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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, 30, 1974 THE LETHBRIDOE HtRALD 5 People of the south By Chris Stewart Southern Alberta's "Mr. THE VOICE OF ONE Dr. Frank S. Morley It's impossible to equate Christmas with commer- jialism after attending a carol estival directed by Arthur Cingsley Putland. The com- monplace selling or buying of ifts to commemorate the :oming of the Christ child appears crude compared with the wonder of the Nativity jortrayed by this great musician. Seated at the con- sole of the memorial organ at 3outhminster United Church ic fills the seat domed-sanctuary with such majestic choral sounds it's ike standing in awe shadowed y the giant Redwoods or marvelling at the colors of a jlazing sunset. To whisper as ic directs such carols as "0 Holy Night" and "0 Come All ife Faithful" would be un- hinkable. It calls for hushed attention and has been thus since this organist, direc- or and composer organized the city's first Rotary spon- sored carol festival 28 years ago. Brides to be, engaging lim for wedding ceremonies, joon learn this Christian musician abhors the "Bridal Chorus" taken from a pagan opera and simply refuses to jlay it. Instead he chooses Beethoven's "Joyful, Joyful" or Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Purce.ll's 'Trumpet Tune" or the "Processional March" by Dr. W. H. Harris, organist of Windsor's St. George's Chapel. He plays as the spirit moves him, he says, always confers with the officiating minister prior to wedding -ehearsals. and if possible, agrees to the bride's suggestions. But should the jrincipal's tastes seem un- suitable he simply plays numbers of his own choice. "After he explained, "a wedding is a sacred ceremony and the music used should be in keeping." Born in Hawkhurst, Kent, England, in 1896, he became known as St. Leonard's "Boy Organist" at age 14 following lis first public organ recital at St. Leonard's on Sea. Following his debut he was in demand for similar perfor- mances in such centres as Tunbridge Wells, Hawkhurst and later London. With a family two manual organ at his disposal, a gifted musical mother (nee Marian Richard- son) and his father (Charles Decimus) joining in family hymn sings, this young English protege of Fraled H. Hallett. (FTCL, ARCO) had a glowing musical start at age eight, even before his father built him foot rests so he could reach the organ pedals. Beginning his training on Mr. Hallet's basement pipe organ and soon graduating to the three manual church console he acted as server, lit the church candles and even pull- ed out organ stops for the great master while observing his movements, expression and interpretation so closely he can still remember his per- formance in minute detail- Emigrating to Canada in 1915. at age 17, and named summer supply organist at Calgary's Knox church, he was organist and choir master at Edmonton's McDougall's Methodist church and a teacher of organ, piano and theory at Alberta College while he attended the Univer- sity of Alberta. He first visited Lethbridge in 1923 as an executive member of the provincial Music Festival Federation and was among the first to give a recital on the war memorial organ in the U of A's Convocation Hall on April 28.1929. After university graduation in 1924 (ex Gover- nor General Roland Michener and Judge L. S. Turcotte were fellow students He completed his MA in 1929) he was named organist and choirmaster of Fort William's Wesley United Church where his successful establishment of the city's first school music program led to his appointment as the school music director from 1930 to 1943 As honorary president of Thunder Bay's Teacher's In- stitute, founder of the Northwestern Ontario Music Festival Association in 1927 and twice adjudicator of the Chicagoland Music Festival (1936 and 1938'. plus his choral performances at Rockefeller chapel at the University of Chicago and with the Eastman Symphony, his reputation as an organist and choir director reached inter- national status by 1934 when his Weslev choir was chosen to represent Canada at Chicago's Century of Progress It was conducting the choir honoring the Fort William visit of King George VI and the Queen Mother in 1938 that highlighted his illustrious career. Carefully selecting and training 150 students from both the public and separate schools he led his massed choir in "Land of Hope ana Glory" when the King and Queen stopped in front of the flag decked grandstand while a hushed crowd looked on. The 85 member Duluth Symphony Orchestra played his composition "Strong in Heart" when he directed the Lakehead choir at the Prince of Wales arena concert that evening. Coverage was given over 70 radio stations and carried throughout the British Empire via short wave. It was both a memorable event for Fort William and Arthur Putland. Thousands of American motorists jamming the city for the colorful royal visit, recognized the famous conductor from his six earlier appearances with his Wesley choir in such American centres as Duluth and Minneapolis. His 1937 cantata "Ode to Canadian Confederation" set to the poem of Sir Charles G. D. Roberts and broadcast over CBC two consecutive years, preceded his 1938 musical spectacular "Rotary's Increasing Pur- pose" commemorating the 25th anniversary of Rotary International, performed in Chicago under his direction. He contributed to and edited the musical anthology, "The Singing Period" still in use in Ontario's schools and compos- ed many church introits and anthems. He studied under the late Dr. Melius Christiansen of St. Olaf's College, Northfield, Minnesota and Canada's most prominent church musician, Dr. Healey Willan of Toronto and sub- stituted summers for Dr. H. A. Fricker organist at Toron- to's Metropolitan United Church. While on summer holiday in 1944 he was invited to play the Wesley church organ with his blushing bride admiring him from the pew within an hour of his Sunday morning wedding to Verna Rogers (alto member of his choir, deceased earlier this year) whom he married quiet- ly in the minister's vestry, just prior to the service. When he accepted the posi- tion of organist and choir- master at Southminster United Church in Sept. 1943 he brought to Lethbridge the same excellent musicianship and community spirit that had distinquished his eastern career. He was named organist emeritus upon his retirement after 30 years a very rare distinction' (there are only four in When his Southminster choir staged the operetta "My Lady Jennifer" in 1952 and two years later the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "MMCS Pinafore" starring Jim Cousins as Captain Stewart and Sir Joseph Porter, respec- tively, there was standing room only. He took his choir to Great Falls" Congregational Church in conjunction with Canadian Days and to Waterton's Prince of Wales Hotel as part of the annual Waterton Glacier international peace park assembly. He directed the first western performance of "Puer Natus" a Christmas pastoral composed by David H. Williams and the United Church pageant "Triumphs of the Faith" a pictorial produc- ed by Toronto's Denzil G. Ridout with music arranged by Sir Ernest MacMillan. Staged at the Sports Centre, it was under the auspices of the South Alberta Presbytery in conjunction with the United rhurch Exposition. There are many like Professor Jim Cousins who credit him with giving them a chance to sing. "I owe a lot to Arthur Putland." said Dr. Cousins, bass member of his Southminster choir. "1 had never had a vocal lesson but he gave me a chance to sing solos and trained me to do it. He encouraged me." When the Lethbridge Junior College opened in September, 1957 he was named to the one man music department, was elected president of the city's Overture Concert Association in I960 and later appointed lecturer in the U of L's music department for which he 'received a special citation when he retired last year. President of the Lethbridge branch. Alberta Registered Music Association and past provincial president fit the Canadian Music Teachers, he is an honorary member of the Royal College of Organists, London (recommended by Sir William McKie, organist and master of choristers at West- minster Abbey) and a Fellow of both Trinity College ot Music (London, England) and the Canadian College of Organists. He is a past TPGM, Scottish Rite, AF and AM, a member of the Ed- monton Consistory of the Scot- tish Rite of Canada; past thrice Puissant Grand Master of Perfection Lodge, a founding member of both the Rose Croix and Perfection Lodge (Lethbridge) and the proud owner of 50 year jewels from both the Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite Masonry. An active Rotarian, whom Dr. Cousins claims wouldn't miss a meeting, even in Istanbul (he had a 48-year perfect attendance record) and a member of Rotary International, he attended the Australia convention in 1970 As president of the city's Inter Faith committee, he would like to see this group reactivated. Engaged now in indepen- dent studies and believing that Bach was more a romanticist than a baroque musician, par- ticulary in his vocal and choral work he would like to see the U of L's music department's staff and programs enlarged. Like so many great artists he is modest, soft spoken and self effacing. Except for constant probing I wouldn't have learn- ed of his contribution to Alberta music circles (his surprise at being interviewed for this article indicates his He has played the Mormon Tabernacle organ at Salt Lake City; given an early morning recital on the French Cavalle organ in Moscow's Tchaikovsky conservatory; played one of the two identical consoles at St. George's Chapel, Windsor and the beautifully crafted organ in Westminster Abbey on the in- vitation of organists Sir William McKie and Dr. Oswald Peasgood (both of whom played for him at Southminster) and has been presented to the Queen twice. But despite hjs broad travels and acclaim he finds his greatest satisfaction right here in Lethbridge, like the thrill he received the evening Metropolitan Opera star Jan Peerce, featured at Southminster, asked him to accompany his pianist Warner Bass. When Mr. Putland (completely unrehearsed) commanded the organ the tenor lifted his glorious voice in "If With All Your Hearts" from Elijah by Mendolssohn. Another great pleasure is directing the annual carol festival, slated this year for December 16, when everyone will 'join in the singing of Christmas music. Arthur Putland believes the glory of music endures in the human soul; that music is praise, prayer and aspiration; that some human needs ex- pressed in melody could never be told in mere words. For in- stance, the shepherd boy with reed pipes who makes sweet, mournful music expressive of his need of protection; the mother holding her baby close who croons a prayer for her child and the youth, starting out in life who sings his prayer of confidence. When U of L music professor Dean Blair dubbed him, "Mr. Music of Southern Alberta" it was evi- dent he knew him well. A.K. Putland Book review Who owns the undersea resources? "The Control of the Sea Bed" by Evan Luard (Heinemann, 298 pages, distributed by This book, written by a former British Labor member of Parliament, deals with the ownership and control of the valuable natural resources that lie in the two thirds of the earth's surface beneath the sea. As mineral and fuel resources on land diminish, as they appear to be at an alarm- ing rate, the problems ex- amined by Evan Luard in The Control of the Sea-Bed become every day more im- portant. The wealth lying beneath the ocean's floor is now technically within man s grasp. Petroleum resources have been snatched from beneath the bed of the Gulf of Mexico for decades. Oil is also flowing from the Santa Bar- bara channel off the Califor- nia coast and the Norwegians are harvesting a bonanza from the depths of the North Sea. Britain hopes within a few months to have producing wells off the east coast of Scotland. Luard gives an interesting account of the historical background and the efforts of governments to formulate legislation to help control such matters as underwater boundaries, the rights of ex- ploration, pollution and military activity in the area The author believes that un- less the nations solve the problems connected with the harvesting of the natural resources lying under the oceans of the world, they may become the main cause of future international conflicts. This book is recommended for those who desire a better background knowledge of the control of underwater natural resources. The problems dis- cussed by Luard are appear- ing more frequently in the dai- ly press. ERNEST MARDON Roman historical novel "The Legate's Daughter" by Wallace Breem (Victor Gollancz Ltd., 286 For anyone who enjoys historical fiction I suggest this book. The setting is Rome in the year 24 B C. The Romans still ruled most of the civilized world The main character is- Curtius Rufus who is a very capable man, able to handle himself in most situations However his drinking and gambling habits keep him from holding a job for any period of time The ex- centunon. who also has his way with women, lives by his wits Curtius 15 suspended from his job at Rome's waterworks after he arts without authori- ty to repair a broken aqueduct He prevents a asler but bis superior who scorns Curtius's way of life doesn't sec it that way and suspend? him Augustus is the emperor in 24 B C and Curtius's ability attracts the attention of Augustus's chief lieutenant. Marcus Agnppa Agrippa commissions Curtius to rescue the niece of a powerful Roman senator who's been kidnapped by pirates The odds of succeeding are almost impossible but Curtius sets off for Africa to try to rescue the legate's daughter. Although the book is a little lacking in exciting parts and the climax is weak the characters are good and Wallace Breem tells a good story set in a fascinating period of history. KEN ROBERTS Books in Brief "The Craftsman's Survival Manual" by George and Nancy Wcttlanfer,