Through the years...

History - 1968

Written on June 4, 2012

The year began with the fifth and last of the Federation's massive weekend schools, this time in Wanganui where some 130 people were involved. Within the obvious limitations of any weekend school, the occasion was a resounding success, but at the ensuing AGM in March there was some evidence of a demand for more hard work and less social activity.

This was to lead, in 1969, to an ambitious programme of more specialised schools and, in 1970, to the total disappearance of schools and seminars from the Federation's programme.

A happier feature of the 1968 AGM was the presence by special invitation of Eva Moore, Doyen of NZ Musical Comedy producers, and her election as the Federation's second Vice Patron.

In September ill-health forced Douglas Dyer to resign from the Executive and from the management of the library which had become a unique collection of 330 scores, 240 scripts and some 50 text books. His contribution had been an exceptional one.

The vacancy on the Executive was filled by Les Goatham while the library moved for a time to Margaret O'Sullivan in Wellington and thence (in 1969) to Christchurch where Murray Marshall was to take up the burden with great zeal and efficiency.

The new and greatly improved "Spotlight" suffered a setback when pressure of other commitments led to Duncan McPhee's resignation. Fortunately a Masterton journalist, Guy Ramsden was willing to help, and the publication carried on under the joint editorship of Ramsden and the resourceful Donald Thompson.

An increase from $1,500 to $3,000 in the Art's Council grant enabled the Executive not only to plan a series of training schools but to re-examine a number of projects which had been put aside.

Vigorous efforts were made to find a sponsor for the proposed contest for the writing and composition of a NZ musical, while a proposed programme competition for 1969 (first mooted by Stanley Campbell) found generous and welcome support from Sovereign Woodworkers Limited of Wanganui through to the good offices of Austin Brasell.

It was however, the first year's operation of the Capital Assistance Fund which provided the great success story of 1968. Bullied and cajoled by a management committee comprising Blennerhassett, Thompson and McSkimming, some 19 societies levied their audiences for contributions to the fund which, by the end of the year, had collected its first $1,000 and approved its first two loans.

Executive - 1968

President Donald Thompson (Masterton)
Vice Presidents Jack McSkimming (Palmerston North) - North Island); Murray Marshall (Christchurch- South Island)
Executive Douglas Dyer (Gisborne - until September); Les Goatham (Dunedin - from October); Jack Hancock (Tokoroa); Jim McKenzie (Hamilton); Jim Saunders (Wanganui); Allan Wood (Invercargill)
Hon Secretary Ella Duddridge
Hon Treasurer Frank Terry
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