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relaxing beforehandMike Sanders of Manchester University had a book to launch about Chartist poetry. Through someone who knew Andrew Bibby who knew us, our octet Corista were invited to sing while he lectured. Well, before and after he lectured.

Don't we look relaxed beforehand? Well we'd made all our mistakes in the warm-up, which had unexpectedly had to be in the same room, with the audience gathering. Notice Gwyneth Morgan, not a regular member, whom we invited to join us because she had sung these songs before in a Chartist choir. And because we like her.

Mike Sanders speakingThe rest of us, for those who don't know, are from left: David, Ceinwyn, (Gwyneth), Sakinah, Helena, Debs behind and Joan in front, Leo, and Alan behind the camera.

On the right is Mike Sanders talking to the unexpectedly large audience: eighty to hundred people came along. Here's his book.

As it turned out, much of his talk focused on the two writers of the songs we sang: Thomas Cooper and Ernest Jones. We sang the Chartist song itself, plus 'Song of the low' and 'Blackstone Edge' (which we first sang Midsummer 2008 at Blackstone Edge itself). Mike told us afterwards that there's a store of unsung Chartist songs just waiting to be performed - watch this space!

joancorista singing


On the right, that's Corista singing. Well, most of us. The kind member of the audience who took the pics missed out Joan.

So here she is on the left - well, most of her - at the Chinese meal we had afterwards.

At the meeting we were also able to look at some original research material. Below is part of the page of Ernest Jones's diary recording his visit to the Blackstone Edge gathering on 1 August 1846, which inspired him to write the poem/song a few weeks later. Glorious day!

diary extract 1 Aug 1846