Kōrero: Arts festivals

Performers at the first musical festival, 1888

Performers at the first musical festival, 1888

The colony's first musical festival was held in November and December 1888 in Wellington. An audience of 200 filled the Garrison Hall on opening night to listen to a programme which included Mendelssohn's Elijah. The chorus numbered 150 singers and the orchestra had 50 players. This photograph shows the chorus, orchestra and vocalists on stage. Sopranos Miss Spensley and Mrs Westmacott and bass (later baritone) John Prouse are in the front row. Prouse went on to make the first commercial musical recording by a New Zealander in 1905. The musical festival was deemed a great success and was repeated in 1894 and 1903. 

Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi

Alexander Turnbull Library, E. C. Cachemaille Collection
Reference: PAColl-3351-2
Photograph by Connolly & Hermann

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Marguerite Hill, 'Arts festivals - Beginnings of festivals in New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/45211/performers-at-the-first-musical-festival-1888 (accessed 20 January 2022)

He kōrero nā Marguerite Hill, i tāngia i te 22 Oct 2014, updated 1 Aug 2016