William H. Cummings Biography (Wikipedia)
William Hayman Cummings (22 August 1831 – 5 June 1915) was an English musician, tenor and organist at Waltham Abbey.
Cummings was born in Sidbury (near Sidmouth) in Devon. He was educated at St Paul's Cathedral Choir School and the City of London School, becoming a pupil of Dr E. J. Hopkins, J. W. Hobbs and Alberto Randegger, and was for many years a chorister in St Paul's Cathedral and the Temple Church.
In 1847, as a teenager, he was one of the choristers when Felix Mendelssohn conducted the first London performance of his Elijah at Exeter Hall. Cummings also sang at numerous festivals and concerts throughout Great Britain and twice toured in the United States. His performance at the Triennial Festival of the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston was noticed as follows by the Chicago Tribune of 15 May 1871:
He is credited in 1855 with linking Mendelssohn's tune to Charles Wesley's words "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", which are now universally inextricably linked. At the Birmingham Festival he was the last-minute tenor soloist at the premiere of The Masque at Kenilworth (1866) by Arthur Sullivan, taking Mario's place (with only half-an-hour's notice to prepare). He was also the tenor soloist there for the premiere of the sacred cantata The Woman of Samaria by William Sterndale Bennett in 1867.