Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Musical Post

     Research for the Website has taken precedence over the blog this year so there aren't too many posts.  I wanted to end the year with something fun.

     In January, 1862, the 13th Mass Glee Club gave a concert at the Hagerstown Lyceum Hall. 

At the time members of the regiment were doing Provost Duty in the town of Hagerstown, MD.  Pictured is the 13th Mass Glee Club, seated, Lt. Edwin Frost,  & Sergeant Walter H. Wentworth.  Standing left to right are John H. White, Private John Green, Corporal Michael Dagney, and Private Osgood W. Waite, all of Company E.

Author Stephen Bockmiller's book, "Hagerstown in the Civil War," published in 2011, reproduced the poster advertising the event.

In his book (which I contributed images to)  Mr. Bockmiller writes:
"The Hagerstown Lyceum was a performance and meeting hall located on West Washington Street, two doors east of the courthouse.

Built in 1844 it had two storefronts on the ground level to provide rents to support the operation, while the public hall was located on the second floor."
 A program of musical numbers  is included on the poster advertising the event for the townspeople. I'd like to reproduce some of the concert here, (as much as I can) using digital archives and youtube recordings as far as they exist for the songs that were performed.  I wish I could have found recordings of all the songs.  I did find sheet music to all but one.  It took a bit of searching to find them all.  I hope the experiment works - in that the musical links 'hold up' and that you enjoy this truncated concert of songs presented by the regiment to the people of Hagerstown!

     Admission, by the way, is 25 cents.  So here is the venue :

     Wednesday, January 15, 1862.


A quartette kicked things off with the song "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming"

This was followed up with "Normandy Maid."  I discovered the longer title of Normandy Maid is, "I Once Knew A Normandy Maid," the song was sung by tenor O. W. Waite.

Next up was "Song and Chorus" "Fairy Dell" performed by the Glee Club.

Corporal Michael Dagney [alto] and private John Green sang a duet, "Sad Sea Waves."

 The Glee Club followed with "Song & Chorus," in a rendition of "Jennie Lane." I'm not sure if its the same song but there is a song "Bonnie Jennie Lee" from 1861.  This link will take you to a midi file of the song.  Scroll down until you find it.

The ballad,  "Faded Flowers" followed, sung by Corporal Michael Dagney, [alto].

The "Trio" of tenor Osgood Waite, alto Michael Dagney, and bass John White (hospital steward) sang "Ever Of Thee."  The full title of the song is "Ever of Thee I'm Fondly Dreaming."

The Song, "Mother Dear" was next, performed by tenor Osgood Waite.

The first part of the program ended with the Glee Club Quartette performing the [comic]  "Irishman's Shanty."  The link takes you to a gentleman in appropriate period garb playing this song on a banjo.  It is instrumental only, although the musical sheet at left shows that there are indeed words to this ditty. 

I'm guessing there was an intermission, as the concert was divided into two parts.


The quartette sang "Oft In The Stilly Night."

John H. White, [bass] and Osgood Waite, [tenor] sang a duet, "Labor and Watch."

The Glee Club performed the song and chorus, "Nellie Gray."

The [comic] song, "Old Irish Gentleman" was performed by Osgood Waite, [tenor].

The quartette followed with, "Dearest Spot."  That is how it is listed on the programme.  At first glance I thought this was about a beloved pet, probably a dog, but keeping with the sentiment of the era, I discovered the full title is actually, "Dearest Spot of Earth To Me is Home."  And although it says quartette, only three performers are listed, Waite, [tenor], Dagney [alto] and Greene, [alto].

Alto Michael Dagney sang the ballad "Near the Banks of that Lone River."

The Quartette ended the concert with "Jane O'Malley," the entire Glee Club listed as taking part.

Edwin Rice, (pictured) who played one of the horns in the 13th Mass Band attended the concert at the Lyceum.  He wrote to his sister January 16th, 1862,

"Last night Steve Howe, Jim Fuller, and myself went up to Hagerstown to a concert given by some of the boys in the regiment. The singing was not anything extra.  I did not go so much to hear the singing as to see the hall. The hall was not very large.  It was but a little larger than Forest Hall.  There  was some very fine fresco painting in the hall."
That is all the reviews I have.   In spite of Rice's review, I'm going to imagine the concert was 'Wonderful!'

Sadly the Lyceum Hall no longer stands and little is known about the building built in 1844.

As for the performers the rosters only give a little bit of information.  John W. Green mustered out March 14, 1863. Sergeant Michael Dagney mustered out as 1st Lieutenant March 7th, 1864.  Hospital Steward John H. White continued his service as a steward in the regular army after the 13th Mass disbanded.  He mustered out of Federal Service in 1866, and lived well into old age.  He was a frequent correspondent to the 13th Mass Circulars.  Osgood Waite took an officers commission, 1st Lieutenant in the 38th Mass. August 20 1862.  He resigned March 7, 1863.

And so ends this  concert post.  (There was another concert in February, at Williamsport, but that is another story).  "Merry Christmas!" to my readers.