Miss Markland was the girls' music teacher
and for several years had trained a large Girls' Choir and also a smaller select elite
group: the Girls' Madrigal Choir. These two choirs performed regularly and the concerts
were always enjoyed.
When the Vlth form eventually became mixed, some boys wanted to be in on the choral act.
At first, because our sight reading was almost nil, we were coached to provide a tenor and
bass line to a few carols and part songs. Imagine our surprise when Marky decided that
this newly formed mixed choir would join the large Girls' Choirto perform the first part
of Haydn's Creation at the next summer concert.
During my last year at Thornes House Miss Markland taught me
music and I was awarded a West Riding Scholarship. Although I was unable to take it up, I
have always been grateful for this sound foundation in a subject which I eventually taught
in schools and have always enjoyed.
The elite Madrigal Choir soon included boys as did the Full
Choir, and it was they who sang in Wood Street at the special request of the County
Lieutenant, when the Queen visited Wakefield in 1952. The mixed choir progressed well and
in 1951 they reached the Yorkshire semi-finals of the National Competitive Music Festival
held in Hull. It was the only school choir to compete against adults in the Mixed Voice
Choir section, and they did superbly to be placed third in that class.
Concerts and Recitals were given regularly in the Wakefield area
and the school's musical reputation was well established. Members of the choirs
became devoted to choral singing especially under Marky's direction. In addition to high
quality music making, there was fun and enjoyment.
When several Old Thornesians and some of their friends decided to sing together as a young
adult mixed choir it soon became obvious that we missed Marky's experience and expertise.
Fortunately she took little persuasion to take us on and the Old Thornesians Choir was
formed. It was open to those who could sing and consequently its reputation and fame soon
Later it became known as the Thornesian Guild of Singers and
because at that time the majority of the members had attended Thornes House School, they
proudly insisted on keeping the Thornes connection. The concerts, many of which involved
national, professional solo performers, were appreciated by a wide following of music
lovers. This prolonged high reputation was, of course, due to the combination of dedicated
singers and the artistry, skill and love of Miss Margaret Markland.
After Marky retired as a teacher she continued with the Guild
for several years. Although she is now no longer trainer and conductor, and the Choir has
changed its name to The Yorkshire Chamber Choir, she is still President.