Now we are into December, all the various clubs will be having their last meeting of the year. As it was for our Probus Club today. We were entertained by David Dell on his keyboard, who works as a part time police chaplain. This gives him time to pursue his other passion, the collection and archiving of early New Zealand sheet music before it disappears. He is full of knowledge of the history of New Zealand songs, and shared a little of this with us.
David related the story of how our national anthem came into being. The words of “God defend New Zealand” was first published as a poem by Thomas Bracken, the editor of the Saturday Advertiser, a Dunedin newspaper, in 1876. Then a competition was announced - the composer of the best tune for the words would win a prize of 10 guineas. Three musicians from Melbourne were the judges and they unanimously chose the composition of John Joseph Woods, head teacher of a Catholic school at Lawrence, west of Dunedin.
And so the morning progressed. We were entertained by the stories behind some of our best loved Kiwi songs, then got to sing along with each one. Such as the well known rugby song, “On the Ball”. To build up team morale, Ted Secker, captain of the hapless 1887 Manawatu "Unscorables," wrote this for his team to sing while they were travelling to a rep match against Wanganui. It was a great morning, and our vocal cords got quite a work-out.
To finish up the Probus year, about 70 members attended a Christmas lunch at a local restaurant. The meals were delivered to the various tables, and we spotted roast beef, hot ham, roast veggies and greens go whizzing past. As people started tucking in to their meals, we looked around the room and discovered that our table and one beside us had yet to be served, and the meals had stopped coming. Oh dear! Perhaps there was a kitchen malfunction. After waiting, and waiting, the service resumed, the other table was delivered their meals first, and finally, ours arrived with apologies for being late. The food was delicious, as was our Christmas Pudding for dessert.
So that is the end of our Probus meetings for the year. We have met some lovely, friendly people, and had some very interesting speakers. It will all start up again next February.