Friday, 18 August 2017

The Lewis Eady legacy

It is interesting to discover how a part of a library's collection originates. In the case of Auckland Libraries' music collection, it started when a visionary librarian connected with an Auckland city councillor.

In 1926, Mr L. Alfred Eady, an Auckland city councillor, attended a library conference in Dunedin. There he heard Mr John Barr, Auckland’s chief librarian, speak about the need for public libraries to have music scores and music literature. Barr put out the challenge: Was there any library in New Zealand which even held a collection of the standard operas?

Ref: Bettina Photography. Lewis Alfred Eady. Alexander Turnbull Library,
Lewis Eady Family Collection , ID: 1/2-190380; F
Barr was convinced that the citizens of Auckland should have access to sheet music in the same way they had access to other resources. Access to the written expression of musical imagination should be as core to a library service as other scholarly endeavours.

Ref: Bookmark promoting the
Lewis Eady Music Room, 1928
This obviously struck quite a chord with Mr Alfred Eady. The two men got together to discuss what could be done. The starting point was a list of core repertoire needed to establish a music collection, drawn up by the deputy librarian Mr Abram Cunningham. Alfred’s father, Mr Lewis Eady, owned a successful music shop on Karangahape Road which made for a ready source for supply. The next step seemed logical - Alfred Eady announced, on behalf of his father, that he was going to present to the Auckland Public Library over 600 volumes of music scores and literature. This donation formed the basis of the Lewis Eady Music Room.

On 13 June 1928, with a base collection of 1,181 items, the first music section in a public library in Australasia was established. That same year Lewis Eady Ltd shifted to imposing new premises on Queen Street. Further donations were made by the Eady firm in 1956. In September 1984, they donated a sum for the purchase of music or music literature in celebration of their centennial. In January 2005, they donated a selection of classical music in celebration of their 120th anniversary, along with a generous sponsorship for the purchase of a grand piano.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Dominion Road: A musical!

What happens when real life politics and art collide? Aucklanders can find out as Dominion Rd - The Musical hits the stage this month.

Ref: Dominion Rd - The Musical promotional poster
In a case of fiction confronting current events, this brand new musical follows a group of residents on Auckland's iconic Dominion Road. Will they be able to put aside their differences to fight against a proposed development of their street as a 'Chinatown'?

Penned by award-winning duo Renee Liang and Jun Bin Lee, and directed by Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho, Dominion Rd - The Musical features five well known faces working with local Dominion Road community cast members to form the chorus. The production has been a work in process for over a year and weaves the true stories of the community into a toe-tapping, family friendly creative musical.

The inspiration for the characters and the lived experiences of Dominion Road shopkeepers and residents have been drawn, in part, from the Auckland Libraries Oral History Collection, created in 2013 as part of the Dominion Road Stories project. You can listen to audio extracts from the project on the websites above.

During the Dominion Road Stories project, Auckland Libraries also commissioned new work from photographer Solomon Mortimer. Solomon created a series of black and white images, capturing on the street sights and activities of people and place, as well as some fine images of shopkeepers and buildings.

Ref: Solomon Mortimer. Full length portrait of Colin Wigg in his cobbler's shop at 315
Dominion Road, 2013. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1212-12 

Ref: Solomon Mortimer. An interior view of the Soak and Suds Laundromat at 588 Dominion Road,
2013. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1212-42.

Dominion Road may be unbending in its physical geography, but one thing we can be sure about is that its social landscape is always evolving – and this may indeed be worth having a sing and dance about!

Dominion Rd - The Musical is playing at the Glen Eden Playhouse from August the 9th – 19th.

Author: Sue Berman, Principal Oral History & Sound