Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 18 August 3, 1938
The Village Concert
The Village Concert
High Jinks in the Old Barn
There was a delightful air of spontaneity about the Glee Club Concert presented in the Gym. last Friday. Had the Club set out to satirise the traditional Village Concert it could scarcely have done better; If Mr. Christensen had been dressed as a Vicar the illusion would have been complete. A standard of singing seldom attained to in rural areas, however, constantly reminded us that we were still in the Gym.
It is only fair that the report should commence with a tribute to the conductor. Mr. Denzil A. S. Ward. The work of the choir showed a marked improvement on last year's effort, especially in the female department. It was obvious that Mr. Ward has spent a great deal or time and trouble in training the choir, which consisted in the main or somewhat intractable material.
I suppose it is the task of a conductor in such cases to convert a number of mediocre voices into a pleasing and harmonious whole, and in this Mr. Ward certainly succeeded admirably. Despite a marked weakness in the male section, a conspicuous absence of bassos, and a few errors in timing, the effect was, on the whole, excellent.
One small point—could the singers either learn their songs by heart or be provided with a sufficient number of scripts? It was very annoying to see singers looking over their companions' shoulders all the time.
Laurels for the best individual performance of the evening undoubtedly go to Mr. Christensen, whose name was, owing no doubt to a typographical error, omitted from the programme. Various addresses were given by Mr. Christensen through the evening, from several different parts of the hall and in a number of different attitudes. With his lower portions enveloped in the somewhat unruly curtain. Derek's bust announced the items and corrected the mistakes in the programme; and his delightful up-and-down. Jack-in-the-box movements during the Glee Club songs were a joy to behold.
The Club is to be congratulated on its enterprise in obtaining the services of Mr. Lawrence Tibbet. complete with moustache, who gave a short lecture on Turkey, and then sang "Largo al Factotum" from "The Barber of Seville." in his usual rich and finely modulated baritone, though in a slightly slower tempo than usual. Owing to an error in the programme the singer's name was put down as Martin Liddle.
After a bright opening chorus, followed by Dvorak's beautiful "Slavonic Cradle Song" (one of the best items of the evening, by the way), speculation was rife as to the nature of item number 2. which was stated on the programme to be a "Comet Duo." entitled "Ida and Dot." Of course, we expected something like Elsie and Doris Waters, and were rather disappointed to see two youths, dressed exactly alike, playing cornets with a bored expression and in a very constrained attitude.
From this time on the audience's applause increased considerably, the stamping of feet at the end of each item being very loud and prolonged. The artists, of course, politely responded with encores, but we think that the coldness of the atmosphere as well as the audience's appreciation of their efforts, was perhaps responsible.
The unaccompanied duet. "Sweet and Low," was not good, and two artists of a much higher standard who followed were a welcome relief, Mr. J. Sutherland played two intricate piano-accordeon solos with an amazing deftness of touch, and Mrs. Denzil Ward sang a Schumann song and an encore very sweetly.
An ancient but well-delivered monologue—the "Inevitable" Monty—was performed by a red-haired stranger. Mr. Nat Beatus, who in the second halt perpetrated another equally ancient "Bertram" speech.
We really did like "The Little Sandman." This lovely little Brahms song—a favourite of the Comedy Harmonists—was beautifully sung by the Glee Club Girls, the contralto parts being especially fine. This was certainly the prettiest number of the evening—In two senses of the word.
Music Hath Charms.
A sparkling comedy number by the Glee Club men—two Sea Chanties—opened the second half. The motions of Mr. Christensen, as described above, and the peculiar faces registered by certain members when negotiating top notes, made this item one of the highlights of the evening, and "Blow the Man Down" had to be repeated.
Marie Fletcher and Vesta Emanuel, looking pretty in green and brown respectively, sang a Mendelssohn duet. We learned afterwards that Marie had got out of bed to attend the concert, but, frankly, her voice seemed to us almost as sweet and fresh as usual. Vesta's rich contralto was most harmonious.
One of the well-known Chopin Polonaises (A Flat Major, we think) was played with technical brilliance but rather a lack of tonal modulation by Mr. Paul Magill, and a solo dance by Hilly Henderson was delightfully executed and fully deserved the encore it received.
As a reminder that the evening was drawing to a close, the choir sang "Goin' Home." a song written to the beautiful air of the Largo movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 5 (From the New World), and as a contrast, followed with the bright "Carnavale" by Rossini.
The first two movements (we use of wind instruments like the flute, and strings were presented by a quartette provided by Dr. Keys. Mozart was the first composer to make real use of wind instruments like the flutt, which were considered rather a joke until he incorporated them in some of his finest work. The flautist's part in this work demands great skill, and the whole thing was exceptionally well played. The second movement—the theme strangely reminiscent of the "Minstrel Boy"—closed a very enjoyable concert.
We are very much looking forward to the next Glee Club concert, and we hope that there will not be a counter attraction like "Judgment Day" next time to diminish the attendance.
And more songs by the choir next time, please!