Excerpts from ‘Memories of a Modbury Man’
by Rev. Charles E. Green, 1867-1950
There was a large and good choir at the Church, and practically every man in it played a brass instrument and some of them a stringed instrument also. The service was always in the afternoon, and the men brought their instruments into Church with them. There was a special preacher and a large congregation, many nonconformists attending on that occasion. Then, after the conclusion of the service, the congregation remained in their places while the band collected their instruments, and formed up outside, and we all finally marched behind them down to the Vicarage, friends of the band carrying their stringed instruments. I remember now the tune to which we marched – it was always the same – called ‘Woodland echoes’, and we used to sing words to it:
You talk about your music, the sweetest song to me,
Is to hear the little birds asinging on the tree.
When we arrived at the Vicarage, the brass instruments were put away, the strings produced, and music stands set up, and we danced! We did dance. The lawn was on a slope, and we polka-d or mazurka-d ~ I don’t know whether that is the way to spell it ~ down the hill as hard as we could go and then, holding hands, ran up to the top again, and da capo. Then on the level at the bottom we would have country dances, Swedish, Sir Roger, etc., etc., until tea-time.
Tea was at long tables set out on the gravel in front of the house, and had to be taken by sections, so some of us went on dancing while the first section had their tea, and so on until the band came to have theirs.
Those who did not want to dance found plenty to do and to see and to talk about, and all managed to enjoy themselves; and those who did dance went at it again after tea until nine o’clock, when the strings were put away, the brass instruments produced once more, and ‘God save the Queen’ announced that another Harvest Home was ended.