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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

A Belated Thank You the the Three Graces for the CMAA Colloquium

Speaking of James Joyce, during the closing brunch in Indy, kept thinking of Gabriel's toast to the Morkin sisters in The Dead, and of how I wished to make such a toast to Mary, Janet and Mary Jane -- and then finally, of how the way in which my toast would most resemble his was in it's nervous ineptness, and pretentiousness

But in the safety of my own blog, I'll be as pretentious and inept as I please!
So with apologies to Joyce...

Ladies and Gentlemen.
It has fallen to my lot tonight I'm going to seize the opportunity this morning to perform a very pleasing task but a task for which I am afraid my poor powers as a speaker are all too inadequate.
But, however that may be, I can only ask you today to take the will for the deed and to lend me your attention for a few moments while I endeavour to express to you in words what my feelings are on this occasion.
Ladies and Gentlemen. It is not the first time that we have gathered together under this hospitable roof, at such a repast, around this hospitable board. It is not the first time that we have been the recipients—or perhaps, I had better say, the victims—of the hospitality hard work of certain good ladies.
—I feel more strongly with every recurring year that our country the CMAA has no tradition which does it so much honour and which it should guard so jealously as that of its hospitality. 
—A new generation is growing up in our midst, a generation actuated by new ideas and new principles. It is serious and enthusiastic for these new ideas and its enthusiasm, even when it is misdirected, is, I believe, in the main sincere. But we are living in a sceptical and, if I may use the phrase, a thought- tormented age: and sometimes I fear that this new generation, educated or hypereducated as it is, will lack those qualities of humanity, of hospitality, of kindly humour which belonged to an older day. Listening to-night to the names of all those great singers Praying at the Requiem for CMAA members of the past...  let us hope, at least, that in gatherings such as this we shall still speak of them with pride and affection, still cherish in our hearts the memory of those dead and gone great ones whose fame the world we will not willingly let die.
There are always, in gatherings such as this, sadder thoughts that will recur to our minds: thoughts of the past, of youth, of changes, of absent faces that we miss here tonight. Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living. 
—Therefore, I will not linger on the past. I will not let any gloomy moralising intrude upon us here to-night today. Here we are gathered together for a brief moment from the bustle and rush of our everyday routine. We are met here as friends, in the spirit of good-fellowship, as colleagues, also to a certain extent, in the true spirit of camaraderie, and as the guests of—what shall I call them?—the Three Graces of the Dublin musical world CMAA.
—I will not attempt to play to-night the part that Paris played on another occasion. I will not attempt to choose between them. The task would be an invidious one and one beyond my poor powers. For when I view them in turn, whether it be our chief hostess herself, whose good heart, Janet Gorbitz whose too good heart, has become a byword with all who know her, or her sister, Mary Webster who seems to be gifted with perennial youth and whose singing must have been a surprise and a revelation to us all to-night at Mass, or, last but not least, when I consider our youngest hostess, talented, cheerful, hard-working and the best of nieces, Mary Jane Ballou I confess, Ladies and Gentlemen, that I do not know to which of them I should award the prize.
—Let us toast them all three together. Let us drink to their health, wealth, long life, happiness and prosperity and may they long continue to hold the proud and self-won position which they hold in their profession and the position of honour and affection which they hold in our hearts.

Incidentally,if you have seen neither the movie staring, IIRC Donal McCann, nor the very moving musical of The Dead, I urge you to take any opportunity to do so.
In Chicago I saw an actress named Paula Scrofano play Greta, and it was an astoundingly centered, to use a much over-used word, performance.

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