Saturday, September 26, 2009

Malvina Major

Last night we sogged in front of the TV. First up was Planet Earth – the shallow seas. It began with a humpback whale and her just-born calf; he gorging on her milk, she not eating. It ended with the long journey to the polar waters – in this instance, the Bering Strait, whales and sea-birds in a feeding frenzy.

Then it was To Sir With Love, a replay of the variety concert for Sir Howard Morrison. One of the singers was Dame Malvina Major. We had a very engaging evening in her presence a few years ago.

It was at The Wellington Club. When I was Director of the New Zealand Council for Teacher Education I often entertained visitors from overseas. I took them for lunch at the nearby James Cook hotel. The chair of the Council said why didn’t I join the Club, better food and good accommodation. So I did.

As a little country lad it had never been an ambition of mine but to my surprise I enjoyed being a member. The meals were excellent, the surroundings were pleasant, the staff were friendly. I joined the gym there and for three years unsuspectingly kept my degenerative condition at bay for a while. Reluctantly, last year I resigned on grounds of ill-health.

One year the Club management arranged an evening with Dame Malvina and three budding singers who were studying with her support. We went with friends Tom and Amy and had a most enjoyable evening – a good set menu and an evening’s entertainment. The three young singers sang in terms, mainly operatic arias with Dame Malvina giving items between each singer. At intervals she wandered round the room talking to people at their tables.

Alas, such evenings are now no longer possible.

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