My very fond memories of the gracious, grand old dame aka the Wellington Town Hall are all associated with music and elections.

First and foremost are my memories of music closely associated with the Town Hall. As a Wadestown School pupil, I keenly attended concerts there on occasional school cultural outings. Then I joined choirs and learned the double bass at Wellington Girls’ College. I proudly performed and sang in concerts at the Town Hall at Prize Givings. I also rehearsed and performed there for the Wellington Youth Orchestra. I was often in the audience to attend performances there by my NZSO tutor. During university and adulthood, my favourite seats were, and are, still in full view and sound of the double bass section! The excellent acoustics and the huge seating capacity of the Town Hall made that possible.

Although I studied education, psychology and languages, I always found time to attend concerts in the Concert Chamber. I even made time during full time teacher training to be an usher both there and the Town Hall. Thanks to the Town Hall, such volunteer work experience meant I could teach music appreciation later as part of my primary school curriculum.

Even though I am retired now and no longer singing in a college and church choir, I’ll never forget singing in carol concerts at the Town Hall. The combined Anglican and Wellington choirs performed St Matthew’s Passion and I was right next to the organ! What a rich, melodious sound it had! When the organist pulled the stops out for the finale, the volume nearly lifted the beautifully ornate ceiling!

For many years, ballot boxes were returned to the Town Hall by Returning Officers and Deputy Returning Officers. The place was transformed with trestle tables also election staff hustling and bustling about. It was such a relief to sink down on the comfortable foyer couches to catch your breath and briefly relax after a busy Election Day.

These are some of my very happy memories of The Town Hall aka ‘the grand, old dame’.

Rosemary Cole

Image: The Wellington Town Hall’s famous organ