Montreal Daily Star, 3 November 1886, page 3
The Caledonian Concert
A most successful entertainment in the Queen’s Hall- A Select programme of music and speeches by Hon. Mr. Thompson and others.
The thirty-first annual concert of the Montreal Caledonian Society in celebration of the time honored season of Hallowe’en was held last night in the Queen’s Hall which was filled to the doors with an audience which applauded every number of the excellent programme which had been prepared. As usual at these concerts an air of friendship seemed to pervade the entire assembly and make all present feel thoroughly at home. Shortly after eight o’clock the Society’s piper, Mr William Greig, marched on to the platform, playing a lively air, and was followed by the President, Col Stevenson (in Highland costume), Mayor Beaugrand, the representatives of the sister societies and a large gathering of invited guests, among whom were noticed Messrs MH Gault, MP; JJ Curran, MP; Villeneuve, MPP; John S Hall, MPP; Mayor Fell of Victoria, BC; US Consul-General Anderson; Redlere of St. George’s Society; -Thomas, of the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society; Donald Macmaster, QC, MP; RD McGibbon; R Dagleish; James Wright; Andrew Robertson; Rev. Canon Ellegood; Rev. Robert Campbell; Rev. Mr Jordan and a number of ladies. Several of the Caledonian Society’s officers occupied seats on the platform. The President Col. Stevenson, opened the entertainment with a short speech in which he welcomed those present and assured them of the desire of the society to cater for their amusement in the best manner possible. He referred to the deaths of several noted Scottish vocalists and in particular of Mr. Kennedy, the sweet singer who so often delighted Montrealers. He also spoke with regret the absence of the Rev. Dr. Stevenson, who was attending a final meeting of the members of his congregation. The Colonel remarked that he had personal reasons to regret the reverend gentleman’s departure from the city, owing to the fact of their being namesakes, but added that Rev Dr Stevenson would be a Stevenson wherever he was and would
Do Credit to his Name.
The first song given was “McGregor’s Gathering,” by Mr JL Johnston, who also sang “Mary of Argyle” and “Scotland Yet.” Mr Johnston has a pure tenor voice, of full compass and much sweetness, which he keeps well under control. His style is finished, and he was warmly-applauded. Miss Florence Forbes followed with “O Whistle and I’ll Come tae ye, my lad,” and responded to a recall with “Bonnie Prince Charlie” with a ~~~ and sweetness of intonation and expression which fairly captivated her hearers. She has a soprano voice of richness and power, which was heard to great advantage. She also gave “Doun the Burn Davie lad” and “Caller Herrin”. Mr JJ Dawson, tenor, of this city, sang “Maid o’ the mill,” “O Nannie, wit thou gang wi’ me” and “Kathleen Mavoureen.” The first, however, was his best effort. Mr Cathcart Wallace, the Scotch violinist, is a new arrival here, having come out from the Land o’ Cakes only a short time since. His style is good and his execution faithful and correct. He performed Mayseder’s German air in F with variations, and “Recollections of Scotland” in a masterly manner. Mr. William MacLennan, the champion Scotch dancer, gave a Highland Fling (and on being recalled, a Chantrews), Bucalossi’s waltz “Mia Cara” and “Parazoti”, for which he attired himself in a peculiarly fancy dress, described in the programme as “French costume,” a sailor’s hornpipe and also selections on the hairpipes. Mrs T Charles Watson, who is ever a favorite with Montreal audiences, gave the recitations, “Cuddie Doon,” “Story told by an Engineer,” and to a recall, a “Description of a steeplechase.” It is needless to add any praise to this charming lady’s many enthusiastic tributes, as to do so would be like an attempt to paint the lily. Miss Seymour, a Montreal contralto, sang “Bonnie Sweet Bessie” and “Land o’ the Lead,” in a very pleasant manner. A feature of the evening was a Scotch Reel and Highland Fling, by the little ones, Jessie and Wm Milne and Frank and W Stewart. Mr. Herbert Patton acted as accompanist.
The event of the evening was, of course, the address by the Hon Mr Thompson, Minister of Justice, who was introduced by the Chairman.
Hon Mr Thompson
The Hon JSD Thompson, Minister of Justice, made a most eloquent speech which was warmly applauded by those present. In referring to the old Hallowe’en legend of spirits roaming about under the influence of a spell, he said that the President had exercised a spell upon him and brought him from Nova Scotia to address them. He said: “I will ~~~ my remarks to two points, first to deliver a message, and secondly to say a few words of humble advice. I come to you with a message of kindness and Scotch fellowship from 150,000 brethren in Nova Scotia whose hearts are warmly beating for their countrymen here and all through our great Dominion.” The Hon gentlemen then spoke of the enthusiasm that pervaded the Province with regard to Scottish character and traditions, the language, poetry and legends of “Auld Scotia” still being faithfully adhered to and venerated by the people.
He then spoke of the benefits derived from membership in the Caledonian and other kindred societies, the English and Irish societies of Canada. “They have fostered among our people the love of home, the love of kindred, and the love of all that is bright and ~~~~ in the literature of the land of our fathers. (Applause) But they have done more than that. They have developed brotherly love and brotherly charity wherever they have been organised. I am sure it is with you in Montreal as is with us in Nova Scotia that these national societies enable the Englishman to help his brother Englishman, the Irishman to extend the helping hand to his fellow countryman in need, and the Scotchman to greet with warm heart and outstretched hand his brother Scotchman, aye, and that even the stranger who is not our countryman, is the brother of all.”
He quoted Burns’ remark “that the greatest of all the Divine attributes is to take away the tears from all ~~~” and warmly commended the societies for endeavouring to follow in the same steps. This advice and suggestions which the learned gentleman gave to his audience were to the effect that as the societies grew in strength in the large cities they should extend their influence all over the country and establish branch organisations in every suitable locality. He warmly advocated a federation of the kindred societies so that they would be united in the grand work of doing good and uniting the brethren in one bond of loving fellowship all over the Dominion.
Mayor Beaugrand, Mayor Fell and Consul-General Anderson expressed their pleasure at being present and cordially wished success to the Society. “Auld Lang Syne” was then rendered in the way that only Scotchmen are capable of and the National Anthem brought to a conclusion one of the most successful gatherings the society had held.