7 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

and the Revd. F. Pember

and the Revd. F. Pember read two or three scenes from “As You Like It”. Apparently his style was excellent, and the clarity and emphasis were such as had not before been heard in the colony, another example of the exaggerated praise sometimes expressed by the local correspondent! On the other hand, the same correspondent could damn with faint praise as when he commented that one entertainer was applauded because the love story presented was one which everyone could understand. 12 Choirs From the earliest times there was occasional mention in the newspapers of a choir performing at some function in Lincoln and from the context it was sometimes obvious that it was a church choir. All churches apparently had a choir, and these sometimes sang away as the Presbyterian Church choir did at the opening of the Baptist Chapel. A Lincoln Choral Society was formed in September 1887 13 at a meeting chaired by Dr. Westenra and during which a provisional committee, including Mrs. O’Callaghan, Miss Blythen, Dr. Westenra and Mr.M’Nae, was elected. The first practice was held a week later under the control of Mr. Gillies and the numbers attending augured well for its future, despite the shortage of tenors! Their first concert, performed in the town hall (the former Perthshire Arms hotel) about six months later, was well 53. The Choral Society Concert Programme 150

eceived. Of the soloists, Mrs. Westenra, Mrs. O’Callaghan and Mr. Crawford were commended for their performances as were Miss Crawford and Mr. Gillies for their piano duet. Mrs. Haughton acted as accompanist for the singers and contributed significantly to the success of the evening. 14 The second concert a year later, again in the town hall, included solos, glees, quartets, part songs and comic songs, and according to newspaper reports were performed at such a high standard that other groups could well be envious of the skills displayed. Well known residents who contributed to the success of this second concert with their solo performances included Mrs. Westenra, Mrs. Howell, and Mrs. O’Callaghan, who were ably supported by Mrs. Haughton, the accompanist. The director for the evening again was Mr. Gillies. Unfortunately, nothing more is known of the society although choirs have been part of Lincoln life ever since the village was founded. Balls In some instances a concert or a dinner was followed by a ball at which the participants danced “the night away”. Dancing was not often mentioned in reported social activity, although when the old Perthshire Arms hotel was opened as the Lincoln Town Hall the occasion was celebrated with a concert and dance, and New Year’s sports meetings often ended with a ball. Balls and dancing were probably practised more frequently than one might suppose, for dancing classes were held in the schoolroom and, as noted earlier, the outrageous action of the teacher drew public attention to the fact. Chess and Draughts Besides the above mentioned forms of social activity there were others which one can only guess at, except for the occasional clue when an event was considered worthy of public notice. Thus, cards, chess and draughts would have been popular in the home and the last two were certainly encouraged by the Farmers’ Club who provided members with a reading room and appropriate papers and magazines in the belief that these “and other innocent amusements...were preferable to playing euchre in a bar room”. 16 A chess and draughts club was formed on Tuesday 9 May 1883, and the secretary, Charles Loones, reported that the library committee had agreed to allow the new club use of their room at a rental of ten shillings a month. The annual subscription was fixed at five shillings and the 151

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