Friday, 27 March 2020

South Africans likes Singing


CAPE ARGUS - 1939, January 12
In an interview with a representative of The Argus, Margaret Roux (Mrs. CWF Atkinson) said: “There is a living for Teachers but not for Professional Singers in South Africa. The reaction to canned music has set in.
For some years after the radio became part of the furnishing of almost every home, music teachers found it difficult to make a living. People wanted to listen to music, not to make it, and they discouraged their children from learning to sing and to play an instrument.
“But all this is changing. The desire to make music is a very common one, and those who have heard good music want the enjoyment of making it themselves.
“In the Transvaal 18 months ago, I had more singing pupils than I could take, and the choral society I conducted had 70 enthusiastic members. At Springs, where there are many Cornish and Welsh miners, I had a male choir of 30, and they were all tremendously keen. The love of music is inborn in the Celtic people, and the most perfect radio music will never discourage them from practicing it.”
Teachers of singing can make a very good livelihood in South Africa, says Mrs. Atkinson. But she has no faith in the possibilities of a remunerative career for the professional singer in this country. The fees are infinitely smaller than they are in the European countries, where cities have large, musically educated populations. In South Africa these small fees are almost swallowed up by the travelling that the singer has to do in getting from one centre of population to another.
Mrs. Atkinson returned this week from London where she has had a most successful year singing and broadcasting. She was greatly impressed by the number of small choirs and madrigal societies that had been formed in England in recent years.

The September international crisis affected musicians adversely, said Mrs. Atkinson. Many bookings were cancelled and agents have been slow to arrange other engagements for their artists.
Tonight Mrs. Atkinson will sing with the Municipal Orchestra in the City Hall and at the end of the week she will leave for Johannesburg. She had expected to make her home in England, but owing to her husband’s ill-health, has decided to settle in South Africa.

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