|Arnold Jones was the musical director and the driving force behind the Wolverton Light Orchestra. Until the end of his performing duties as the conductor of the Light Orchestra every event was described by him in his very detailed performance diary. This made a very detailed record of what was happening at all the summer fetes, garden parties, churches and village events. He even recorded the day he met his wife May, which naturally was very important to him.
Arnold Jones never saw himself as an infant prodigy. His musical talents came quite natural by even before his voice broke. He never experienced any difficulties with part-singing in later life. As a teenager he sang at local concerts and joined the Choral Society, which was conducted by Kenneth Garrett. Arnold Jones was pronounced to be a first Bass when he first auditioned. But the following year he was already upgraded to the tenor section.
In 1940 Arnold was called up for military service and found himself fortunate to be posted to Bournemouth for six years. Being a very musical town he found no difficulty maintaining his musical passion. He joined the Municipal Choir and sang many of the standard oratorios under Dr Reginald Jaques and Roy Henderson. With the Municipal Orchestra now being called the Symphony Orchestra he did three concerts a year with soloists such as Kathleen Ferrier, who was a pupil of Henderson. Arnold Jones also sang with a broadcasting choir, a male voice choir and a church choir, developing his singing.
In 1946 on his return to Wolverton he joined the new Wolverton Choral Society under Harold Nutt. Having been able to acquire a clarinet in Bournemouth Arnold Jones decided to join the Wolverton Orchestra, under Harold Nutt.
In 1947 the opportunity to conduct himself arose when the Methodist Drama Group put on "Night Must Fall" in the Church Institute. He was able to recruit a pit orchestra and was pleased to find that the players were able to follow his beat. Two years were to pass before the next chance to conduct came along. Harold Nutt unfortunately became ill the day the Choral Society were to perform at the Congregational Church and Arnold Jones was asked to deputise and he did so with a programme he had not been able to rehearse in any way.
From 1951 Arnold Jones was choirmaster in at the Wesley Methodist Church in Wolverton. In 1954 he staged a performance of "The Messiah" with an orchestra and a choir. This became an annual event with 22 performances until 1976. He also put on concert versions of "Merrie England", "Tom Jones", "Carmen" and the Savoy Operas, out of which grew the Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society, which is still going strong today.
By November 1961 he conducted at over some 200 concerts as the appointed conductor of the Wolverton Light Orchestra spanning almost 28 years. A concert held at the Wesley Centre marked the milestones of 60 years of the Wolverton Light Orchestra and Arnold Jones's 25th anniversary.
In 1964 Arnold Jones was asked by the vicar to form a choir which became the Newport Pagnell Singers. In 1974 he called the inaugural meeting of the Wolverton Gilbert & Sullivan Society. In Spring of 1975 "HMS Pinafore" was staged at the Wolverton College of Further Education was with the "Mikado" following. In 1990 "The Sorcerer" was performed at the Stantonbury Theatre.
On learning about the extent of his illness in 1994 Arnold Jones created the Harmony Singers based at the Methodist church as a parting gift. He worked with the Harmony Singers until summer 1988. Arnold Jones died in September that year, 79 years old. A year later a memorial concert was given at the Radcliffe School in Wolverton, in which many of the singers and musicians of different choirs and orchestras Arnold Jones knew participated.
Many thanks for the forthcoming help from May Jones, Robert Jones, Jackie Butcher and Shaun Sanders.
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