Anglican church music in Canterbury 1850-1900 (1973)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsBornet, Christopher Philip Priorshow all
Speaking to members of the Lyttelton Colonists’ Society in 1851, John Robert Godley outlined the fortunes of the Canterbury Association, both in London where it originated, and in New Zealand. It had, he noted, followed a pattern typical of many other groups whose idealistic aims were insufficient to keep the formal body from collapse. And although his remarks were concerned specifically with political and economic development, they are so pertinent to the history of local Anglican choirs over the first half century of settlement that they merit quoting in full.
Amateur organisations, often admirably conducted at first, under pressure of that enthusiasm which gives rise to great undertakings, almost invariably tend to fall off rapidly. The enterprise which at first presented only abstractions becomes complicated with obstacles, difficulties and discontents. Then follow weariness and neglect on the part of those who conduct it and the affair comes to be more and more left to the exclusive management of the paid officials, whose nominal functions are strictly subordinated and who have in fact the pecuniary interest which it was the principle of the Association to be free from.
Thus Godley saw the initial dreams of visionaries forged into a semi-realised state, only to wither as the realities of the true situation gradually dawned. Excitement wanes and despair takes over until a new idea seizes the people's imagination and the cycle begins anew. Only too often it is the partially fulfilled state that emerges as the climax.