Saddleworth singer’s latest single pays homage to local history

A SINGER-SONGWRITER from Saddleworth will soon release his latest single, which pays homage to some remarkable people from Oldham’s history.

Ian F Ball, who is from Lees, will be combining historical significance with his signature folk sound in ‘The Ballad of Ellias Hall’ – which will be available to download from streaming platforms on Monday, November 13.

Ian’s song will focus on the life and achievements of Ellias Hall, who became choirmaster at St Mary’s Parish Church in 1696 and advocated for inclusivity within the local church.

Ian F Ball

During this time, it was strictly forbidden for women to sing in church choirs. However, in 1701, Hall successfully persuaded the church elders and the Bishop of Chester to allow three women to join the choir of 26 men – which proved to be a groundbreaking decision that left an indelible mark on the community.

The names of these three women are not recorded, however, a renowned opera singer from the mid to late 1700s, Sarah Bates from Woodbrook in Saddleworth, is recorded as saying “it’s because I was able to stand on the shoulders of these three courageous women I was allowed to sing myself”.

Ian has over 50 years of experience and his music has been influenced by a wide range of artists, from Bach to Big Bill Broonzy, via Arthur Askey and The Purple Gang.

He’s played in various ceilidh, folk, blues and Americana bands over the years – on guitar, harmonica, melodeon, mandolin, whistle and keyboard and bouzouki, but now concentrates on writing for guitar and melodeon.

An active member and past Chairman of Saddleworth Musical Society, Ian was fortunate enough in 2011 to perform with other members of the society on the main stage of the Carnegie Hall in New York in a 150-strong international choir.

In 2022, Ian was awarded the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (North West Region): Best Male Lead in a Musical for his role as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.

You can listen to Ian’s music on Spotify and Bandcamp, and follow his Facebook page.

2 Replies to “Saddleworth singer’s latest single pays homage to local history”

  1. A recent Saddleworth Players production, celebrated these same women . It was called Singers Not Sinners & included a performance at the church in Oldham where all happened. I wish Ian success

    1. Thanks Fiona, I was involved in the play and played Elias Hall. When we did the photo shoot in the church, we went down into the crypt where there is the original earthen floor that the characters depicted in the play would have walked upon. Spooky!

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