THERE is no doubt that Thomas H. Massey was a very dedicated singing teacher. He trained several local choirs, as well as playing quite a few organs around Bathurst. Thomas had four brothers, all of whom were gifted organists, all taught by their father Mr Joseph Massey, Snr. Our image this week shows Mr Massey with what is marked the “Methodist Choir”, all of whom seem very dressed up in long gowns and suits ready to perform. Mr Massey was well-known for coaching the Bathurst Choral Society and this could be the renowned choir.
Not only was Mr Massey kept busy with the choirs, but there were numerous organ recitals as well as occasions where he played the piano.
He attended a special musical service at the Kelso Holy Trinity Church on Sunday, July 31, 1900 at 8pm, where he gave an organ recital. A special offertory was made on behalf of the Indian Famine Fund.
Often, other funds raised were devoted to the Bathurst Choral Society’s expenses, which could be used to pay for travel to attend competitions such as that held in Ballarat in 1900. The choir’s efforts were supported by the Very Rev. Dean Charles Marriott, who often granted All Saints’ Cathedral for the purpose. It happened in mid-September 1900 and was an undoubted success.
A concert was held in May 1902 for the Federal Grand Choir and the members were congratulated for making it such a success. The big crowd to see the Federalists was considered a compliment to the talented conductor, Mr T.H. Massey, and his efficient choir. The hall was decorated by ladies of the choir with the colour of the Bathurst Choral Society, blue and white.
The pot plants on the stage and the scenery in the rear added attractiveness to the view. The program opened with an overture, Alpha, by the Bathurst District Band, under Sam Lewins, conductor.
The different musical changes, in some portions from grave to gay, were explained by Dr T.A. Machattie, patron to the society, and helped the audience understand it. Bandsmen A. Maddy (cornet) played a solo, You’ll Remember Me. Another item introduced the Scottish regiments with the bagpipes playing. Mr Massey acted as accompanist in some of the choral numbers.
Several bands and choral societies from other towns and cities arrived in Bathurst in early November 1902 for the forthcoming carnival. There were five school choirs competing, including Bathurst Superior Public School (two choirs), conductor Mr G.R. Thomas; Kelso Public School, conductor Mr P.F. Newman; St. Barnabas’ Juvenile Choir, conductor Mr W. H. Naylor. For the second choral contest there were also five choirs taking part, including the Bathurst Choral Society, conductor Mr W. Dryden; Bathurst Federal Choir, conducted by Mr T.H. Massey. In the male choruses was the Bathurst Federal Choir conducted by Mr T.H. Massey.
The grand champion choral contest was the last feature of the week’s carnival. The silver cup for this was presented by Messrs. J.R. and A. Jones. It was held by the Bathurst Choral Society. Money prizes included £75, £25 and £10.
On October 19, 1903, the Bathurst Federal Choir took their departure for the greatest musical battlefield in Australasia at the time. The mayor, Alderman A.E. Ennis, accompanied them on their journey.
Among the crowd of well-wishers were many prominent choralists. Many made the journey to the railway station to wish Mr Massey and his choir success from all of Bathurst.
In August 1904, the members of the Kelso ProCathedral Choir “were giving a farewell to Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Cousins this evening. Mr. T.H. Massey has kindly made himself responsible for a short musical programme and will be assisted by Miss Hazeltine and others”.
All friends of Mr and Mrs Cousins were cordially invited.