The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
The Napier Orchestral Society was established in the year 1905, with Mr. H. G. Spackman as conductor. Under his direction many standard orchestral works have been performed, and the society has become a powerful factor in the musical education of the community. It has been fortunate in the matter of completeness of its band, which numbers about fifty, and possesses instruments which are rarely found in amateur orchestras. The programmes have included classical works, and also those of a lighter character, and the performances have always been marked by completeness of detail. Two concerts are given annually in the Theatre Royal, and these have been so successful that it has been found necessary of late to repeat the performances, the accommodation of the theatre being insufficient for the large number of subscribers. Practices are held in the society's rooms in Hastings Street.
Mr. Henry Goold Spackman, Conductor of the Napier Orchestral Society, was born in the year 1850, at Corsham, Wiltshire, England, and comes of a gifted musical family. He was educated at the local grammar school, and for some time afterwards assisted his father in business. At thirteen years of age Mr. Spackman was elected organist of the Baptist Church in Corsham. At seventeen years of age he was appointed organist of St. Bartholomew's Church, Corsham, and was succeeded fourteen years later by his brother, who still (1906) holds the position. Mr. Spackman was also a member of the Bristol Musical Festival Society, then under the conductorship of Sir Charles Halle. In 1883 he came to New Zealand, as organist of the Napier Cathedral, and held the position for ten years. He then resigned, and subsequently resided in Gisborne, where he became organist of Holy Trinity Church. Mr. Spackman was afterwards appointed music master of the Boys' College, Wanganui, where he also conducted an orchestra. In 1902 he returned to Napier, and has resumed the practice of his profession. Mr. Spackman is examiner in music for the Hawke's Bay Board of Education.
Mr. H. G. Spackman.
Mr. F. H. Lockyer.
The Napier Frivolity Minstrels is a musical society, established in the year 1897, with the object of raising money by public entertainments for charitable purposes. The first musical director was Mr. C. Wilson; interlocutor, Mr. E. H. Taylor; and stage manager, Mr. C. Price. The first concert was held at Eskdale in September, 1898, and since that date over thirty entertainments have been given. These concerts have been very successful, and over £1,000 have been collected for charitable objects. During the season practice meetings are held weekly, and the affairs of the society are managed by an executive committee. The membership of the society is about forty, and the orchestra, which is claimed to be the finest in the North Island, consists of eighteen members. The officers are: President, Colonel Benson; Musical Director, Mr. J. A. Stevens; Stage-Manager, Mr. G. Tudehope; Interlocutor, Mr. Charles Prebble; Property Master, Mr. Thomas Prebble; Secretary and Treasurer, Mr. J. S. Brass. The members of the committee are, Messrs J. S. Brass, Geo. Tudehope, H. Tankard, J. A. Stevens, and Chas. Prebble.
Mr. John Ascot Stevens, Musical Director of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels, and of the Napier Dramatic Students, is a son of Mr. C. T. Stevens, a draughtsman in the Government Land Transfer Department, Wellington. He was educated at Invercargill, and has since successfully followed mercantile life. Mr. Stevens was one of the promoters of the Hawke's Bay Kennel and Poultry Club, and is a successful breeder and importer of prize poultry, which he exhibits at all the principal New Zealand shows.
Mr. John Still Brass, Secretary and Treasurer of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels, was born in Invercargill, where he was educated at the public schools. In October, 1904, Mr. Brass was appointed manager of the mercery department in the business of Messrs Kirkcaldie and Stains, Limited, at Napier. Shortly after his arrival in Napier he joined the Frivolity Minstrels, and a few months later was elected secretary and treasurer, a position which he still holds.
Mr. J. S. Brass.
Mr. Thomas Prebble was appointed Property-Master of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels in 1904, and has been a member of the society for about seven years. He was born in Napier in October, 1880, and was educated at the District School and the Napier Boys' High School. For some years Mr. Prebble assisted in his father's business, and on the latter's death he bought out the interest held by other members of the family, and has since conducted a successful business, on his own account, as a fruiterer in Hastings Street. He has been for several years a member of the Cathedral choir, and was a member of the Union Rowing Club and the Napier Swimming Club.
Mr. Harold Edwards, who has been a member of the committee of the Napier Frivolity Minstrels, has been connected with the society as a soloist for about three years. He was born at Hastings in December, 1881, and was educated at the Napier District School. Mr. Edwards afterwards learned the boot trade, and has had considerable experience in business life, having travelled throughout the colony on behalf of various firms. For about twelve months subsequently he carried on business on his own account as a bootmaker, in Tennyson Street, and in 1905 entered into partnership with Mr. T. King, of Dunedin, as a boot manufacturer.
The Napier Harmonic Society was established in July, 1903, with the object of cultivating a taste for part singing. Weekly practices are held, from March to November, in the Cathedral schoolroom. Oratorios, liedertafel, and liederkranz work are undertaken, and two public concerts are given annually. The management of the society is vested in a committee, consisting of a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a conductor, and two other members, elected annually. The membership of the society is about eighty, and the annual subscription is 10s. Officers for the year 1906: Messrs Thomas Tanner (president), G. C. Fletcher (secretary), and J. Chadwick (conductor).
Mr. G. C. Fletcher.