Posted on a local email forum by the mayor, Nick Cottle

Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 08:55:23 EST
Subject: Rutland Boughton
To All

Many of you will be aware of this composer's work. I have to admit that I was ignorant of his work until this weekend. I was invited together with the MP and others to a performance of "Bethlehem" in St John's church on Saturday evening. I must admit to having had a few concerns regarding whether I would find the evening enjoyable. Well, I have to say that I enjoyed the performance so much that I will never again have preconceived ideas concerning music. I am never too proud to admit when I am wrong. and in this case I most certainly was wrong. Preconceived ideas concerning anything are not a good idea, as this has proven once more to me.

I would like to congratulate all concerned, for providing Glastonbury with this truly enjoyable event. Last night was truly an excellent evening, and was enjoyed by all present.

I was fascinated to learn about Rutland from members of his family [who came to the performance]. I suspect that I would have enjoyed his company His attitudes and ideas were most definitely ahead of his time, both in his political and private lives. A true man of the people I suspect. I would suggest that some of you may like to look up some of the websites about this man.

And finally but most certainly not least, today I was kindly invited to unveil a plaque dedicated to him on the wall of the Assembly Rooms. This is extremely fitting in my opinion, as his connection with the Assembly Rooms was, it appears, very strong. The unveiling was well attended by many people -- some I suspect have not visited the Assembly Rooms in many years, and Rutland's grandson Ian Boughton gave a talk about the man, explaining how during the General Strike in 1926 he had one of his operas ("Bethlehem") performed in miners clothes to, I presume, show solidarity with the strikers. (What a great idea.) But unfortunately the people of Glastonbury disapproved of his views and failed to support his ideas etc. I can say that personally I shall be reading all I can about this man, as it appears that freethinking individuals who came from outside the area had great difficulty being accepted then, as some do now, by the community at large. Funny thing about that fact -- local eccentrics and freethinkers are regarded differently, and are often given the benefit of the doubt, about almost anything. And I do know a few extremely eccentric locally born and bred people who this rule most definitely applies to in today's world.