YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION.
The new hall in Tuam street, the largost building oreotod as n place of publio entertainment in Obristchurch, was oponed for general übo last evening, when a truly " monster soiree" was given by tho members of the Young Men's Christian Association, in order to recoup themselves for the loss of their library end furniture destroyed by the late B.eo, and aiao to assist in raising funds for th_ construction of their proposed buildings. Tha appearance of the hall, or rather theatro, the opening of whioh was thus commemorated, is no doubt familiar enough to the majority of our readers, for its imposing front of white and blue Btone baa been a conspicuous objeot in Tuam street for Beveral months past. Ab the building was folly described in these columns — from the plans of tho architect, Mr T. 8. Lambert— at tho time the foundation was laid, it i» need-, less to giva a detailed account now ; suffice it to say that it is substantially constructed of brick and stono, with roof of corrugated iron. The front portion contains a couple of shops on tho ground- -floor, above which are clo»k, card, and smoking rooms. The auditorium will seat 2200 persons, somo 600 of whom oan bo accommodated in the spacious gallery or " oircle " which surrounds three eides of the hall. The means of egress are ample ; wide doors and broad passages are found in all parts of the building, and it may ba noted that every door is mado so as to opon both outwards andinwardß. The stage is large enough for theatrical as well as other purposes, being 4Gft deep and 60ft in width. Behind aro the customary dressing rooms, store room, and other conveniences. Tho whole of tbe structure is well ventilated, and hero it may be noted that last evening, though crowded to nearly its full extent, the temperature of all parts of the auditorium was remarkably even. In the ceiling, which is finished in plaster, are threo domes, . each of which contains a large and handsome gasalior; single lights are also placed around the walls. It moy be remarked that the arrangements for tho lighting, which were oarried out by Mr J. Fleck, gas-fitter, are of a moat complete oharaoter. Tho taps and keys are bo disponed that no ono tampering with tbem could succeed ia plunging the house into darkness, a trick that has been known to have boen attemptod in plaoes of publio assembly ero now. Of course the whole of the lights in the building are oom--1 letely under the control of the person whose duty it is to have charge of it. It may he mentioned that, although the hall was oponed fcr publio use, a considerable amount of work still remains to be done in the way of finishing decorations and fittings, so that any criticism of its capabilities would he premature. It must bo admitted, however, that so far as could be judged last night, there seems little reason to doubt that it will be all that could be desired.
The "monster" entertainment last evening took the form of a publio tea, followed by a serios of epeeohos, interspersed with musio. The ordinary practice of serving the tea r cake, and other edibles on long tables was dispensed witb, and the eatablos-and drinkables were handed round by the members of the Association to the 1600 persons who were present, while tho latter sat in the seats which thoy wero to occupy during tho latter portion of the evening's proceedings. By this moans tho troublo and confusion inseparable from olearing away the tables was avoided. The provisions, with a fow exceptions, were furnished by the members and well-wishers of the Association. The tea began about half • patrt 6 in tbe evening, and was ooncludod shortly after 7, by which hour about 2000 people had assembled in the Hall. The publio meoting was commenced by the performance of tho overture "La Diade me," by the members of the Orchestral Society, under the direotion of Mr B. T. Searell, after which the "Old Hundredth" psalm was sung by the whole assemblage, accompanied by the orchestra. Prayer was then offorod up by the Boy A. Blake.
Mr W. Ohrystall, President of the Association, said that he must apologise for the absence of Sir William Fox, who was expected to have been present in order to addrees the meeting, but who had sent a telegram on the previouß day stating that he much regretted he was unable to como to Christohuroh. Mr Ohrystall then gave a brief aocount of the formation and objects of the Association, whioh he stated had been founded about eight yearß ago, mainly through the instrumentality of Mr Twentyman, who might be regarded as the father of the Sooiety. The success whioh had attended it was also largely due to Messrs Hoywood, Hargreaves, and Purdie. Another gentleman whose name must not be omitted was Mr G. Gould, whomever since tbe formation of the Association, had aided it with munificent liberality. The want of suitable rooms had long been felt by tho members of the Association, and since their premises had been destroyed by a recent fire, they had determined to mako a special effort to obtain a more fitting building. They possessed an eligible site, and had already £800 in hand. An additional sum of £400 wasrequired, audit was hoped that by moans of the present gathering, and from other souroes, that amount would soon be raised. He now had muoh pleasure in calling upon His Worship the Mayor to take the ohair. (Applause.) His Worship the Mayor said that when he had the honour of laying the foundation stone of the fine hall in whioh they were assembled, he did not contemplate having the further honour of presiding at its inauguration. It gave him much pleasure to congratulate the members of the Young Men s Christian Association on having succeeded in getting up the present entertainment, both to inaugurate the hall, and to raise funds for repairing the loss they had lately sustained, to build a hall of their own in whioh to carry on their good work of upholding Ohi&tianity, and seeking the moral welfare of the .community at large. All present would agree that the magnificent new hall was a great acquisition and ornament to the city, consequently he felt it consistent with his official position to congratulate the Direotors of the Company on the successful completion of their spirited undertaking in supplying the long-Celt .want of a place suitable for large gatherings like the present. He trusted their speculation would prove a success. He would also congratulate the architect on his handsome design, and the builder upon tbe manner in which he had oarried that design out. (Applause.) Addresses, urging the advantages offered by the Association and its claims on the support of the community, were delivered by the Beva H. 0. M. Watson, 0. Dallas-ton, B. Best, T. B. Cairns, J. Jasper Bmyth and Mr F.W.lsitt.
The members of tho Orchestral Society performed the overtures "La Sirene" and "Invocation to St Cecilia," and selections from " La Favorita" and " Vestale," in a moat admirable manner, Mr B. T. Searell acting as conductor, and Mr J. Coombes as leader. Mrs 0. M. Gray gave two songs in her uaual excellent style, and waß warmly applauded by the audience.
The National Anthem brought a yery successful gathering to s cpcclusioa.
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YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION., Star, Issue 4750, 21 July 1883
YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. Star, Issue 4750, 21 July 1883
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