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Buckley Board School"

Board School, Padeswood Road, Buckley


Tom Roberts


Tom Roberts was both Headmaster of The Buckley Board School and Custom House Lane School, Connah's Quay and Organist of the Tabernacle Methodist Chapel, Buckley. He married Miss Ethel Reney, daughter of James Reney. (see Buckley 29 p 15.)

He was an outstanding musician and an accompanist of remarkable technical confidence and sensitivity. His services were required not only weekly at the chapel, but as accompanist at the International and National Eisteddfodau of Wales; he had a particular musical 'rapport' with the mellifluous Welsh tenor from Trelogan, David Lloyd.

It was widely known that the soprano, Dame Isobel Baillie would only agree to sing in this area if Tom Roberts were her accompanist. This was also the case with such celebrities as Thomas Allen, Owen Brannigan, Jennifer Vivien (or Vivian?) and Peter Pears, who sang from time to time in the Tabernacle.

He attracted a choir at the Tabernacle of a constant and remarkably high musical proficiency under the baton of Davies Hayes. Together they performed most of the well-known oratorios in the religious musical repertoire. Many Buckley people were to learn to sight-read and to develop a deep love of music under their auspices over a period of 40 years or more.

The choir often augmented the Chester choirs, in the Cathedral there, at concerts under the baton of Dr J. Rowland Middleton, the Cathedral Organist. (Many of the Buckley singers had been taught music by Dr Middleton, when he was organist at Mold Parish Church and Music Master at the Alun Grammar School.) Tom Roberts (always known as 'Mr Roberts' (Davies Hayes too, was always to the choir 'Mr Hayes'), for he had been the headmaster of many in the choir) frequently played piano duets with Sir Geoffrey Summers, a pianist of 'concert standard', at his home Craig-y-Castell, near Dyserth.

The Buckley Choral Society under Tom Roberts' baton and with the outstandingly gifted accompanists Miss Gwyneth Jones and Raymond Reney Roberts (his son, who had read music at Oxford) created a vibrant, satisfying and unforgettable musical culture in Buckley during the middle years of the last millennium. Many will recollect Buckley Choral Society's production of Edward German's "Merrie England" in the hall of the recently built Elfed School.

Those who were fortunate to hear him would agree, that when Tom Roberts sat at the Tabernacle organ, so sure was his touch, that there would ensue a faultless performance that was a delight and a joy.


Author: Lewis, J Brian


Year = 1925

Building = School

Event = Educational

Gender = Mixed

People = Group

Work = Education

Extra = Formal Portrait

Extra = 1920s

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