School of Arts

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Somewhat of a novelty was witnessed at Woodville School of Arts on Tuesday night, on which occasion a number of young people joined in giving a concert in aid of the funds of the Woodville Sunday School Library. 

The majority of the performers were from Maitland, but several local children gave very material assistance, and contributed by no means the least successful numbers of the programme. There was a very fair attendance, but the hall would easily have held more visitors. Still, we think the object of the entertainment was considerably benefited. 

The programme opened with a pianoforte solo by Katie Graham, "The Harmonious Blacksmith," which exhibited the player's very nice touch, and gave token both of careful tuition and careful study. Four young ladies of Woodville sang very pleasingly "We shall meet all the little ones there" - a solo and chorus in quartette, each singer taking a verse in turn. 

All the performers acquitted themselves so well that we can scarcely award the palm. But we think most people will agree that little Miss Sharkey sang admirably. The solo "Scenes that are brightest," by Beatrice Griffiths, was marred slightly by the singer's evident trepidation, which did not allow her to do justice to her pure and sweet voice. Muriel Griffiths and Victor Cohen caused great amusement by a lively performance of the duet "Very Suspicious" the little girl being conspicuously vivacious and intelligent.

 Florrie Pearse deserves high praise for her nice rendering of "Tired ;" and the young gentleman Master Flynn, who recited "The principle put to the test," had evidently taken pains to understand what he was reciting, and made his hearers understand and enjoy it too. A very juvenile sailor, Bessie Griffiths, then sang "The Midshipmite ;" and, if the audience were pleased, so also was the singer, who was radiant with the fun of wearing boy's clothes and of singing in public. 

A pretty duet "Whispering Hope," by Beatrice Griffiths and Herbert Button, was fairly rendered, but nervousness affected both performers, and as a selection for children the piece was somewhat ill chosen. A solo and a chorus "Vanity," by Lillie Norman and company, proved acceptable, but the soloist was rather ill at ease in her unaccustomed situation. The solo and chorus "Sweet Chiming Bells," Mabel Caroll being the soloist, followed. Little Meryn Button recited "Modern Logic" accurately and clearly, and his brother Herbert played a violin solo with success. 

Beatrice Griffiths' pianoforte solo "La Cavalcade" did credit alike to herself and to her teacher, Miss Cobcroft, and was indeed a very fine performance for so young a player. The solo and chorus "Won't you buy my pretty flowers" followed, Ethel and Nellie Orroll being the soloists. This was a pleasant rendering, the little leaders singing very sweetly. 

A coloured gentleman, Master P. Wynn, sang with a nice voice "I Hear the Banjo Play," and young Flynn followed with the recitation "Hodge and the Vicar" and improved the good impression he had already made. Bessie Griffiths, whose habillements had in the meantime been changed for those of a bride . . .sang that doleful ditty from Pinafore, "Sorry her lot ;" only she seemed rippling over with merriment as before and her evident glee made people laugh no less than her pretty little performance.

In singing "Bring back the old folks" Amy Munday gave token of the possession of a nice voice, and sufficient self confidence, but she several times stumbled over the words for some reason. Herbert and Mervyn Button joined in a creditable performance of a pianoforte duet, "Osborne Quadrilles," and a solo was then nicely sung by Clara Skinner, "In her little bed we laid her." Then came the most marked solo of the evening, Muriel Griffiths' "Barney O'Hea" into the spirit of which the young comedian entered with perfect comprehension, and disappointed the audience by merely bowing when they demanded a repetition.

Alice Sharkey followed with a sweetly pretty rendering of "Birdie Blossom." Lillie Neman's "Wishing Cap," might have been an equal success, if the vagaries of Norman Cohen, who was a most obtrusive and comical nigger all the evening, had not caused the pretty young singer and her accompanist to forget the serious business of the minute in uncontrollable laughter. 

Beatrice Griffiths,  by this time obtained a fair amount of confidence, sang "Ehren on the Rhine," with good effect, and "Auld Lang Syne" and the National Anthem brought a long and varied programme to a happy conclusion after Mr. B. Long had expressed a few appropriate words of thanks. 

Most of the performers were attired in fancy dress, and whether grouped on the platform, or appearing singly, presented a very picturesque aspect. They were entertained at supper after the concert, and then, with some of the older visitors, indulged for a little while in the whirling dance. 

A cool, well moonlit night made the drive home a huge delight.

Juvenile Concert at Woodville.

Maitland Mercury, Thursday 14 February 1884, p4.