The New Plymouth Operatic Society has existed is some form for at least 120 years. Several times in its history the society has gone into recess, the last time being in 1935. Seventeen years later, on 30 July 1952, the New Plymouth Operatic Society was formally reformed at a meeting at the Mon Desir tea rooms on Devon Street, with Mr J Hannon as President, and New Plymouth Operatic has been producing shows for the audiences of Taranaki ever since.
On 10 January 1968, New Plymouth Operatic’s Immediate Past President at the time, Ken Spear was killed in a road accident with his wife Verla and their two children, Carolyn and David. After joining the Operatic Society, Ken served on the committee, with three years in the role of president, and as stage manager for many shows. As a memorial to Ken and his family the K.H. Spear memorial scholarship was established by the society. Run as class in the New Plymouth Competition until 2002, the scholarship is run annually and now held at the Society’s Rooms in King Street. The Scholarship, now run in an Adult and a Youth class, requires participants to sing two contrasting songs from musicals. In 2007 the Adult section was won by Idelle Hiestand and the youth section won by Caitlin McKee.
To mark New Plymouth Operatic’s 40th Anniversary in 1992, an extensive history of our society was published. Complied by local identity Brian Clark, this publication was updated and republished as “The Golden Years” in 2002 to mark our 50th Anniversary. Copies are available for sale through the Society office for $10. Contact [email protected]
for more information.