Montreal Daily Star, 31 October 1896, page 9
Last night’s the best ever given by the Caledonian Society
Those who were fortunate enough to attend the Hallowe’en concert given in the Windsor Hall last evening under the auspices of the Caledonian Society of Montreal, enjoyed a rare treat of song and humor. The concert was the best that the Society has yet given, and the excellence of the talent engaged was an agreeable surprise to the hundreds who were present.
It was shortly after eight o’clock when the skirt o’ the pipes announced the entrance of the officers of the Caledonian Society, headed by the president, Mr SS Bain, and the united guests of the evening. These included the presidents of the St George’s and the St Andrew’s Societies, and a representative of the St Patrick’s Society. Among others on the platform were the Rev. WR Cruikshanks, Rev Dr Robert Campbell, Rev John Nichols, Lt-Col Strathy, ADC, Lt-Col Stevenson, Major Lydon, Messrs James Harper, Ewan McLennan, James Moffatt, GW Cunningham, JM Campbell, and other prominent Scotchmen.
Through the kindness of Sir Donald Smith, each person on entering the hall was presented with a sprig of heather, which had been grown on his estate at Glencoe, in the Highlands of Scotland.
The violin numbers of Mr Cathcart Wallace, consisting chiefly of variations on well-known Scottish airs, were greatly appreciated. Miss Mabel Barker is the possessor of a sweet and clear soprano voice, which was shown off to good advantage in her two numbers. “The Scottish Bluebells” and “Will ye no’ come back again.” This latter selection was especially pleasing. Miss Ella Walker, who is an established favorite with Montreal audiences, was given a flattering reception last evening. She was in splendid voice and gave a magnificent rendering of “Cam’ ye by Athol.” For her second number she sang “Dainty Davie” in such a winsome and captivating manner that the audience insisted on a double encore. Scotch dancing is what a Scotchman loves, and this feature of the evening’s entertainment was provided by Masters James and Murdoch Matheson, sons of Pipe-Major Matheson, of the Royal Scots. The sword dance of Master James met with the especial approbation of those present.
Of the outside talent, it may be said that the aggregation was an excellent one. The part songs of the Verdi Quartette of Boston, composed of Messrs George F Martin, Philip Greeley, James W Calderwood, and Fred Butler, were given in a finished and effective style, the voices of the principals blending together in a charming and delightful manner. Mr Butler, the basso; Mr Calderwood, the baritone, and Messrs Martin and Greeley first and second tenors, were also heard in solos. It is seldom that Montreal audiences have had the privilege of listening to a better tenor than Mr Martin. He possesses a remarkably high and pure voice, which he uses with great judgement and expression. Mr Calderwood’s “My Nanna’s Awa’,” was full of pathos and feeling.
Miss Rebecca McKenzie, of Duluth, has a rich and powerful soprano voice, the excellent qualities of which were well brought out in her first and second numbers. “Within a Mile o’ Edinboro Toun,” and “Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonnie Doon.” Mr CH Govan, of New York, was the humorist of the evening, and aching ribs speak more eloquently than words this morning of the success he achieved last evening. From the moment he made his entrance on the platform until his exit, he had the stoic Scotchmen laughing as if their sides would burst. He was simply immense in his delineation of Scotch character, and is by far the best humorist which has visited Montreal for many years past. We hope to see him again in our midst very shortly.
At the conclusion of the programme the concert was brought to a close with a verse of “Auld Lang Syne” and the National anthem.