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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]


page 359


Of all studies music claims the greatest number of enthusiasts, and it also exercises the greatest influence-over the finer senses. Nothing is more elevating to the mind than the sweet symphonies of a cathedral organ; nothing so stirs the pulse as the inspiriting martial strains of a military band; and to the restless babe no sound is so pacifying as the soft crooning of a mother's lullaby. Every town of consequence in New Zealand has its musical societies and bands, and in the larger centres the municipal bodies subsidize the local bands to perform free open-air concerts. Musical entertainments given by the amateur societies are, generally speaking, of a high standard. The most successful theatrical companies that visit and tour New Zealand are those playing grand and comic operas, or musical comedies; and when their performances are of standard merit they do excellent business, invariably playing to full houses. Most travelling companies include Napier in their tour, there being two large theatres there. It will be gathered from a perusal of this section that the capital of Hawke's Bay is not behindhand in musical matters, and the teachers of music resident there are people of high attainment. An annual subsidy is granted by the Napier Borough Council to the two local bands (one of which—the Battalion Band—is referred to in the Military section), and they give periodical concerts on the Marine Parade and in Clive Square.


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.

Bunting, photo.Mr. H. G. Spackman.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. H. G. Spackman.

Mr. Frank H. Lockyer, Secretary and Treasurer of the Napier Orchestral Society, was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on the 16th of June, 1867, and is the second son of Captain Lockyer, the late commodore-captain of the Adelaide Steam Ship Company. He was educated at the Hahndorf and St. Peter's Colleges in Adelaide, and was successively employed
Bunting, photo.Mr. F. H. Lockyer.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. F. H. Lockyer.

page 360 by the Adelaide Steam Ship Company; Messrs Horn and Company, stock and sharebrokers, of Adelaide; the Orient and Pacific Steam Navigation Company, Sydney; and Messrs Goldsborough, Mort, and Company, Limited, Sydney, wool-brokers. In 1896 Mr. Lockyer came to New Zealand, and joined the firm of Messrs Charles Begg and Company, Limited, of Dunedin, with whom he remained for five years, assisting in the management of their large musical business in Princes Street. He removed to Napier in the year 1901, and established himself in business as a piano and general music dealer in Browning Street, where he has since conducted a successful trade. In 1900 he passed the Royal Academy of Music's highest test in voice culture, but, owing to the pressure of business practised his profession only for a short time. In 1896 Mr. Lockyer married Miss Helen Begg, the second daughter of the late Mr. John Begg, of Napier, and has two sons.

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.

Bunting, photo.Mr. J. S. Brass.

Bunting, photo.
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 George Charles Fletcher has been Secretary and Treasurer of the Napier Harmonic Society since its inception. He is a member of the Napier Cathedral Choir, was for some years connected with the Frivolity Minstrels, and other local musical bodies, and has helped in organising school concerts in the neighbouring
Bunting, photo.Mr. G. C. Fletcher.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. G. C. Fletcher.

page 361 country districts. Mr. Fletcher was born in London, England, in November, 1874, and at an early age came to New Zealand with his parents. After receiving a public school education at Papanui, Christchurch, where his father had entered business, he was apprenticed to the boot-making trade, and later on was employed by Mr. J. Bishop, of Kaiapoi. Subsequently Mr. Bishop bought the City Boot Palace, at Napier, and Mr. Fletcher was appointed head shopman. Some years later the establishment was acquired by Messrs Skelton, Frostick and Company, of Christchurch, and since that date Mr. Fletcher has occupied the position of manager. He is a member of the Greenmeadows Bowling Club, which he represented at the Wellington Tournament in January, 1906; and for some years was a member of the Union Rowing Club.

Music Teachers.

Hoben, Sydney Francis, Teacher of Music, Napier. Mr. Hoben was born in Sydney, Australia, in the year 1866, and came to New Zealand as a child. After appearing as a juvenile phenomenon, and going on tour, he finally went to the Royal Conservatorium of Leipsic. There he appeared at the “Abends” within three months of his arrival—an unprecedented thing for a new pupil. He had as masters in pianoforte vortrag, Dr. Carl Reinecke; for technique, Professor Zwintscher; for theory, Professor Gustav Schreck; and for voice production, violin, languages, etc., other eminent members of the professorial staff. After his return to New Zealand he settled in Napier, where he is engaged in teaching his profession.

Lehmann, Ernest Clemens, Teacher of Violin, 'Cello, and Singing, Tennyson Street, Napier. Herr Lehmann was born at Wilsdruff, Saxony, in November, 1865, and comes of a musical family, his father being a professional musician, and his brother the director of the Heidelberg Orchestral Society. He was educated at his native place, where he also took his first lessons in music. Herr Lehmann then studied for five years at Leipzig, at which place he was subsequently conductor of the Crystal Palace Orchestra. For two years afterwards he studied at Frankfurt, and after having completed his professional training, accepted an appointment as conductor of the Kur-orchestra at Selisberg, Switzerland. In the year 1895 he came to Australia with a concert company, and soon afterwards started as a teacher of music in Adelaide, where for a time he also conducted the German Musical Society. Herr Lehmann settled in New Zealand in 1898, taught his profession in Wellington for six years, and then removed to Napier. In 1901 he married Miss Beatrice Vartha, a well-known pianist of Christchurch.

Bunting, photo.Herr Lehmann.

Bunting, photo.
Herr Lehmann.

Vartha, Miss Beatrice (Mrs. E. C. Lehmann); Pianiste, Tennyson Street, Napier. Miss Vartha is a native of Christchurch, where her father was formerly in charge of the Addington workshops. She commenced the study of music at the age of five years, under Herr Lund, and, later, studied under Herr Hirschburg, of Christchurch. At the age of seven years she played Hummel's concertos, and, three years later, Liszt's concerto, before public audiences. Miss Vartha subsequently taught music on her own account for some years in Christchurch. She afterwards travelled through the colony with Miss Bessie Doyle, Miss Fanny Wentworth, de Konski, the Boston Concert Company, and the Ernest Toy Concert Company, and played in Christchurch for Madame Dolores. Miss Vartha finally settled in Wellington, where she had the distinction of playing before the Duke and Duchess of York, in Parliament Buildings. In 1901 she was married to Herr Lehmann.

Bunting, photo.Miss Vartha.

Bunting, photo.
Miss Vartha.

Toner, T. St. Lawrence, Teacher of Singing and Voice Production, Napier. Mr. Toner was born in the year 1872, in Dublin, Ireland, where his father held a commission in the Royal Irish Constabulary. For some years he was taught by Professor Dowling, M.A., and afterwards went to the French College at Black Rock. At an early age, however, he showed great musical talent, and entered Trinity College to prepare for the musical profession. His first master was Professor Stein, under whom he studied pianoforte music and harmony, and he then took lessons from Professor Monypenny. Mr. Toner subsequently went to London, where he studied for two and a-half years under Signor Negroni, the celebrated pupil of Lamperti. page 362 Shortly afterwards he came to New Zealand, and was appointed private secretary to the Hon. James Carroll, and in this capacity accompanied the Earl of Glasgow on his tour through the Urewera Country. Resigning his private secretaryship, Mr. Toner went to Auckland, where he resided for twelve months, and was a member of the Auckland Liedertafel and Savage Club. In the year 1900 he married Miss Tole, niece of the Hon. J. A. Tole, Crown Solicitor for Auckland, and for two years afterwards travelled in Australia. He finally settled in Sydney, and became choirmaster of St. Mary's Church. While in Australia Mr. Toner received the offer of an engagement from Mr. J. C. Williamson, which he declined on account of his dislike for the stage. In the early part of 1901 he returned to New Zealand, and established himself in Gisborne, where he had as many as sixty pupils; but, in March, 1905, owing to his wife's failing health, he removed to Napier, where he is engaged in teaching his profession.

Bunting, photo.Mr. T. St. L. Toner.

Bunting, photo.
Mr. T. St. L. Toner.


The Napier City Band was originally founded as an Artillery Band, in the early “seventies.” Later it became a Garrison Band, which it remained until the year 1890, when it was re-organised and given its present name. It has had as its successive conductors, Mr. Charles Lound and Mr. George Garry, the latter of whom was succeeded in about 1880 by Mr. Frederick Tankard, the present conductor. The band has a membership of twenty-two, and the instruments include one double B Flat bass, two E Flat basses, one G trombone, two tenor trombones, two baritones, two euphoniums, three E Flat horns, two solo cornets, two repiano cornets, three third cornets, two second cornets, one E Flat cornet, and two drums. For many years the Band practised in Newton's Buildings, at the corner of Hastings Street and Tennyson Street, but in 1902 this building was destroyed by fire, together with a large amount of musical literature and a number of instruments; since that time the Band has met for practice in a room at the rear of Mr. A. E. Eagleton's premises in Hastings Street. The Band is subsidised by the Borough Council to the extent of £25 per annum, and thirteen concerts are given annually, chiefly in the Napier band rotundas. Excellent services have been rendered by the Band on behalf of charitable objects.

Mr. Frederick Tankard, Conductor of the Napier City Band, was born at Halifax, England, in December, 1847. In the year 1858 he came to New Zealand with his parents, in the ship “Zealandia,” and landed at Lyttelton. For some years he resided at Papanui, where he learned the trade of a blacksmith and wheelwright, and then went with his father to Amberley, and worked for him for about six years. Mr. Tankard subsequently was a journeyman blacksmith in Christchurch, for Messrs Cobb and Company, and afterwards for Mr. A. G. Howland. Later on, he established a smithy on his own account in St. Asaph Street, Christ-church, and in 1878 removed to Napier, where he was employed for ten years as a journeyman by Mr. Joseph Parker. Mr. Tankard then started in business, which he has since successfully conducted in Tennyson Street. He has been a member of the Napier Lodge of Druids for many years, and has passed through all the Chairs.

Music Dealers.

Lockyer, Frank H., Piano and General Music Dealer, Turner and Repairer, Browning Street, Napier. This business was established in the year 1901, by the present proprietor, who is agent for Messrs Charles Begg and Company, Limited, Dunedin. Mr. Lockyer is further referred to as secretary and treasurer of the Napier Orchestral Society.