Who, among our older generation, and perhaps some who are not so old, fail to remember with a sense of nostalgia, the days of Community Singing, which was held in the halls throughout Victoria?
This form of entertainment was made so very popular during the 1930’s by Radio Entertainer, Mr. Charlie Vaude, and it was soon being organized by local groups, both in Melbourne and in Country Districts.
We are indebted to Mrs. Carmel Finn, of Coolangatta, Queensland, for the following history of Community Singing in Glen Huntly. Her mother Mrs Nina Finn was President of Committee and Conductor of the Glen Huntly Community Singers.
The Glen Huntly Community Singers held their weekly Community Singing programme in the Public Hall, (now demolished) which was on the corner of Royal and Rosedale Avenues, Glen Huntly, originally to raise money to purchase food parcels for the Australian Troops.
The Community Singing Group commenced during late 1938 and was conducted by Mr. Doug Elliott until 1940 when he left to join a Melbourne Radio Station. After the resignation of Mr. Elliott, a committee of local ladies continued to organize and conduct the Community Singing, which proved to be extremely popular, both with residents and visitors.
During the War Years (1939-1945) the Committee of local ladies and Patrons worked tirelessly for the war effort, raising money to send food parcels and goods to Australian Troops, both here and overseas.
Post-War, the Glen Huntly Singers continued to raise money for many local charities, and they were supported by most of the local traders, who donated weekly prizes, which enabled all proceeds to be given to those in the community who were in need of assistance.
The words of the songs were projected on to a screen, which was erected on the stage, and the music was played by a regular pianist, who usually knew all the old songs, without referring to the sheet music. The words and music and the singing of the audience, were co-ordinate by Mrs. Nina Finn, who conducted the singers during the time the Group was operating (1938-1970). Well known Guest Artists were engaged, including Stage and Radio Personalities, who gave their services without charge.
Some of the original Committee Members of the Glen Huntly Community Singers were: – Nina Finn, Beatrice Cohen, Lorna Tattersal, Ruby Farmer, Lottie Eagle Ruby Lang-McGowan, “Tiny” Mann, Olive Mathewson, Thelma Pearce.
The Community Singing Group entered into several competitions, winning Silver Cups on 25th October 1938 and again at the Assembly Hall Contest on 23rd February 1948.
We are indebted to the family of Mrs Nina Finn, for their generous donation of these cups to the Caulfield Historical Society. They are sincerely appreciated.
Written for the Caulfield Historical Newsletter in April, 1988. By Mrs Carmel Finn