'to Mr Geddes for the interest and hard work he put
into the productions, it was Mr Geddes' keen interest and enthusiasm
that enabled the Society to function again' Of David Geddes time
in the Society, short as it was, it would be fair to say that
his input was a vital part of the Society's rejuvenation and his
importance in this respect must not be underestimated.
1970 was to prove a "watershed" year. The Society had raised itself from the depths of near oblivion suffered 10 years earlier to become a viable, confident organisation with great expectations of a bright and satisfying future.
THE SEVENTIES: Era of Expansion
The programme was very innovative consisting of a musical melodrama,
a pot pourri of numbers from "Showboat" loosely put
together to tell the story, a short one act comedy and a highly
polished interpretation of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Trial
by Jury", performed in full costume. Over 40 people were
involved. Such a large number sorely tested the capacity of the
small stage to cope.
The talent and expertise of the many newer members
was apparent. Frank Arndt was musical director and composer of
the music used in the melodrama "Whodunit" The one act
play was written by Harry Horne and the overall director was Patrick
Weir. Major singing and acting roles were taken by older members
including Margaret Bettenay, Philip Bettenay, Jock Pettigrew,
Penny Hearne and Patricia Pritchard but many of the big number
of newer members had the opportunity to show off their talents,
among whom were Geoffrey Hammond, Clyde Selby, Barry Demason,
Harry and Shirley Horne and Emile Franz.
A much esteemed member, Jack has had an association with the Society for its entire sixty years. As a young lad of 10 he clearly remembers the occasion when in Mrs. Bowtells store at the bottom of Peet Road, the proposal to form a choral society was moved and acted upon. His mother Lina, became a foundation member After his marriage, and after the war, his wife Mavis became involved in the society and then in 1968, after years of being on the fringe, he joined. During the '70's Jack became president, a position he held for six years. During this time his advice and guidance saw the Society develop into a strong, effective and increasingly professional group with a greatly expanding membership.
The success of the 1970 season was reflected by the
financial return of $178.00, a prodigious amount at that time.
(The admission charge was 6Oc. adults and 2Oc. children). The
confidence and optimism generated by the 1970 season was reflected
in the plans for the next year. The full length musicals, "The
Student Prince" and Oklahoma were both proposed, but in the
end Cinderella was chosen. But the Society still had its problems
and despite the large number of members recruited for the 1970
production, many apparently had departed, for the rehearsals of
"Cinderella" had to be postponed due to lack of cast.
Perhaps the strain and pace was a little too much as two concerts were put on in the middle of the year - one a benefit concert for member Paddy Egan who had met with a severe accident, the other at the Armadale District Hall to raise money for the Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital. Both these concerts were in the vein of a Music Hall presentation. This programme was repeated again apparently to help the A. K. Historical Society raise funds for the History House building appeal.
ran for 3 nights and it was taken to Armadale where the proceeds
raised were given to the Hospital Auxillary. In summary 1971 turned
out to be a very busy year and it established a facet of the Society's
activities which was to become an important characteristic - a
willingness to assist the community in raising money for charity.
Members to join that year were Kim Fletcher, Mary Webb, Tim Etherington
and Joyce and Ken Branston.In 1972 news of the proposal to build a new hall
in Roleystone by the Shire authorities created more than passing
interest. The Society was anxious to know
A tangible link with the founders of the Choral and Dramatic Society still exists within the theatre. Mary Knuckey's grand-daughter and Ted's grand-neice, Lyn Wilkinson has been a member since the late '60s and in the early '70s was part of the executive. Her main, and much appreciated contribution has been as I pianiste for many of the highly I I successful musicals and music halls. Her talent, patience and dedication is well appreciated.