The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 7, 1919. HARMONY.
It was, we think, a commend-, able idea that the Mayor, on be-' half of the citizens, should form-. : ally recognise the initial concert '* of the Ashburton Glee and Madri-. gal Society on Thursday evening last, by making a brief "official"; speech during the proceedings, because any organisation assisting to develop the musical, liter-, ary or artistic tastes of the community is entitled to be regarded as a social benefactor, especially in a small town which lacks the financial possibilities attracting many touring professionals. A public body has as much right to Hubsidi.se a choral, or any similar, society as il; lias to vote grants to bands, and wo can see no real objections to the distribution oi'such •intmtioiiH being judiciously ex-' tended. No coin.niunity can have a li-'siltby mind which neglects the
fine arts, and without such culture, the daily materialistic round is' apt to become burdensome. Local apathy regarding the encouragement of good music, indifference to the best writers, and a lack of artistic taste-forming influences generally, are mainly responsible % for the complaint frequently raised that life in places outside the large cities is dull. Much of this boredom could be relieved if the inhabitants of the small towns endeavoured to help themselves. Finance is usually an obstacle, but enthusiasm can remove many difficulties. Often the financial side of the ventures is not the greatest bar to success, because it is not always that sweet reasonableness accompanies an excellent voice, or a gifted pencil. The peculiar "atmosphere" which gathers around artists, vocal or manual, seems to encourage the growth of a sensitive jealousy, and the delight an audience may find in ' excellent singing, for instance, is often marred by the airs assumed by the acknowledged gifted. Many an organisation, too, which started with bright prospects, has been "killed by kindness," owing to the excessive
adulation showered upon the members by indiscriminating admirers. Healthy constructive criticism should be sought rather than cloying approval of every effort; the singer, the actor, or the painter, has the privilege of criticising the criticism, remembering to be fair to the critic, as they expect justice from him. A critic fails in his first duty if he allows his head to be disproportionately swayed by his heart. Praise from one who never censures has little -value. It is under-
standable why professionals resent any statements deprecating their merits, because their future earnings may be affected, but amateurs, unless mere vanity and not love of the particular art, is their guiding principle, should rise superior to such resentment. We have- however, wandered from our object, which was to endorse the Mayor's "blessing" on the Glee Society. It was stated that the Society was handicapped by lack of male voices. Can this deficiency be removed by amalgamation or co-operation w-ith other musical organisations in (Ashburton? It is preferable from the town's music-lovers' standpoint—, and their desire should be the ruling factor—to have one- efficient society than two or three struggling combinations. Such a society would be able to give con- /
certs more frequently in town and country. "More harmony!'' should be the slogan of both singers and audiences.