SOUVENIR-CHARTERS TOWERS, 1872 to JULY, 1950
voiceless, bedraggled and were met with tables laid and a hearty
reception. Seven a.m, saw the party perched on the fence of Tobey
Martin's old school before drifting away to home and dreamland and a
week of recovery. The carol party mentioned above consisted of J. D.
Knipe, R. Hall, Fred Broomhead, George Joyce, Frank Maskell, Harry
Taylor, Woodfield, Herbert Hall, Nicholas Peacock, William Toy,
Dick Hand, Dick Millett, George Lear and two others.
Mr, Will M. Jones arrived from Gympie in 1898 to take charge of
the Apollo Orchestra. When Arthur King left the following year a Choral
Society had been started and Mr. Jones took the baton. He piloted the
society through a large portion of the "Elijah," and on May 2, 1900,
conducted them in Sterndale Bennett's "May Queen," leading roles
being taken by Misses Rita Olsen (Mrs. Knipe), C. Fardon (Mrs. Creagh),
Mr. Angel and Mr. Geo. Gray. The society also gave a miscellaneous
concert then disbanded" and Mr. Jones became associated with St.
Columba's choir and works of the greatest masters, well prepared, were
heard at that church.
Then commenced Richard Hall's conductorship of our
choir, the Leidertafel (which during
World War I. changed its German name to the Curlews) which lasted
unbroken for 33 years until his death. The highlight of his career was
when he took his choir to Bundaberg in 1912, and was only beaten by one
point by the best in the south.
Later A. W. Trembath came into prominence, first as competitive choir
master and then as band conductor, doing big things in both
Dick Hall's father conducted the Leidertafel orchestra for many years
with Miss Flo Hall as pianist. Then Dick took over, and in his busiest
musical days was conducting the male choir, orchestra and the
mixed voice competitive choir.
The greatest conductor among the Welshmen was John Parry who led the
Leonta choir in many a keen contest.
Frank Millett has the unique distinction of having conducted "A"
grade competitive choirs in Charters Towers, Townsville and Cairns.
Still later Sholto Jones, son of Will M. Jones, and brother of Jack
Jones (of whose solid work for eisteddfodau all are aware) came to the
fore in Townsville with a remarkably fine choir. He has been
transferred to Brisbane and the baton is now in the hands of yet
another Towersite, Ray Penprase.
The best known and most popular of our native born pianists was
Nicholas Robins. He possessed a remarkable memory and in the old
"silent" days used, to play full programmes-popular or classical
without reference to a sheet of music. He later moved to Sydney.
Another very musical family was the Clarks, of the Crown Hotel. John
Clark, the father, was a flautist. Emily Clark (Mrs. F. O. Steel) a
harpist, and Mabel Clark, a talented violinist.
The Jenkin Lewis family were also keenly interested in music." Miss
Rene Lewis, trained by Madame Christian, of Sydney, was popular as a
vocalist, and also as a voice trainer, one of
her pupils, Thelma Whybird; being a very successful Eisteddfod
Probably our greatest local burnt cork artist was Tom Rich, possessing
an expressive voice and equally expressive face, he invariably
brought down the house in such songs as "It was only a beautiful
sausage" and "Don't make those goo-goo eyes at me."
Later he took to straight singing and won in Eisteddfod competition.
The formation of the Philharmonic Society by Mr. Lou Gray, the kell
known band conductor was another musical milestone. As with his band,
he insisted on purity and quality of tone and balance and their first
concert is still fresh in memory. When Mr. Gray left, Mr. Les Jacobs,
of Thornburgh College, took over the choir and for the past eight years
or so, Mr. Fred Friemann has wielded the baton.