Music From the Land Down Under was the theme for the January meeting of the Carthage Music Club, an affiliate of the national and Texas Federation of Music Clubs. It was held in the choir room of the First Baptist Church. The program leader was Nancy Langford. Prior to the program President Stephen George opened the meeting leading the members in the pledge to the United States flag. Annissa Jackson led the club in the singing of the National Anthem and the Federation Hymn, accompanied by pianist, Judy Galetar.
Langford began her program showing pictures of things that most of us remember about Australia. Stephen George read the words to the song, “I still Call Australia Home”. The Land Down Under has given us kangaroos, koalas bears, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Victoria Desert. It has also given us a wide range of music and musicians, from Percy Grainger to Olivia Newton-John to Keith Urban. Music in Australia forms a part of the social, cultural and ceremonial observances of the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders for over 60,000 years. Indigenous music is best characterized by the didgeridoo, Australia’s best-known instrument, which is considered by some to be the world’s oldest. Club members listened to a recording of the instrument. It sounds much like a very deep recorder. For much of its history, Australia’s bush music belonged to an oral and folkloric tradition. It was later published in print. In 1788 convicts were sent to Australia during the early period of British colonization. Early Australian ballads sing of the harsh ways of life of the bushrangers, swagmen, drovers, stockmen and shearers. Convict and bushranger verses often railed against government tyranny.
Waltzing Matilda, often regarded as Australia’s national anthem, is a folk song. More Australian people know the words to this song than even their national anthem. The title comes from a phrase which means to travel from place to place in search of work. While seeming like a happy light-hearted song, it is a story of poverty and deprivation of itinerant workers during the depression of 1890’s. The club members sang “Waltzing Matilda” and “Kookaburra.” The last song was sung as a round.
Olivia Newton-John moved to Australia from Germany in 1954. In 1974 the single, “I Honestly Love You” won her 2 Grammys. Keith Urban was born in New Zealand in 1967. He won a talent contest and began making inroads into the country music scene.
Dwaine Hubbard played the guitar and sang “But for the Grace of God”. This song became Mr. Urban’s first number 1 hit on the charts.
Helen Reddy was born in Australia to a show business family. She started her career at the age of 4. She also won a talent contest and was given a ticket to New York City and a recording audition. Her song, “I Am Woman” played a large role in popular culture and became an anthem for second-wave feminism. Members listened to a recording of Ms Reddy singing “I Am Woman.”
Langford ended her program with the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair.” Members participated in a group singalong. The program was enjoyed by all members.
A brief business meeting, conducted by the president, followed the program. Tori Windham was elected as a new member. Members welcomed her to the club. Refreshments were served by hostesses, Elizabeth Morris, Sarah Baker, and David Yarbrough.