Friday, October 31, 2008

Amateur Minstrel Performance at the Whau -- 1867

From the Southern Cross, 18 March 1867, written by "A Correspondent".

On Friday last there was some excitement in our usually very quiet village. A number of young men, who have formed a music class here, provided an evening's entertainment for the settlers, for which invitations were issued to the residents generally. A tent was erected near the church, and decorated externally with the national flag. Within the tent, evergreens, peculiar to the colony, were very tastefully arranged, and varied with dahlias and other flowers. The Union Jack formed the background of the platform, while a little in front the neat banner of the Whau Amateur Minstrels was displayed. The tent was brilliantly lighted by three chandeliers.

There were about three hundred ladies and gentlemen assembled, and, amongst them, we observed some of the good citizens of Auckland. Exactly at half-pa«t 7, the amateur minstrels appeared on the platform, in character, and opened with "Negro selections" by the company. The opening chorus, "Happy are we," was well rendered by Mr. Barraclough; "The Old Folks are gone," by Mr. Bell. "Ring, ring the Banjo," was sustained with admirable spirit by Mr. Cooke. "Away to Dixey" was given by Mr. Gittos, whose voice wanted strength and compass for the solo. "Carry me 'long" was given, with very considerable taste, by Mr. Barraclough. "The Whau" was sung by Mr. Holloway; "Ladies, won't you marry?" by Mr. Bell; "The Little Log Hut,"- by Mr. Cooke; and "Negro Quadrilles," by the company, closed the first part.

An interval of ten minutes here ensued, after which the second part was opened with the country dance "Triumph". The song, "Nelly was a Lady" was sung with great pathos by Mr. Barraolough; "Ellen Bayne," by Mr. Bell; "Bob Bidley," by Mr. Bacon. The humorous song of "The Hat and Feather," was well rendered by Mr. Cooke; "Gone are the days," by Mr. Barraclough; " Massa's in the cold ground", Mr. Gittos; "Cornelia Cob," Mr. Holloway. "Not to be sneezed at," was very effectively rendered by Mr. Bell; and " The Hen Convention," by Mr. Barraclough.

The entertainment was terminated by the singing of the National Anthem, in which the audience joined. The choruses were rendered with excellent effect. The following were the instrumentalists:— Violin and conductor, Mr. Barralough; concertinas, Messers Holloway and Walker; banjo, Mr. Bell; tambourine, Mr. Gittos; Broder Bones, Mr. Cooke; triangle, Mr. Bacon. Mr. Henderson supplied the refreshments.

On the whole the entertainment reflected great credit on the taste, liberality, and public spirit of the Whau amateur minstrels, and, at the conclusion, Dr. Aickin called for three cheers for these gentlemen, which was responded to until the welkin rang again.

It was announced, before the departure of the audience, that another entertainment would shortly be given, for admission, to which a charge would be made, for the purpose of contributing toward the erection of a public hall which is much wanted in the district.

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