Oratorio at Pontygwaith. Spirited Performance of Judas Maccabseus." On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, two grand performances of Handel's oratorio, "Judas Maccabaeus," were given by the Hermon Choir, under the leader- ship of Mr. Theo. Thomas, L.T.S.O. The presidents were the Rev. Rowland Hughes, B.D., and Dr. Pease, Tylorstown, respec- tively. The artistes were as follow: — Soprano, Madame Mills-Reynolds; con- tralto, Madame B. Evans; tenor, Mr. Todd Jones; bass, Mr. Godfrey Price; accompanist, Mr. C. L. Jones, L.C.M. The orchestra was under the management of Miss Bessie Powell. The oratorio, next to the Messiah," perhaps, is among Handel's best known masterpieces, and just as a person can read a good book, the product of a master mind, several times, and each time dis- cover something fresh and interesting, some new trait or peculiarity in the mind of the author, so it is with the works of the great comnosers. "Judas Macca- ftsaUB" can be heard times in succession, but there is always some new feature coming to light; it is ever fresh to the ears of the listeners. The tyranny of the Jews under Antiochus Epiplianes revived the nation's religious spirit. The people trusted in God Who brought forth the first glimmer of light in Mattathias, the father of five sono. Simon, the counsellor, was one; .Judas Maccabseus, the leader, another. The dawn breaks, but a dark cloud again obscures their hope—Mattathias is dead. The overture gives the key-note to the first part of the book as if describing the feelings of the people at this juncture. The overture is in two parts. The theme of the last movement is taken from an- other part of the work, but in a different mode, which was played with good effect by the orchestra. The oratorio opens with lamentations, Mourn, ye afflicted." It is the cry of an afflicted people, and the choir very successfully succeeded in working out this effect. Each part took up the theme with feeling and expression. The glory of -choral singing is good attack, and it was obvious that this lesson had been well driven home by the conductor in the rehearsals. Following in the same strain are the solos of the Israelitish man and woman and the chorus, For Zion, lamentation make." However, the Prophet sees beyond the sorrow of the people, and knows that not vain is 1 the storm of grief," and that there is One who hears the prayers of the people. Mr. Godfrey Price's rendering of this solo was very good. Madame Mills-Reynolds did great credit to herself in the air, Pious Orgies." A prayerful people is the first step to liberty. A vision, "0 Father, Whose Almighty Power," creates heroic hearts ready to die in the cause of liberty. The opening given to this chorus was excellent, and the piece was well -d1ivered throughout. This vision en- courages the prophet, who calls forth men to battle in "Arm, arm, ye brave." Mr. Godfrey Price was heard to very good effect in this solo, and displayed an inti- mate acquaintance with every note. The flute solo was very effective. The men fall in line, coming in bright array." The first part of the oratorio sets forth the course of events to the end of the leadership of Judas Maccabeus, and the determination of the people to follow in -the strength of God, "resolved to con- quest or a glorious fall." The altos were heard to the best advantage in the last -chorus in part 1, "Hear us, 0 Lord." The rendering of the opening chorus of the second part, which celebrates the victories over Appollonius, and Saron Fallen is the foe "), is decserving, of note. The opening was electrical, and the performance throughout was excellent. Liberty is not yet gained, and the evening is still spent on the field of battle. Again Judas cries Sound an Alarm." This solo was rendered in excellent style by Mr. Todd Jones, and called forth loud ap- plause. Mr. Godfrey Price was heard at his best in the beautiful air, With pious hearts." The people answer to the call with unswerving resolution. We never, never will bow down." This chorus was well rendered, the climax at the end being magnificent. Madame Evans acquitted herself in good style in the duet, Oh 11ever bow we down." The third part sets forth liberty gained. The sanctuary is cleared of the idols, and Jehovah's ceremonies sung, therein. The gladsome people sing praise to their leader in See the Conquering Hero comes." The attack and the blending of voices in this chorus was very marked. The end of each line was well sustained and finished. Owing to shortness of time, portions of the last Dart had to be omitted, and the entertainment closed with a praiseworthy rendering of Sing unto God." Mr. D. Steward Davies sang in a very praiseworthy manner the tenor solo in this chorus. Miss Edwards' ren- dering of Father in Heaven is well -worthy of mention. Though a little nervousness was displayed, ishe accom- plished her task very well indeed. Nothing but praise is due to Mr. Theo. Thomas for his masterful training of the choir, and also to the artistes for the manner in which they acquitted them- selves. In a hall with good acoustic pro- perties, the choir would have been heard to far greater advantage. This success should be an encouragement both to choir and their able conductor in whatever task they take in hand in the future.
Master TOM DAVIES, De Winton Hotel, Tonypandy, aged 2 years 11 months, who collected 21 10s. 3d. for the Lifeboat Saturday Fund, Oct. 23.
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Rhondda Miners' Meeting Agents as M.P.'s. Mr. John L. Treharne, Merthyr, pre- sided over the monthly meeting of the Rhondda (No. 1) District of Miners at Porth oil Thursday. Among those pre- sent were Messrs. W. Abraham (Mabon), M.P., D. Watts Morgan (agent and secre- tary), Tom Evans (agent), W. H. Morgan (financial secretary), and John Jones (treasurer). Mr. Watts Morgan dealt with the length of Sunday evening shifts, and said that owing to the various difficulties which I had arisen, the Central Executive Council had passed a resolution calling upon work- men not to agree to the lengthening of the hours which had previously existed. Whatever were the hours fixed on Satur- day afternoons and Sunday night prior to the" introduction of the Eight Hours Act, these should in future be adhered to. The majority of the collieries had carried out these arrangements, but in a few instances such an arrangement had not been arrived at. The matter had come before the Conciliation Board, and the owners' side had insisted on an eight hours Sun- day night shift. No settlement was arrived at by the Board. The same num- ber of hours was originally claimed by the, G»"lSrS for a Saturday afternoon shift, but the majority of the employers had now abandoned this demand. A return presented to the meeting showed that in 15 collieries no Sunday night shift was worked, while in the majority of other cases the same hours prevailed as hitherto* Cambrian Notices. Mr. D, Watts Morgan reported that the notices given to all the workmen at the Cambrian Collieries had been withdrawn, as the hauliel's had now been prevailed upon to carry out the provisions of their agreement to descend the mine half an hour earlier than the other workmen. The deadlock at the Overtime Sub- Committee had, remarked Mr. Watts Morgan, been removed, and now that the misunderstandings which had arisen had been cleared up, it was hoped that this committee would be able to proceed with the cases referred to it for settlement. Mr. Tom Evans intimated that the Enginemen and Stokers' Union had drafted an agreement for working arrange- ment between their Union and the Fede- ration. The ratification of this arrange- ment would now be a matter for the South Wales Miners' Federation. A donation of tIO was given to the Glyn Colliery workmen. Pontypool, who have been locked out for some months. Permission was also given tb the work- men's representatives to visit all the lodges to seek further supplementary grants. The receipts totalled CI .910 5s. 9d. Agents as M.P. s A notice of motion was submitted by one of the Rhondda Fach lodges that, in future, any miners' agent of the district who was elected a member of Parliament should cease to be a miners' agent and hold one office only as a member of the Federation. He considered that to a limited extent the district suffered through the agent being a member of Par- liament. Mr. W. Abraham (Mabon), M.P., re- marked that if the resolution was carried it would not affect him very much. He would, however, impress unon them that if such a course were adopted, a member in Parliament who would have to sever his official connection with that Federa- tion would lose a considerable amount of his influence. They would, therefore, lose more than they could ever hope to gain I by adopting the course indicated in the motion. If such t policy were deemed expedient, it should be made applicable to all M.P.'s connected with the Federa- tion, otherwise they would be placing their own representatives in a very in- vidious position. Mr. D. Watts Morgan remarked that such a policy would be very unwise. He would never consent to be nominated as a candidate under such conditions, for if he lost his seat, where would he be? A Delegate: On the market (laughter). Mr. Morgan Yes, and that is where the harshness of the situation comes in. The motion was rejected by a large majority. —
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The Case for Incorporation How the Rhondda Suffers. Powder and Shot by District Councillors. Another meeting to further the Incor- poration movement was held at Richards' Hall, Tonypandy, on Wednesday evening, Mr. J. Owen Jones, chairman of the Mid- Rhondda Chamber of Trade, presiding, when addresses were delivered by Coun- cillors Tom Evans and R. S. Griffiths, J.P. County Councillor D. Watts Morgan (Porth), who was also to have addressed the meeting, sent a telegram expressing inability to Be present, but declaring that he was strongly in favour of Incorporation. Representatives were present by invitation from most of the public bodies throughout the Valley. Councillor Tom Evans said that he was in favour of Incorporation for the Rhon- dda, because he thought that the Rhondda was a place that was highly adapted for a Charter in point of population, in point of ratable value, and in. many other re- spects, and he ventured to say that no place that had been incorporated had so many claims for being incorporated as the Rhondda had. He had been looking over a list of 60 boroughs, and he found that in none of these did the population ex- ceed 80,000. whilst the ratable value, taken as an average, did not exceed £ 250,000. If these places had been in- corporated and benefited so much as a result, why should the Rhondda lag behind? It was true that Incorporation was a new thing, as far as the Rhondda was concerned, but the Rhondda itself was new. It had grown practically like a mushroom. The population of the Rhondda in 1877 only amounted to 17,000, whereas to-day it stood at 135,000. If the Rhondda in 1877 was considered good enough for a Local Board, and in 1896 for a District Council, it was only natural that now Rhondda should proceed for the status and dignity of a County Borough. Anyone who knew anything about the work of the Rhondda Council for the last few years would agree with him that it had increased immensely, and the number of committees sitting took up a very large amount of the time of the members. One of the advantages of In- corporation would be that they would have a larger number of representatives on the Borough Council, and the work could thus be divided among the com- mittees. which would in turn enable the representatives to more thoroughly dis- charge their duties. Then again, the ratable value of the Rhondda was such that a. penny rate in March last produced £ 2,511. If a penny rate amounted to that, and a fivepenny rate was levied every half-year for the County Council, the total amount of the County Rate in one year would amount to over E22,0.00. That being so, it was only fair to ask what were they receiving back from the County in return. He had been looking through the last balance sheet issued by the Rhondda Council, and he had only been able to find out three items which they received back from the County, namely, £ 650 Is. 9d. as part of the salaries of the Medical Officer of Health and the Inspectors of Nuisances, t2,465 towards the maintenance of highways, and zC641 Is. 4d. towards secondary education, leaving a surplus in the hands of the County Council amounting to £ 18,761 2s. 3d. How was that money utilised? It was not spent in the Rhondda; there- fore, it must have been spent in other parts of the County. One of the old maxims of Radicalism was that represen- tation should go with taxation, and he was of the opinion that the money raised in the Rhondda should be spent to the best ends in the area where it was pro- duced (applause). There were some people who declared that rates would go higher if the Rhondda were made into a County Borough, but he was going to satisfy Anti-Humbug," who made this assertion in the Rhondda Leader," and every other humbug that this was not the case: Mr. Evans then read the opinions of Town Clerks of County Boroughs on the point, who were practically unani- mous that Incorporation did not result in increased rates, but in cases where rates had gone up as the result of im- provements effected after attaining County Borough status, the privileges and dignity conferred upon them fully justified the expenditure. Jfcuven in their own case tne rates of the Rhondda had gone up from 2s. 6d. in one year to 3s. 7d. in 190'7, so that an increase in rates was not a corollary to Incorporation. Under Incorporation they would also have the control of the police. The Rhondda Council had been able to ad- minister the laws as well as any other body of people, and the efficiency with which this had been done in the past was a guarantee that, whatever additional powers were conferred on the Rhondda Council as a County Borough, it would carry out its duties equally as well as other bodies in any other part of the country. It was not right that the police 1 should be governed by a bodv of men who were not responsible to the Rhondda. Once the control of the police was secured, the next step would be to get a Quarter Sessions for the Rhondda, thus saving a great deal of time and expense to jury- men who had now perforce to spend much time and money in Cardiff and Swansea. There was one class who would have reason to complain of Incorporation—the landlords. These were the people who had made the laws in the past, and in making those Taws had seen that they did not touch their own pockets. The landlords, at present, although owning land in the Valley and deriving great incomes there- from, escaped paying practically anything in return towards the maintenance or im- provements in the district. Under In- corporation they would have to pay in full upon their land similar to every other form of property. They had escaped long enough, and it was time they should pay a more equitable share to the district wherefrom they derived their wealth (applause). Councillor- R. S. Griffiths said that it was to be understood he had not definitely made up his mind on this question, and that anything he might say upon the con- ditions at present obtaining was not in- tended as a criticism upon existing autho- rities, especially upon the County Council. He was glad that the Chamber of Trade had raised this question. because he held they would he better citizens for having discussed a matter like this. There were few points of difference between a County Borough and an Urban District Council. The electors in a County Borough would be known as burgesses, and some people who possessed the right to vote in an urban area would not be allowed to vote in the elections of a Municipal Council. Ownership voters would be disqualified in a County Borough election, and they would probably agree with him that the com- munity would not suffer from this loss. Lodgers, as lodgers pure and simple, would also lose their claims, and another voter that would lose his vote was the service voter." There was also the qualification of Councillors. For a Borough Council there was a property qualification, which stood at a property valuation of tl-,000, or rated to the Poor Law at £30 per annum. He was not aware that the pro- perty qualification had been repealed, but he was inclined to believe that it was not insisted upon. Under a Borough Council the represetation would also in- crease, owing to the creation of alder- I men, which would give the Rhondda 40 representatives, instead of 30 as at pre- sent. On the question of audit, there was a vital difference between the two modes of government. To-day, the Rhondda Council was under the thumb of the Local Government Board, in the sense that the public auditor came round twice a year to audit their accounts, and unless their expenditure was strictly legal, he sur- charged those members who had signed the cheques. Under Incorporation, the whole system was changed on the face of it. Instead of one Government Auditor, there were three-one elected by the Mayor and two by the burgesses. One wae known as the Mayor's Auditor and the others as the Elective Auditors. But they would find that when they went in for the Charter, one of the clauses they would find in the Bill would be that they were to have a Government Auditor. But even without that their accounts would have to be sent to the Local Government Board every year. Instead of a Chairman, proceeded Mr. Griffiths. they would have a Mayor. Even the King thought that in the large mining districts of South Wales there was nothing but a Mayor (laughter). He had telegraphed the other day to the Mayor of Bargoed (renewed laughter). During his year of office the Chairman of the District Council was invested with the full authority of a magistrate, but under Incorporation he would sit on the Bench for the succeeding years, and during his year of office would take pre- cedence over all the other magistrates. Under Incorporation they might apply to the King for a bench of magistrates purely and simply for the Rhondda, in- stead of being dependent on the Lord Lieutenant of the County. Dealing with the financial aspect of the question, Mr. Griffiths said it was taken for granted in financial circles that any place which had had a Charter was a settled and established place. Corpora- tions were looked upon as safer grounds for investment than a mere Urban Dis- trict Council like the Rhondda. The secret of the whole thing was that stock issued by a Municipal Borough Council was scheduled and recognised as stock wherein trust money could be invested. For all practical purposes Rhondda to-day enjoyed that privilege. There had been some misconception with regard to this, and it had been published that they had suffered in the past when negotiating loans because the Rhondda was not a Borough Council. He was not aware that such was the case, and in saying so he was saying what he knew. He had had the privilege of serving on the com- mittee which had negotiated the largest loan yet negotiated since the Rhondda Council was established, and he had no recollection of having been asked whether they were a County Borough or Urban Council. Their late Clerk, Mr. Wallis Morgan, made it his business in 1898 to see the then Lord Chancellor, and with the help and influence of the present Chan- cellor of the Exchequer—(applause)—suc- ceeded in inducing him to schedule any stock by an Urban Area as investment wherein money paid ito High Court could be invested, with the result that the Rhondda had been able to borrow money on the most favourable terms. The weak- ness of the position was that this stock was not in the Act; it was put in as the result of an application to the Lord Chan- cellor mentioned, and a future Lord Chan- cellor might strike it out. Dealing with the District Council in its relation to the County Council, Coun- cillor Griffiths said that the ratable value of the Rhondda was one-fifth of the whole of the County, and he found that for the half-year ending in September last the District Council paid in all to the County Council the sum of £ 14,600. The Dis- trict Council received in return in actual cash zC2,665 for roads, and for salaries £ 335. The Guardians received for the same period the sum of £ 7.000 towards pauper lunatics, &c. The Rhondda paid one-fifth of the County rates. He did not know what the police or the secondary education cost to the Council, and he hardly believed that any man on the County Council knew. It was not what they got in money, but what they got in value. They collected the money in the Rhondda, handed it over to the County Treasurer, and a certain amount of it was returned to them. Was that busi- ness? ("No "). There must be a leaakge somewhere or other. Even if they got back the full value of their main roads, they got nothing more. In addition to paying one-fifth of the maintenance of the whole of the County roads, the Rhondda had to pay one-fifth of the cost of the vast improvements of those roads. On the face of it they were paying more than they were receiving in return, unless they treated the maintenance of the roads of the County as something done speci- fically for the benefit of the Rhondda. They were paying a great deal more than their quota. They were also paying one- fifth of the police rate, and they should be enjoying the benefit of one-fifth of the police force of the County, which they did not. The relative strength of the Rhondda police force as compared with the County was one-sixth and a half, but' if they looked at the police force as an earning machinery, they were paying a great deal more. Man for man, the police force of the Rhondda earned more for the Rhondcla than any fetlier body of police in the County (hear. hear). The Rhondda had full control of the ele- mentary education, and to some extent they were going, to get some kind of con- trol over a certain portion of the secon- dary education. Looked at from a finan- cial standpoint, the Rhondda had to pay one-fifth of the technical education of the County, but did anyone get one-fifth of the benefit? They had one County School, and they had a certain number of Technical Classes during a period of the year. What they had to consider, proceeded the speaker, was whether they had a prima facie case for investigation, and the kind of investigation they would have to put into motion was going to cost a con- siderable sum of money. They would have to employ one of the best financial ex- perts of the country to investigate and advise. He believed there was a prima facie case, especially as far as education, the police and the roads were concerned. He failed to see why the education policy of the Rhondda should be controlled by farmers in the Vale of Glamorgan, or gentlemen of the remote corners of Gower. They knew nothing of the con- ditions of the Rhondda. They controlled the County Council, and although the Rhondda had its quota of reDresentatives of the Counts Education Committee, they were not allowed to take part on any question affecting their elementary schools, whilst with regard to the secon- dary education of the Rhondda, the local representatives were in a hopeless minority. You are going to have the stiffest fight that has ever been waged in Wales over an application for a Charter," were Mr. Griffiths' concluding words, because when you realise that the County stands to lose one-fifth of its financial support by one stroke of the pen, they are going to exert themselves. For myself, I am
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prepared to give my share towards securing the services of the best financial expert in the country, and on the strength of his report, if we find therein a case for a Charter, let us by all means go in for it in the face of any opposition" (loud applause). A number of questions were submitted and answered, and a vote of thanks to Councillors Evans and Griffiths was moved by Mr. Tom John. M.A., seconded by County Councillor James Evans, and car- ried unanimously. Representatives of various public bodies throughout the Yalley afterwards sat in committee to consider arrange ments for the furthering of the movement.