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At the celebration of the Raikes’ Centenary held at Sheffield, on the 3rd August last, by the schools connected with the Sunday School Union in that town, 26,811 scholars and 3,298 teachers took part in the festivities. The Sheffield and Rotherham, Independent says ; . ■ ■ “Under the auspices of the Sheffield* Sunday School Union, a gigantic choir of thirty thousand and more was listened to by an audience so vast as to make computation as to numbers well-nigh impossible. Probably, though, not less ithan from eighty to a hundred thousand persons stood upon the slopes of ; the two hills which overlook the miniature dale in which the children were ; and it may be that even this latter , number was exceeded. Never has a gathering, of such gigantic proportions taken place; in Sheffield before ; and never before has such a choir been collected, though the spot on which it stood (Norfolk Park) is hallowed by associations connected with many a previous memorable gathering. In the Botanical Gardens the Wesleyan Sunday School Union was represented by upwards of eight thousand children, whose singing was listened to by an audience of more than double that number. The schools connected with the Church of England had no united gathering, which is almost to be regretted ; but' many of the Church Sunday schools had gatherings of their own, and in this way contributed to the general celebration. The arrangements for the singing at the gathering in Norfolk Park were on a scale never before attempted in Sheffield. There was first of all the vast choir of children. Then from amongst the teachers and senior scholars were selected 2,500 part,singers :—alto, tenor, and bass—well balanced as to the numbers of each voice. Finally there was a band composed as follows :—lst violins, 116 ; 2nd 37, violas, 8 ; violoncellas, 28 ; double bass, 11; Ist cornets, 9 ; 2nd cornets, 11 ; flutes, 13; clarionets, 11; oboe, Isaxhorns, 5 ; euphoniums, 3; bombardines, 2 ; trombones, 6 ; baritones, s—total, 266. Mr. H. Coward, an admirable conductor, succeeded, in infusing some of his own enthusiasm into his vocalists, and they obeyed the beat of his baton with really wonderful precision, considering the enormous number of the choir. The time was excellent throughout, and the children sang with a due appreciation of light and shade that showed how careful their training had been. The stringed instruments were heard with magnificent effect. The refreshments committee entrusted the important work of catering for the bodily wants of the many thousands of young and old with Mr. Charles Butler, of Fatgate, and his arrangements were on a colossal scale. At the top of the park he had put up a very large marquee for, the accommodation exclusively of the scholars, of whom at least 16,000 were expected to visit it for milk and plum loaf. There were two other marquees, at which the general public could be supplied. Mr. Butler provided ten tons of plum loaf, I, gallons of milk, 60,000 penny buns, 2,000 dozens of ginger-beer; to say nothing of ginger ale, piles of sandwiches, heaps of general cerlfectionery, and about half-a-toit of miixt rock. To meet the demand foi thege delicacies Mr. Butler engaged a staff of 120 people.” *■ In concluding a long and interesting account of the day’s proceedings,, the paper from which we quote, referring to the vast concourse of people assembled remarks, “It was a grand and impressive sight—only to be witnessed perhaps once in a life time. ”

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 160, 2 October 1880

Word Count

MONSTER SUNDAY SCHOOL GATHERING. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 160, 2 October 1880