faces the future with a renewed optimism and vigor that augurs well for its success.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clinton County History Books

Many books have been written that include information about Clinton County; indeed, they are still being published today.  Below are some that we have info from online: