Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 6, No. 3 March 31th, 1943
Music in the College
Music in the College.
Victoria University College, which has no faculty of music, has four active musical student-groups; Canterbury College, which has a faculty of music, had, when I was there last year, only one such group, a small choir. The difference is interesting. Though it doesn't prove, when examined, that the students of Victoria have more musical people among them, or even that the College demands more opportunities for hearing and performing music than Canterbury, it does show in what different ways the two colleges provide themselves with those opportunities.
Professor Eric Ashby, chairman of the Professorial Board of the University of Sydney, gave a talk over the air in Australia last month, on "Universities and our Future Society" in which he said: "If a good deal of the responsibility for technical training is handed over to the technical colleges, that would leave the universities free to do what is their main business; namely, to teach values and ideas rather than facts and technique."
Though it would be consoling to be able to argue that Victoria College compensates for its official be-nightedness in the sphere of music by being unofficially enlightened; to argue that the spontaneous creation by the students of four active musical groups (an orchestra, a choir, a discussion-cum-performance group, and a gramophone club) bespeaks a more vital activity than the official fostering of technical study producing only one choral group; and though it would be pleasant to think that V.U.C. comes nearer to fulfilling Professor Ashby's wish, yet St would be dangerous to flatter ourselves in that way before we have seen to it that all four groups are operating at their maximum possible efficiency with a total absence of overlapping.
All Men and no Girls.
What goes on in our groups at present? I have had no dealings with the orchestra yet, but I know that the Glee Club, at its third rehearsal found itself with six or seven men and only one or two women, whereas the Canterbury College Choral Society last year contemplated the prospect of becoming purely a female concern. The Glee Club was not quite sure at first what it intended to do, owned very little music, most of it unsuitable, and required to be coordinated. But above all it needs women. There are, I repeat, several fine manly basses still lacking female support, an extraordinary state of affairs in wartime! If you are a woman, and can sing in tune, then sign one of the notices that are on the boards.
Players and Talkers.
The Music Makers Club met early in the term and a girl whose name I still don't know went to the piano, tucked her skirt underneath her, and turned to us, saying with the most disarming bluntness: "This piece has got one advantage—its Short." Whereupon she played a caprice by Edgar Moy, and we were so taken with her honest diffidence that some of us began to applaud at the end, but were reminded that applause is forbidden—an excellent way of disposing of a shoddy convention.
A member also got up to talk about Arnold Schonberg, the modern Viennese theoretician and composer, after frankly admitting that one week before he knew nothing at all about the man. So we all sat there and gravely listened to a solemn exposition of all the hocus-pocus that was current in the thirties about Schonberg the "mathematical composer," as if Ockeghem and the other incredibly ingenious cerebral composers of the 15th century had never existed. We even heard of Kandin-sky (the expressionist painter) who had praised Schonberg for his "expression superior to meaning" whatever that may be.
In the Dark.
So it was naive, honest, frankly uninformed; the whole atmosphere I mean. And Very refreshing. I hope I will be pardoned for seeing a curious symbolism in the way that meeting closed: John Money was playing a piano suite by his teacher, Claude Haydon, and the lights went out he played on bravely in the dark but had to give in. The Music Makers Club, however, knows where the switches are, and won't be in the dark about music for very much longer.
But those who have any concern for the culture (horrible, inevitable word) of the college know that it will not be until we have set these four energetic lively, open-minded groups fairly buzzing with activity, that we can refute any claim that Victoria College is musically benighted.
The subject of Dr. Richardson's talk was "Flight in Birds and Man," which would lead one to expect a highly technical lecture with unintelligible latin names, but instead, the audience were pleasantly surprised to hear an interesting and entertaining address on gliding. Dr. Richardson pointed out that as long as men tried to imitate birds they did not succeed in flying, only when an American engineer sold himself the idea of constructing machines like bridges, were the first successes achieved.
Dr. Richardson talked with the enthusiasm of a keen amateur flyer and he made such a lively impression on the audience, that Miss Daisy Filmer, moving the motion of thanks, enquired whether Dr. Richardson was thinking of establishing an amateur flying group at V.U.C. The lecture was illustrated by a series of excellent slides and a film.
We have a Social Committee! And what is more it must be working. We have had our first Tea Dance, which was good. We have had Freshers Welcome, which was very good. Moreover the Committee has produced its programme for the year: here it is, subject of course, to the Principal's approval.
Firstly, Tea Dances [unclear: rv] the Gym, the comforting atmosphere of the Women's Common Room being unobtainable this year. These usually occur fortnightly, the next being on Saturday, 3rd April.
Commencing Monday the third of May, the Capping Week celebrations. Extrav is very probably off, but the Dramatic Club intends to rally to the fore with a non-stop review on Monday, plus dances in the gym, on Tuesday and Wednesday and Undergrad Supper on the Thursday (6th May) and Friday is filled by Capping and the Ball.
The second term brings—Friday 28th May—the opening dance, and Friday, 18th August for the Winter Sports Ball. The Glee club are brewing a concert for Friday, 10th September, with more dancing afterwards. End of term dance comes on Friday, the 8th October, and next the 'Swatting for Degree.' Reaction from this we feel will be riotous, whence the Final Ball (November 12th) the location of which is as yet unsettled.