The following is the text of a speech given at this occasion by Susan Woodbury, who, in 1977, was the first president of the society.
It "is a cheering sight to see" so many familiar faces, 20 years older, but still familiar.
"To all of this I make reply." "To the matter that you mention I have given some attention." - "it may have its ridiculous side." "Upon my word, this is most curious - most absurdly whimsical," " a thorough paced absurdity, explain it if you can." "However, if you give me your attention," " I'll endeavor to explain."
The theme for the 20th anniversary - "The alchemy of 20 years" - is a modification of words from Princess Ida, "the silent alchemy of 20 years." You might well ask why we chose this particular line.
"I'll tell you how it came to be." You see there are very few quotes from the operas that refer to "20 years!"
However, on closer analysis we felt it appropriate because alchemy is defined as any magic power or process for changing one thing into another. Certainly the theatre has magical properties and it must indeed be magic that transforms a "gallant crew" like ourselves into a highly successful society.
What quote will we use when we are 25? Why not "Twenty-five years - it's a long time!" from Iolanthe.
In January 1977, who would have predicted we would be here by this "set of curious chances." None of us could have predicted that "twenty years hence we shall be" a well-respected cultural society with a healthy bank account.
None of us could have predicted that we would have pursued our objectives "with a Florentine 14th century frenzy for full" 20 years.
"And I expect you'll all agree" that none of us could have predicted that it would rain almost every rehearsal night just as it did 20 years ago and as it is tonight.
But it doesn't "rain blight on our festivities." "In point of fact" "there is grandeur in the howling of the gale."
What are we celebrating tonight? Do we "really know our worth?"
We know "our catalog is long."
We "know the value of a kindly chorus." After all, we "sing choruses in public," don't we?
We know that some people are so keen that they know all the words and all the notes to all the operas!
We know that we have had some soprano leads who can sing "to a height that few can scale."
We are proud that we award Kiwanis Festival prizes every year.
We remember that the president during the first Mikado was the 23rd understudy for Katisha.
Interruption by Anne Yanofsky - ' I thought it was the 22nd '
We know that "there's lots of good fish in the sea."
We are in stitches because Frank Kempster is our best hooker!
We know that most of our the financial strength is due to the hard work of our members and to individuals in the community who give unstintingly to the Society.
We have had four talented music directors "whose functions are particularly vital."
We have been told that the Katisha Scream has been the best journal of its kind in Canada!
We sing that "Life is a joke that's just begun."
We thank those members have contributed to the society "with a passion that's intense."
We know some are "slaves of duty."
We know some aficionados never want to change a word or a note while others who are more daring, do take-offs of the songs for every festive occasion.
We know that for some the society has been "a source of innocent merriment."
We know "there is humor in all things."
We have learned that "The sacred ties of friendship are paramount."
We know that to succeed we should put the society first, and productions second.
We celebrate the fact that our "children followed" us into the fold.
"We wonder, how we wonder" how on earth we did it.
It's great to have that "celebrated, cultivated, underrated nobleman,"
Scott Savage here, isn't it?
"Oh never shall I forget the time" 20 years ago when Scott had a temper tantrum and stormed from the rehearsal. We knew he would come back though because he left his car keys on the piano.
Any of you who have enjoyed the music from Pineapple Poll will recall that the music is a compilation of tunes from several operas, all intertwined. Not "Bach interwoven with Spohr and Beethoven," but Sullivan interwoven with Sullivan.
Tonight, I "resolved to try a plan where by" almost every line from my speech would contain a Gilbertian quote from one of the Savoy operas. Twenty years ago, Scott told us that the Glasgow, Scotland G&S Society at their monthly meetings converse using quotes from the G&S Operas. I thought it was time to take up the challenge. "Perhaps you suppose" I "can't keep it up all" night "long. If that's your idea, you're wrong."
Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise while I say a toast to the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia:
"Through life's variety, in sweet society" Please "Join in our expressions of glee" "May all good fortune prosper you, May you have health and riches too." May "the echoes of our festival rise triumphant over all."
"Now a toast with 3 times 3 we give" To the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia, Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Nova Scotia.
Now I turn over the proceedings to Scott Savage. "He'll give you any further information.