444

Grand Rapids ?Sentinel, April 26, 1892

THE THEATERS

Another packed house greeted the “Pirates of Penzance” last night. The performance was fully equal to that of the first night and I some respects better. Everything moved along quite smoothly and the prominent parts were carried out with a vim that savored of professionalism. Francis Campbell was good as the Major, but he will depress the key while singing. Mrs. Nichols was a success as was Mrs. Aldworth as Ruth, although she might have put more vim in her singing. J. D. Krower as Frederick, carried out his part successfully, but could have made more of a success of it if nature had endowed him with a stronger voice. To enumerate the good points of the production would fill a column, but to leave out A. Ed Robinson, the brave sergeant of the police, would do him an injustice. He captured the house with his squad of coppers and received an encore, in which he responded with several local hits that were received with much applause. Several baskets of flowers were passed over the footlights to deserving recipients. The performance reflects great credit on conductor Morehead and will add materially to the coffers of the Grand Rapids Guard.

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445

Benton Harbor Banner, Friday, January 6, 1893

THE MENDELSSOHN SOCIETY

This Popular Musical Organization Gave a Most Delightful Entertainment Thursday Night.

The audience which greeted the first concert of this new musical society last Monday night was noticeable for the large number of the society’s leaders, who took advantage of this occasion to testify their appreciation of the efforts made by the Mendelssohn Club to give them a really high class musical entertainment.

The Schubert Club of Grand Rapids was the principal attraction, and the well-earned reputation they already enjoy received an additional testimonial of a very flattering character. The director, Mr. A. H. Morehead, deserved more than ordinary mention for his wonderful executive ability, and the high degree of perfection attained by his associates. At this late day a mention of the particular members would appear a little out of place but we cannot refrain from mentioning the splendid rendition of “The Water Mill,” “Annie Laurie,” “The Hunter’s March” and the laughable closing piece entitled “The Bill of Fare.”

Of our local talent we can be sincerely proud, and the parts they performed, were as highly enjoyed as any on the program. The piano solo of Mrs. F. B. Christopher was a delightful diversion from the vocal selections, as was also the really wonderful performance of Miss Florence George on the violin. The singing of Mrs. Kate M. B. Wilson, of Chicago, was truly artistic and received generous encores from the delighted audience. Miss Blanche Strong, of the Collegiate Institute proved a valuable assistant in her accompaniments, which were rendered in that truly artistic manner for which she has an enviable reputation.

We are pleased to add that Mr. Christopher, to whose untiring efforts we are indebted for this grand musical entertainment, is very much pleased with the success of his efforts, and he promises that in the near future he will again delight our citizens with a similar program.

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446

Democrat, no source, ?March 7, 1893

The success of the concert given by the Oratorio society in Power’s opera house last evening as far as attendance went exceeded even that which the most sanguine friends of the society had anticipated for it. Artistically it was not, perhaps, the most finished effort yet made by the Oratorio Society under the direction of its leader, A. H. Morehead. The best society of the city was well represented in the gathering, notwithstanding that Lent is holding sway. The program for the entertainment was one which not many societies would attempt. The introductory concert of six numbers, which preceded the cantata, was composed of the trios, duets and solos by Mrs. F. M. Davis and Francis Campbell of this city, and Charles B. Stevens of Detroit. Gaylord B. White of New York was accompanist, and William B. Cornelius of this city organist for the cantata. The chorus of nearly one hundred and fifty voices was seated in raised tiers of seats on the stage. The orchestra of twenty pieces was directed by Mr. Morehead.

The concert opened with a trio by Mrs. Davis and Messrs. Stevens and Campbell, sung in Italian. Mr. Stevens then sang a solo, “Youth,” by Meyer Helmund in which he had ample opportunity to exhibit his wonderfully sweet and clear high notes. He was warmly applauded. Mrs. Davis sang a solo in Italian, “O don Fatale,” by Verdi. Mrs. Davis never looked more charming nor sang with better effect than last evening. Her recent studies have added even more to the sweetness and finish of her voice. After an overture, “Semiramide,” by the orchestra, Mr. Campbell sung an Italian solo, the “Toreador” song from “Carmen.” Mr. Campbell is an accomplished musician but his friends would prefer to hear him sing in his native tongue. The concert concluded with a duet by Mr. Stevens and Mrs. Davis, a light selection which pleased the audience perceptibly more than the grand operatic numbers.

The cantata of the “Cloister Scene,” which concluded the program, is an exceedingly difficult composition, too difficult, perhaps, to catch the popular understanding. Mrs. Davis took the part of Elizabeth, Mr. Stevens, Henry, and Mr. Campbell the abbot. The solo parts and the male chorus were admirably rendered. The entertainment did not begin till some time after 8 o’clock and closed before 10 o’clock.

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447

The ?Markman, Grand Rapids, MI, August 3, 1889

Monday night a reunion occurred at Germania hall of the German singing societies of Richmond, Ind., and this city. Mr. Morehead managed the musical programme. The hall was filled, and the concert, both instrumental and vocal, was of a highly commendable character. The Richmond boys are Mr. Morehead’s old class. He tells how they sang at the State Saengerfest at Indianapolis some years ago, and how, from the fact that they came from a country town, they were not even recognized by a place on the programme, but how in the end they won the first prize. Mr. Morehead is not, as many believe, a German. He was born in Kentucky of Scotch parents, and at the breaking out of the war, owing to the Union sentiments of his father’s family, was compelled to move into Indiana. He speaks German, but not fluently. We predict that Grand Rapids people will see the days when they will feel proud of Mr. Morehead’s fellow-citizenship.

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448

No source, n.d.

ADVANCEMENT OF MUSIC

That Grand Rapids is becoming a musical city is evidenced in a great many ways. Good music is coming to be appreciated more every year, in fact, Grand Rapids is assuming a higher standard in art matters of every description. Tastes are daily being cultivated for music, art and literature in thousands of our homes, and the indications are that this will be a cultured city in the next century. We have a great many fine musicians in Grand Rapids, and have had for years, but the public showed but little appreciation of their efforts until within the past few years. One of the most persistent workers in the musical field was Mr. Morehead. He organized the Oratorio Society, for which the city is indebted for some of the best concerts ever given in any city smaller than Chicago. The affairs of the society were conducted under a great expense, especially as the attractions brought by it were very high priced ones, and two years ago its indebtedness was considerably over $1,000. Mr. Morehead has worked and planned until that indebtedness has been reduced to less than $300, and the prospects are now that it will be wiped out entirely within a year. This is very encouraging to the society, Mr. Morehead and music generally.

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449

Grand Rapids Herald, May 12, 1893

HIT OF THE SEASON

The Sword Drill and the Schubert Club at Powers’.

SEVENTEEN PRETTY GIRLS

Dressed in White Military Costumes

Execute Movements That Are

Models of Grace

Feminine grace and loveliness scored a triumph in Powers’ last night. The Schubert club covered itself with glory, too.

It is doubtful if any amateur entertainment in the city was ever accorded a more spontaneous and genuine appreciation than that given last even by the pretty little maidens who participated in the sword drill and by the energetic members of the Schubert club.

The audience was large. It comfortably filled the parquet and there were few vacant seats in the dress circle. It would have been larger had not the driving downpour of rain which flooded the streets in the latter part of the afternoon and the first part of the evening kept many away. But it was a good audience in spite of the vicissitudes of weather and the eccentricities of May thunder storms. It was as warm and sympathetic as any audience possibly could be, and it applauded until its hands were all but blistered.

A Warm Audience.

The distinctive features of the program were markedly different in their way, and thus served to maintain an interest that never wavered from the opening overture of the orchestra until the final tableau in the fencing contests.

The musical part of the program was furnished by the Schubert club, and the Schuberts never sang better in their lives. Their work showed an improvement over the previous work of the club in public which was too marked to pass unnoticed. The club is better balanced than it ever has been before. But it is not only better balanced, it is far better drilled. The voices of the members are among the best in the city, and their recent training has added much to the artistic merit of their concert work. The program given by them last night was far from being severely classical in character. The music was not too heavy and was admirably suited to the capacity of the singers and to the taste of the audience. It was popular in the best sense of the term and appealed alike to the cultivated musician and to the untutored lover of melody. It was admirably adapted to the tastes of a mixed audience, and that the audience appreciated it was shown by the repeated applause and the enthusiastic encores. Arthur [sic] H. Morehead is director of the club, and the excellence of its work is a sufficient compliment to his ability and to his excellence as a conductor.

The Schubert Club.

The personnel of the club is as follows:

First Tenor—B. A. Beneker, J. D. Kromer, P. K. Miller, A. E. Kromer.

Second Tenor—W. H. Loomis, Charles Fasoldt, James Grant, W. M. Wurzburg.

First Bass—J. A. Morrison, W. C. Wurster, J. A. Seymour, F. M. Deane, B. Boer.

Second Bass—O. B. Wilmarth, A. E. Robinson, J. A. Westerhoff, Dr. H. N. Joy.

But the interest last night could hardly be said to center in the Schubert’s. The boys are all right in their way, and most of them are shining members of local society, but the public was present in reality to see the trim and shapely girls who were to participate in the sword drill. And the public showed excellent taste and judgment in being there for that purpose. There were seventeen of them and every single one was a poem in white and gold.

Seventeen Pretty Girls

Miss Bessie Walker was the captain, and the following girls constituted the company:

Bertha Kutsche, Birdie McCall, Cora Stebbins, Florence Dyer, Charlotte Hewes, Margaret Morton, Nina Meech, Bettine Orth, Julia Minton, Eugenie Muir, Louise Kutsche, Myrtle Barclay, Fannie Walder, Mamie Jeffords, Louise Schneider, Eldie Rice.

They were dressed in white suits that reached a trifle below the knee. The skirts were embroidered near the bottom with white and gold braid. The bodice was black and the facings were trimmed with gold lace. All wore black stockings and tight-fitting boots laced with gold cords. The caps were white, trimmed with black braid, and each dainty waist was encircled with a silver belt, from which hung a Knight of Pythias sword in a silver scabbard. The costumes were designed by Fred A. Wurzburg, and the ensemble was perfect. The captain’s costume was similar to that of the others except a gold tassel dangled from each of her semi-military boots, and a K. of P. helmet surmounted her head. Orin W. Ward spent weeks in drilling the girls, and the perfection of their movements was a credit to his skill and perseverance.

The Musical Program

The evening’s entertainment opened with Macy’s arrangement of Roeder’s “Venetian Waters” by the Schubert club. It was an excellent rendition of a beautiful melody, and was greeted with rounds of appreciative applause. William H. Loomis and the club then gave Storch’s exquisite serenade. Mr. Loomis has an unusually pleasing and mellow tenor voice, which displayed itself to excellent advantage in his rendition of the soft sensuous passages of the serenade.

At this point in the program the participants in the sword drill marched upon the stage, and were greeted with round after round of applause.

It is not easy for a girl to swing a sword in the careless but perfect manner in which an army officer swings a saber, and it is doubtful if it could be accomplished after years of training; but the young women did as well as members of their sex possibly could under similar circumstances. They were encored, and repeated a portion of the drill.

The Schubert club sang the beautiful “Ossian” by Beschnitt. This was followed by a hilarious rendition of Sprague’s “Catastrophe.” For an encore they gave the “Lullaby” song from “Fritz.” It was arranged for the club by Arthur [sic] H. Morehead.

The Hit of the Evening

Here the feminine warriors scored the hit of the evening. Their display movements were a surprise even to the most confident of their friends. The evolutions were executed with military-like accuracy, and to the unpracticed eye were perfect in their precision. The formation of the spiral, hollow square and Greek crosses were as accurate as the work of a company of trained soldiers. It is something that must be seen to be appreciated.

The Schubert club sang the familiar “Water Mill,” by Macy, after which the aria and prison scene from “Il Trovatore” was given by Mrs. Minnie Nichols, B. A. Benaker and A. E. Kromer and the club, Miss Maude Hughes rendering a harp accompaniment.

The sword drill was completed by a fencing contest, in which all the girls participated. A beautiful tableau grouping closed the evening’s entertainment, which will be repeated tonight.

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450

Grand Rapids Sun, October 20, 1889

MUSIC AND DRAMA

The Great Theodore Thomas Entertainment.

THE DISTINGUISHED JOSEFFY

“King Cole II” at Powers’ for Three Nights and a Matinee—The Pearl Melville Company All the Week at Redmond’s

The event of the coming week in amusement circles will, of course, be the appearance of Theodore Thomas and his superb orchestra of sixty musicians, assisted by our own glorious Oratorio Society. This society is rapidly taking a front ground in the encouragement and promotion of music in this city. To them and their director, that tireless worker, A. H. Morehead, is Grand Rapids indebted for the delightful concerts given here by Mr. Gilmore last spring. Artistically and musically the concert to be given by Mr. Thomas and the Oratorio next Tuesday evening will be vastly superior to the one offered by Mr. Gilmore. It is but just to state that in this broad assertion no reference is intended in comparison of the manner of execution. The quality and quantity of selections will be of a much higher order, judiciously interspersed with what is called popular and familiar music. On this occasion Grand Rapids will be particularly fortunate in the appearance of the distinguished pianist, Rafael Joseffy. This will be the first appearance in this city of the justly renowned performer. Below is the program to be presented:

Overture, Tannhaeuser                        Wagner

Andante, from Fifth Symphony                Beethoven

From the Creation, “By Thee With Bliss”        Haydn

        Soli, Chorus and Orchestra.

Damnation of Faust                                Berlioz

        Invocation—Minuet of the Will-o’-the Wisps,

        Dance of the Sylphs, Rakoczy March.

                INTERMISSION.

Ride of the Walkyries                                Wagner

Traeumerei                                        Schumann

        String Orchestra

Concerto “E Minor”                                Chopin-Taussig

        Allegro, Maestoso e risoluto, Romanza,

        Larghetto, Rondo, Vivace,

                Rafael Joseffy

From the Elijah, “He Watching Over Israel”        Mendelssohn

        Chorus and Orchestra

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2                        Liszt

Soloists, Mr. Rafael Joseffy, Mrs. Etta Yale, Mr. L. P. Eddy.

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451

No source, n.d.

THE ORATORIO

A week from Monday night will be one of the greatest musical events in the history of Grand Rapids. It is not every society that can boast of a society such as the Oratorial Society is, and our citizens have reason to be proud of such an organization. The chorus will be one of the largest and best ever gotten together in this city, and the orchestra will be enlarged and strengthened by the best musicians from Chicago and Detroit. Few people know what it means to prepare and present an oratorio like the “Messiah,” but those of the chorus, who have spent one or two evenings a week all winter in rehearsing the difficult music have an idea of the work involved. But the man who thoroughly appreciates it, and knows what it means to put in time, strength, patience and even hard cash, is Mr. Morehead, the director. This is no “ad,” and we hesitate to say all in praise of that gentleman’s hard, untiring efforts that should be said to let people know how much they are indebted to him in elevating the musical taste of the city and then supplying the demand for the best class of productions. That the public will show their appreciation by packing the great hall full to the doors, we have not the least doubt.

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452

No source, n.d.

AN IMPORTANT CHANGE

Two New Members Added to the Firm of Geo. D. Herrick & Co.

A quartette of Heavy Weights in the Music Business

It is always a pleasure to note the business advancement of deserving men.

There are few large firms in the city but what have one or more members who by faithful hard work have won their responsible positions into the management and profits of the business. Progressive firms are generally glad to instill this new and energetic blood into their business especially when they find one possessed of superior qualifications.

Among the important changes that came with the new year was the admission of Messrs. Albert H. Morehead and H. W. Nelson as members of the firm of Geo. D. Herrick & Co., music dealers. Mr. Nelson is a son of C. D. Nelson of the late firm, a very popular young man, and the present efficient book keeper. Mr. Morehead is the well known musical director and has been in the employ of the firm for the past year or more, he is one of the most energetic and popular business men in the city and his good fortune has been fairly earned by unceasing work and strict attention to business. Mr. Morehead has done much to advance the musical interests in the city in a general way by cultivating among the people a taste for a high standard of music that has before been unknown, and the generous response from the public show that his efforts have been appreciated. The form’s success during the first year of their existence was far beyond their expectations, and the second year which has just closed, records one of the most prosperous seasons in the history of the trade.

The firm will still be known as Geo. D. Herrick & Co., composed of Geo. D. Herrick, C. D. Nelson, H. W. Nelson and A. H. Morehead.

The instruments handled by the firm are from the leading manufacturers, only those that have long established reputations for durability, exquisite finish and fine quality of tone.

They are such instruments as sell without resorting to the arguments and schemes of a criminal lawyer to convince a customer of their worth. True merit will be appreciated by intelligent people without using a sledge hammer to pound it into them.

Their holiday trade was something enormous, and ten new instruments have already been received since Christmas to replace those sold. Geo. D. Herrick & Co. are to be congratulated upon the strength secured by the new members, and the people of Western Michigan will find it advantageous to see them when their minds are made up to buy. They may be found at 18 Fountain street.

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453

Grand Rapids Democrat, Oct 23, 1889

AMUSEMENTS

The Theodore Thomas concert last night was in every way a grand success. Grand Rapids can now boast that it is able to appreciate artistic orchestration even more than an artistic minstrel show. There has been a really wonderful growth in this direction since Thomas was here in 1882. He then declared he would never come to Grand Rapids again, but his audience last night was so genuinely pleased and so thoroughly demonstrative that there is good reason for hoping he will come again soon. The empty seats in Hartman’s hall last evening were unexpectedly few. Theodore Thomas has the reputation of being always on time, and there was very little time wasted after the clock struck eight. The programme opened with a Wagner piece, the overture from Tannhaeuser. Although this overture embraces all of Wagner’s characteristics, yet it is not oppressive with too much force. It is full of majesty and repose. People who have thought Wegner nothing but noise and discord must have been shocked last evening to find that both were lacking. The stately Tannhaeuser was followed by Beethoven’s Andante from the fifth symphony, which was so loudly applauded that Mr. Thomas not only bowed but he even smiled. The third number was Haydn’s “By Thee with Bliss,” with chorus and orchestra, and Mr. Eddy and Mrs. Yale for soli. The number was given satisfactorily and was evidently enjoyed by the people in the chairs. Mr. Eddy and Mrs. Yale did not disappoint the expectations of their friends. The chorus number was followed by “Damnation of Faust” by Berlioz. The whole three parts of the “Damnation” are characterized by the word weird. The title of the composition raises expectations which are more than realized. Berlioz excels in music pictures. In the second part, “Dance of the Sylphs,” the light and gauzy sylphs were all but visible and the Rokoczy march was simply Rokoczy. After a short intermission which was spent by the audience in a vain effort to recall Thomas, the orchestra gave Wagner’s “Ride of the Walkyries.” This is one of the most wonderful of all musical compositions and is like the “Damnation of Faust” in that it is a weird musical painting but there the similarity ends. Walkyries are immense white, ghostly creatures of northern mythology and they ride on the wind. There is an uninterrupted wind accompaniment and the soughing and whistling of a northern pine forest is the most prominent feature. This grand and tremenduous [sic] picture of storm fiends was followed by Schumann’s soft and low “Dreams,” or “Traumerei.” This is so familiar that even the musically uneducated could feel its beauty and see what a wonderful thing the Thomas orchestra is. The people demanded repetition, and Mr. Thomas graciously commenced at the “Romanza” and gave the last half a second time. Next on the programme was Chopin-Tausig’s E minor piano concerto. When Joseffy had finished the cold-blooded, unmusical, unappreciative, Grand Rapids audience forgot their dignity and stamped and whistled like mad. Joseffy gave for an encore a composition of his own, which was like a bubbling spring and was roundly applauded. Next came the chorus from Elijah, led by Mr. Morehead. The oratorio chorus can never resist an opportunity to express their admiration and affection for their jolly and ambitious leader. He is “clapped” by the enthusiastic singers, even when Theodore Thomas is around. The concert closed with the good old stand by rhapsody No. 2. Every one who plays on anything attempts Liszt’s Hungarian No. 2, but it is impossible to render this except with orchestra and even a full sized orchestra is kept hustling. The syncopation and constant acceleration offer an opportunity for showing the marvelous openess [sic] of the sixty instruments, and Grand Rapids knows what’s what. There is only one Theodore Thomas.

NOTE: On Back of this clipping:

SULLIVAN

THE REMAINS OF SIR ARTHUR LAID TO REST

London, Nov. 27—With all the pomp and ceremony which might have attended the obsequies of a member of the Royal Family the remains of Sir Arthur Sullivan, who died here Thursday last, were interred in St. Paul’s Cathedral today.

Long before the hour fixed for the first portion of the services in the chapel royal, immense crowds assembled in the vicinity of the late residence of the deceased and St. James Palace, while every point of vantage around St. Paul’s was taken up hours prior to the arrival of the cortege. The immense crowds lining the route traversed by the procession testified to the widespread sympathy of the public, while both the chapel royal and St. Paul’s were filled to their capacity with privileged ticket holders. The queen, Emperor William of Germany, the Prince of Wales and other royalties were represented, while the musical and dramatic world attended in large numbers. The presence of Joseph H. Choate, the United States ambassador, and other diplomats and numerous Americans including the Countess of Essex and Mrs. Ronalds, testified to the international position held by the dead composer.

The coffin was embedded in magnificent floral tributes sent from far and near in such numbers that they filled four hearses.

At the entrance of the chapel in Ambassador’s court, the body was met by the pall-bearers, Sir Squire Bancroft-Brancroft, the actor-manager Sir Frederick Bridge, the organist of Westminster Abbey; Sir Alexander Campbell Mackenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music; Sir George Henry Lewis, the well-known lawyer; Sir John Stainer, inspector of music to the education department; Sir Geo. Clement Martin, organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral; Lieut. Col. Arthur Collins, general usher to the queen and …

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454

Grand Rapids Evening Leader, March 5, 1889

Grand Rapids Democrat, December 28, 1889

PLAYS AND PLAYERS

Fifteen minutes after 8 o’clock last evening every seat in Hartman’s Hall was filled and the sign, “Standing room only,” was displayed from the box office. The success of Handel’s great Oratorio “The Messiah,” as given last night by the Oratorio society under the direction of A. H. Morehead firmly established the Oratorio in Grand Rapids. The chorus of 150 voices and the orchestra responded to Mr. Morehead’s baton with a perfection of drill that surpassed the expectations of the audience. Miss Grace Hiltz, of Chicago, who took the place of Miss Johnston, was encored for her fine rendering of the soprano solo, “Rejoice, O Daughter of Zion;” Mrs. Tilden’s “He Shall Feed His Flock like a Shepherd;” Mr. Knorr’s tenor, “He that Dwelleth in the Heavens,” and Mr. Eddy’s bass, “Behold I tell You a Mystery,” received the recognition from the audience which they deserved, but it was the magnificent work of the chorus and orchestra which elicited the most enthusiasm from the audience, the rendering of every chorus being greeted with a thunder of applause. Nothwithstanding [sic] this appreciation of the chorus work, a small minority made the usual start for home before the closing grand chorus anthem, “Worthy is the Lamb,” but were for the most part rebuked back into their seats by the hisses which at once began to be heard from every part of the hall. People who come to the Oratorio should be prepared to stay to the close and should leave their small talk, babies and poodles at home. As the last chorus ended, the young director, who had so successfully conducted the Messiah and to whom Grand Rapids music lovers owe a debt of gratitude for having done so much toward the introduction of this grandest type of musical composition into this city, was rained upon by a shower of large and small bouquets thrown by the chorus. Overcome by exhaustion and surprise, Mr. Morehead sank down and buried his face in his hands for a few seconds but was soon roused to receive congratulations on the Oratorio’s success.

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455

Grand Rapids Telegram Herald, October 8, 1887

THE HARMONIC CONCERT

A goodly sized audience assembled at Todd’s Hall last evening to hear the programme presented by the Harmonic Society, under the directorship of Mr. A. H. Morehead. The first part consisted of selections from orchestra and vocal solos with orchestral accompaniment, and its performance demonstrated one fact thoroughly, and that is, that Mr. Morehead is an orchestra director of more than usual ability, and is a decided acquisition to our city in that regard. The orchestral number “Beggar Student” was pleasingly rendered.

“O’er Waves of Ocean,” a soprano solo by Mrs. Lloyd Brezee was a gem. Mrs. Brezee’s voice is very pure and brilliant and in this number was artisticly [sic] employed. Besides showing fine technique, expression, etc., Mrs. Brezee was more at ease with orchestral accompaniment than is usual with Grand Rapids soloists. In short she sang like an artist. The orchestra did well in the splendid accompaniment to the bass solo from “The Creation,” sung by Mr. Eddy. The gentleman was roundly applauded. He is always a favorite and deservedly so.

“First Spring Day” from Mendelssohn, sung by the chorus without accompaniment, showed drilling by the conductor.

The first part closed with a pleasing duet for French horn and flute, accompanied by the orchestra.

Then followed Mozart’s Grand 12th Mass by a chorus of some forty voices, orchestra and Mrs. Brezee, Mrs. Patten, Mr. Kromer and Mr. Eddy, soloists. A few more tenors and a ponderous bass or two would have added to the effectiveness of the chorus, still the thorough work of the conductor was apparent throughout and the general effect was fine. Of course the larger the chorus the better, in such a noble work as the 12th Mass.

Mr. Morehead is to be congratulated on the successful issue of this concert, and the demonstration of his ability as director of both chorus and orchestra.

                                                Musicus.

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456

No source, n.d.

“THE CREATION”

For two or three years various attempts have been made in this city to present Haydn’s sacred oratorio of “The Creation,” but all have proven unsuccessful until Mr. A. H. Morehead formed his oratorio society last winter, which presented it at Hartman’s hall last evening to one of the largest and most fashionable as well as critical audiences ever seen in Grand Rapids. The stage was beautifully decorated in flowers.

The chorus consisted of one hundred voices and the orchestra consisted of thirty pieces, several musicians coming from Detroit to assist. The perfect manner in which the difficult choruses were sung shows the perfect training that has been given by the director, Mr. A. H. Morehead. His unceasing ardor and fine musical ability cannot be too highly spoken of. The work of the carefully directed orchestra from the opening description of chaos to the magnificent ending  was simply perfect. The soloists, Mrs. F. M. Davis, Mrs. Lloyd Brezee, Mr. H. B. Saynor, and Mr. L. P. Eddy, were led by the greatest of our lyric tenors, Mr. Theo. B. Toedt, of New York. A finer or more sympathetic voice has never been heard in Grand Rapids. The graceful arias of “Uriel” were sung by him, the air “In Native Worth” completely captivating an audience that is always cold and undemonstrative. Mrs. Davis sang the difficult and bird-like arias of “Gabriel.” She is a very lovely lady with a voice full of sweetness and melody, and never ceases to be a favorite in her own city. She was presented with two beautiful baskets of roses after the solo, “The Marvelous Work.” Mr. Eddy sang the basso airs of “Raphael.” One of the grandest of Haydn’s conception was the “Rolling and Foaming Billows,” in which is depicted the angry and restless waves, and Mr. Eddy received much praise for his magnificent handling of it. Mr. Saynor and Mrs. Brezee sang the airs of “Adam and Eve,” which are introduced in the third part. Mrs. Brezee looked charming in a white satin gown trimmed in pearls, and the ease with which she trilled forth the melodious airs was perfect.

The grand and familiar chorus, ”The Heavens are Telling,”  was probably familiar to nearly every one in that vast audience, but as it was presented with full orchestral accompaniment, each individual singer seemed to understand the true expression of it, and it burst on the audience with a grand and new interpretation of “the glory of God and the wonders of his work.”

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457

No source, n.d.

AMUSEMENTS

The Schubert Club gave their sixth annual concert in Hartman’s Hall last evening, where was assembled a refined and distinguished audience, representing the best taste and culture in the city. The event certainly marked, and illustrated conclusively, the advancement and musical gain made by this progressive organization since their appearance a year ago. The Schubert Club flourishes and exerts an influence in musical circles that is being felt and appreciated, and which is fruitful of much good. It is a strong and harmonious society, always ambitious to do better things. The program presented last evening was varied and most excellent in choice, and each number was of a high order of composition. The
Schuberts never sang better; their shading was most delicate and artistic. They were enthusiastically encored at each appearance. Director Morehead certainly covered himself with glory for the efficient manner in which he waved the baton over the Schuberts, and the magnificent orchestra which contributed in no small way toward the general success of the evening. Miss Genevra E. Johnstone, of Chicago, is a most admirable soprano. Her voice is strong, wonderfully clear, and is under perfect control. It is highly cultivated and most delightfully effective in all its range. Miss Johnston uses her grand gift with most graceful ease, and she evinces confidence in the utterance of every note. In the higher register there was absolute freedom from any apparent limit of power or evidence of straining. Miss Johnston was loudly recalled in both of her selections. Mrs. Frances McWhorter gave invaluable assistance in her piano accompaniment. It is pleasing to chronicle that the Schuberts scored a gratifying success musically and financially, besides willing many new and staunch friends among those who are disposed to encourage and foster music in this city. This society is doing a noble work and are most deserving of the encouragement they are receiving.

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458

Grand Rapids Democrat, February 5, 1893

A. H. Morehead went to his old home in Richmond, Ind., Tuesday, where he sang in a concert given there Tuesday evening by the Philharmonic Society. The Richmond Register, in its report of the concert, pays Mr. Morehead many very pretty compliments, which were especially pleasing to Mr. Morehead from the fact that he had not been a resident of Richmond for seven years. While in Richmond, Mr. Morehead was conductor of the Philharmonic Society and did for that city what he is now going for Grand Rapids in musical matters.

The appearance of Al Morehead, says the Register, was the signal for enthusiastic applause. Richmond thinks as much of the gentleman as he does of his old home. And that is a great deal. At the close of the beautiful duet by the tenor and bass, the applause was long and loud. Mr. Morehead acknowledged by bowing, but Mr. Grant, by way of a delicate compliment to his friend, did not respond.

When Al Morehead closed a solo the sudden stillness was broken by the voice of a young man who plainly said, “I wouldn’t mind taking a few lessons from him.” It proved as the Register said; whoever failed to attend missed one of the richest treats that the city has ever afforded.

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459

Grand Rapids Evening Leader, June 19, 1889

PLAYS AND PLAYERS

Of the great bandmasters and directors of America P. S. Gilmore is perhaps most popular with the people. A musician in every sense of the word, he is a marked contrast to Theodore Thomas who plays only for educated and cultivated ears. Pat. Gilmore—he is proud of the fact that he is Pat—grasps his magic baton merrily and his splendid organization proceeds to please all who listen whether their ears are musically attuned or not. It is a long way from the overture to Tannhauser down to “McLeod’s Reel,” but Gilmore does not hesitate to take the jump for he knows that among the 4,000 auditors there may be 500 whose hearts will beat in unison with the grand Wagnerian movements while 3,500 feet will catch the infectious joyousness of the air that is now oftenest used to describe the hilarious incidents of “McBranigan’s Party.” Gilmore has often visited Grand Rapids but his triumphal re-entrée yesterday under the auspices of the Grand Rapids Oratorio society rather eclipses any of his former levees, in this state. Aside from his splendid military band, the perfectness of whose work the breakers of two oceans and all between have applauded these many years, he came with an imposing array of names. Hartman Hall was filled in every available inch of space at both the afternoon and evening performances and an immense crowd surrounded the edifice during the entire progress of the jubilee.

The Oratorio society filled the entire stage, being seated on raised seats, and the soprani and alti presented a bewildering picture of loveliness, and dimity, and lace and June roses, the conventional black evening dress of the male chorus on the elevated seats at the rear forming a splendid foil and embracing the prettiness of the whole. The band opened the festival with one of Beethoven’s exquisite overtures, and the matinee programme introduced Herr De Danckwardt, the Swedish tenor, Madame Stone-Barton, the soprano, Miss Helen Dudley Campbell, a glorious contralto, and the incomparable basso Myron W. Whitney. Miss Campbell in the page song from Meyerbeer’s “Huguenots” awakened memories of the sweet, the gracious and the great Annie Louise Cary, and made a distinct hit. At the fifth number Gilmore resigned the baton to Albert H. Morehead, and the young director of the Oratorio Society, without a moment’s hesitation, sent the band and his splendidly drilled chorus off into the grand harmonies of the “Hallelujah chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.” It was an inspiring moment. No ear that can be “stirred at the concord of sweet sounds” ever listened to the “Hallelujah chorus” without feeling that the soul was uplifted. It was not without a feeling of pride that Mr. Morehead must have bowed his acknowlegdments [sic] to the enthusiastic plaudits of the great audience and it was with equal pride and joyous satisfaction that those of his loyal chorus who sat nearest the musicians heard them say “Bravo, bravo, young man!” as the director made his way off the stage.

The evening was but a repetition of the afternoon in respect to the triumphs of the band and the chorus. Needless here and now to record the perfectness and the precision with which the band executes each and every number and the multiplicity of the encores the organization was compelled to respond to. The band makes no mistakes. Not truer than the needle to the pole are the …

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460

Detroit Free Press, June 6, 1891

The Schubert Club’s Concert

The concert by the Schubert Club of Grand Rapids, at the Detroit Opera House last evening, was the means of drawing an audience which should cause the musicians of Detroit to hang their heads in shame. Even though the Schubert Club were not entitled to a prominent place as musical  organizations of its kind go, being an earnest and conscientious musical society of the second city of the state, it should have, as a mere matter of courtesy, the attention of musicians of the first city of the state. And, moreover, the club is worthy of attention musically, and has had occasion several times during the past season to extend a liberal patronage to Detroit organizations at Grand Rapids.

The return which was given last night was, to say the least, very shappy and ill-mannered treatment.

The Schubert Club was not in its full strength last night, four of its number being absent, but the work was highly creditable. While the club does not pretend to include solo voices, it possesses some, especially Clarence A. Cotton, basso, who gave a solo number, which are of much merit. Mr. Cotton has a robust basso voice, of sympathetic quality, and it is used with considerable intelligence. The club’s numbers were certainly of a much higher order than those heard at the hands of university glee clubs in this city. It has devoted much time to its work and has attained a high position for its ensemble, and exquisite shading of the music.

The personnel of the club is as follows: P. K. Miller, B. A. Beneker, and Charles Fasoldt, first tenors; W. H. Loomis, A. E. Kromer and C. E. Whitcomb, second tenors; Fred Dean, J. A. Morrison, Will Jamison and W. C. Wurgler, first bass; Clarence A. Cotton, J. A. Westerhoff, A. Ed. Robinson and O. R. Wilmarth, second bass; director, A. H. Morehead.

Assistance was rendered on the programme by Misses Blanche O. and Cora M. Vet in piano and violin numbers. Miss Blanche Vet gave a very pleasing demonstration of her ability upon the piano, but her violin solo number was not well played, being too difficult for one of her years. The duo for two violins by the Misses Vet was cordially applauded.

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461

Grand Rapids Evening Leader, April 29, 1890

PLAYS AND PLAYERS

There were long rows of empty seats in Hartman’s hall last night when Director Morehead stepped out before the well rehearsed Philharmonic club and began waving his baton as he led the players through a tuneful selection from “The Beggar Student.” The hands that were there came together with warmth, when the last strain died away, but the earnestness was increased if anything when the overture “Martha” was finished. Mrs. Yale’s clear voice filled the hall in Bach-Gounod’s “Ave Maria,” but the lady declined to respond to an encore—in fact Mr. Morehead established the precedent early in the programme and it was wisely followed during the evening by others. Interest seemed to center in the appearance of Mrs. Withey and the lady was enthusiastically received as she took a seat at the piano to play a concerto, with orchestral accompaniment. Her performance was easy and graceful, and the earnestness with which the musical people of the audience applauded her efforts attested to its thoroughness. The flute solo by Mr. Hobart Davis, and the clarionet duo by Messrs. John Muhling and W. S. Bronson were enjoyed by the audience. Musically the entertainment  was a success, financially no one made a cent out of the undertaking. A 25-cent concert of such a character will not pay in Grand Rapids. The same people would have been present had the admission been 50 cents instead of 25.

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462

Grand Rapids Eagle, August 29, 1889

AMUSEMENTS

Planquette’s delightful opera, the “Chimes of Normandy”—or, as it is sometimes called the “Bells of Corneville”—is well known to theatre goers as one of the most satisfactory in the whole range of contemporaneous operatic compositions. While it is usually classified as light opera, it may properly be said to occupy a middle ground between comic and grand opera. There is seriousness in its theme. The libretto is bright and sparkling, the plot has dramatic strength, and the score is opulent in choral and symphonic effects, while affording unusual opportunities for soloists.

To produce this opera in its entirety is an ambitious undertaking for amateur talent. Its strength  in dramatic work. It is unnecessary to say that the technique, or “business” of the stage, is acquired only after years of practical experience, by persons apt and imitative—and too often, alas! Is never fully acquired even by professionals. It is therefore not to be expected that a company of people selected almost at random from among our friends and neighbors, should at one step achieve that for which others, specially selected and trained, strive for through years of earnest endeavor—and frequently strive for in vain. Thus much having been premised, it remains only to add, that the dramatic portion of last evening’s presentation, with one or two exceptions, was weak, amateurish, and insipid. For the reasons given above, it could not have been otherwise. But it should be added that there was no lack of earnest endeavor on the part of each participant. To attempt the physically impossible, is necessarily to fall short of entire success.

From a musical point of view, it is possible to speak of the production in terms of high commendation. The choral support was confessedly the best and strongest ever heard in this opera on a Grand Rapids stage. The effects of careful and patient rehearsal were here most apparent. And the various soloists, with scarcely an exception, acquitted themselves most creditably, so far as the musical rendition of their roles was concerned; albeit the lights and shades of musical expression must necessarily suffer more or less, unless the dramatic action be synchronous.

Mrs. Lloyd Brezee enacts the role of Serpolette with much ease and abandon, and sings it in a manner which is a genuine delight. Her voice is a rather light but singularly pure soprano, and she has the discretion not to reach after notes just beyond her range. The spirit of the role dominates her action, and her familiarity with stage “business” enables her to interpret intelligibly her conception of the character. Mrs. Brezee appeared to best advantage, perhaps, as the Marchioness, in the third act, where her vivacity and abandon won prompt and spontaneous recognition.

Mrs. Davis’ delicious mezzo soprano carried the role of Germaine with marked success, receiving several well merited encores. The role is a far quieter one, so far aws action is concerned, than that of Serpolette, and this fact was in Mrs. Davis’ favor. If the latter were thoroughly versed in the methods of the stage, her interpretation of the character would be in all respects praiseworthy. While her musical expression and accentuation must of necessity suffer from lack of such familiarity, the bell-like clearness and full volume of her tones go far to redeem her dramatic shortcomings. Her interpretation of the role is remarkably successful, considering the disadvantages above noted.

Russell H. Buchanan has a strong baritone voice, and employs it with good effect in the role of Henri. Further experience would enable him to infuse more spirit and expression into the representation. The successful interpretation of this role depends largely upon the spirit which dominates it. Certain features of Mr. Buchanan’s work, however, are highly commendable. Mr. A. E. Robinson, in his excess of zeal to make an expressive portrayal of Gaspard, rather over reaches the mark, yet manages to score some effective points. Mr. J. D. Kromer is a pleasing tenor, and sings the role of Grenicheaux very satisfactorily—though with some nasal intonation. M. B. Streeter acquits himself creditably as the Baille, and Levi Johnson, as the Notary, furnishes a great deal of merriment. The former, in particular, works untiringly, and by the interpolation of a considerable amount of “aside” business, and several local hits, makes the role a decided “go.”

Miss Maud Clay as Gertrude, Fanny Earle as Jeanne, Nellie Kirkland as Suzanne, and Mrs. Frank Holton as Manette, also deserve honorable mention.

As before stated, the ladies and gentlemen of the chorus did excellent vocal work, throughout the production, and thus contributed incalculably to the success of the entertainment. The following named ladies and gentlemen constituted the chorus: Mesdames Fred Aldworth, Cora Wenham, the Misses Donna Moore, Sallie Knapp, Nellie Kirkland, Carrie Heald, Nellie Schultz, Ettie Norcott, Anna Skelding, Agnes Taylor and the Schubert club, including Messrs. B. A. Beneker, P. K. Miller, Huntley Russell, A. E. Kromer, W. H. Loomis, Frank Hall, J. A. Morrison, W. C. Wurster, O. B. Wilmarth, John A. Westerhoff, N. S. Scribner.

The costumes were rich and extremely well selected, as regards the blending of colors. The orchestration, under direction of Mr. Morehead, left little or nothing to be desired, and the production, as a whole, deserved the liberal attendance and warm enthusiasm which is called out. The sale of seats for tonight is large, and it is safe to say that the house will be well filled both tonight and tomorrow night, as it should.

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463

Grand Rapids Daily Democrat, January 4, 1889

AMUSEMENTS

Fortunate indeed were those who received invitations to the Schubert club complimentary concert given last night at Hartman hall, for it was in every way one of the most enjoyable musical events of the season. The great hall was filled, not to overflow, but it was necessary to bring in chairs to furnish seats to a few late comers. Following is the programme as announced and given, except as to encores, under the direction of Mr. A. H. Morehead:

“The Miller’s Daughter,” Hartel; tenor solo. P. K. Miller, baritone solo, R. R. Buchanan; Schubert club.

Serenade (duet for French horn and flute), Titt’l; orchestra.

(a) “Oft’ when Eve,” L. DeCall; (b) “Tar’s Song,” Hatton; Schubert club.

La Campanella (Etude), Liszt; Miss Helen M. Kendall.

Les Sylphides, Valse Caprice, Bachmann; orchestra.

German Warrior’s Oath and Prayer, Mohring; Schubert club and orchestra; baritone solo by J. A. Morrison; solo quartette, J. D. Kromer, W. H. Loomis, Dr. W. F. Hoyt, O. B. Wilmarth.

Aria and prison scene from “Il Trovatore,” Verdi; Mrs. Lloyd Brezee, B. A. Beneker and Schubert club.

Every number was heartily encored, and every encore was honored except those given the second and sixth numbers. In response to the first encore “Annie Laurie” was given; to the third, the “Tar’s Song” was repeated; in response to the enthusiastic encore given Miss Kendall for her fine rendition of Liszt’s piano adaptation or imitations of Paganini that lady gave a gavotte with much spirit and finish; and the storm of applause which greeted the last number continued until the aria was repeated, when the applause again burst forth. Mrs. Brezee was in magnificent voice and never sang better, while Mr. Beneker’s clear, sweet, strong tenor was something in the nature of a revelation. The Monks’ Miserere (by the Schuberts) in the prison scene was very effective. The singing by the club all through was admirable, displaying not only thorough, conscientious training, but also a clearness and sweetness rarely found conjoined with so much strength in male voices, This quality of voice was specially noticeable in the soft, clear “faraway” finale of the “Tar’s Song.” Altogether the concert was a great credit to the Schuberts and all assisting them ,not forgetting Director Morehead and Mr. W. R. Cornelius, accompanist. Such a concert by local talent is an honor to the city.

Mrs. Brezee was so lame from the result of the runaway accident yesterday afternoon that she moved with some difficulty when led upon the stage last night to sing the aria  from “Trovatore.” But her voice was lame in no respect.

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464

Photo of The Schuberts of 1887

Two articles on the back of the picture:

Some Kick!

Coldwater, Dec. 13 — Within a few minutes after it had been given a long draught of anti-freeze mixture, Mrs. Frank Purdy’s Ford skated across a sidewalk and leaped into the plate glass front of a grocery, eyewitnesses also asserting that it hopped a baby’s go-kart in its path without touching it.

GERMAN PUPILS MUST NOT MARCH IN STEP, FRENCH SAY

ThIer, Germany, Dec. 13—Any German school teacher or calisthenics instructor in the area of French occupation who orders or permits his pupils to march in step or do any other exercises resembling military drill will be severely punished, according to an order just published by Gen. Andlauer, the French commander. France is taking no chances on the training of a new army for Germany.

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465

Grand Rapids Democrat, June 18?, 1889

Big Efforts Rewarded

The grand Gilmore jubilee chorus of 300 voices had its last rehearsal last evening in the large hall. Just previous to singing the “Hallelujah, chorus,” with which the rehearsal concluded, L. P. Eddy, president of the Oratorio society, stepped down on the platform and announced that he intended making a speech, He spoke of the ability which Mr. Morehead had shown in training the chorus and finally stepping up to Mr. Morehead, presented him with a magnificent diamond stud on behalf of the members of the chorus. Mr. Morehead was so surprised that his lips seemed to be sealed, but he expressed his everlasting gratitude for the esteem the chorus appeared to have for him and said that if the work of the chorus this afternoon and evening came up with his expectations, his happiness would be complete. He also stated that it was his greatest ambition to do all he could for the musical enterprises of this city.

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466

Grand Rapids Daily Democrat, December 24, 1890

AMUSEMENTS        

The Grand Rapids Oratorio society gave its third holiday presentation of Handel’s grand production “The Messiah,” at Hartman's hall last evening, under the direction of Albert H. Morehead, conductor, and assisted by the Grand Rapids Philharmonic orchestra. The soloists were Mrs. Etta Yale, soprano; Mrs. Marie Utley-Aldworth, alto; Mr. C. B. Stevens of Detroit, tenor, and Mr. G. C. Shepard, bass. The audience was not a large one, but it was appreciative and thoroughly pleased. The managers of the Oratorio society were not disappointed that the audience was not larger because Grand Rapids is not Chicago, nor Cincinnati, nor Boston. Indeed, it is the smallest city in the country where the annual production of so grand a production as “The Messiah” has been undertaken, and it has been undertaken here by Manager Morehead and his associates with an educational purpose in view rather than with the expectation of larger audiences for many years to come.

The oratorio society last evening was on the whole an artistic and finished production, although there was a smaller proportion of local talent employed. Nor was it expected to be. But on the other hand it is a matter of just pride that such an oratorio can be so satisfactorily handled almost exclusively by local talent. Mrs. Yale was never in better voice, never sang more sweetly and proved surprisingly strong and true in the difficult aria. The rich contralto of Mrs. Utley-Aldworth won for her the heartiest applause. Both of these ladies are pupils of Mrs. E. R. Carpenter and are a credit to her abilities as an instructor. Mr. Shepard rendered the bass solos very acceptably with clear tones and enunciation and remarkable fidelity to the scores, while Mr. Stevens’ full broad and melodious tenor left every one entirely satisfied with Mr. Lavin’s failure to keep his engagement. The choruses, with one or two exceptions, were heartily encored and fully deserved the applause they received. Barring an occasional evidence of lack of adequate ensemble practice the orchestral work was also very creditable.

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467

Grand Rapids Herald, October 18, 1891

LOCAL KINGS OF SONG        

A Galaxy of Notable Grand Rapids’ Vocalists

SWEET VOICED TENORS AND BASSES

Whose Matchless Singing Thrills and Delights the Critics—The Father of Musical Enterprise in the City—Portraits.

Grand Rapids has good reason to be proud of her gentlemen singers. They are not “cranky,” as many musicians are, they are possessed of good voices, they sing intelligently, and they are just in their criticisms of each other. While a good many have their voices under more or less cultivation, there are many good undeveloped voices, the quality of which would justify spending much time and some money upon, in every church choir may be found excellent bass and tenor singers, and they are all “home talent,” too. The salaries paid them are ridiculously small, and yet they are expected to leave their business to sing at funerals, and to study voice culture even if the price of the lessons eats up all they can earn. Still the young men are not discouraged, and a very praiseworthy musical spirit is springing up among them in different parts of the city. The old fashioned singing school, to which is owing the fact that our fathers sing so well, is a thing of the past, but there are several singing clubs which are doing much towards  the spread of musical culture. The Schubert Club would be an ornament to any city. The Oratorio Society has done a wonderful amount of hard work, and has given life to several organizations of less prominence. It is the intention of this society to give “The Messiah” every Christmas time.

Grand Rapids has lost some of her best singers— men who have gained prominence elsewhere. Among them might be mentioned S. A. D. Lane, who now lives in New York City. He has made music his profession, and has been very successful in concerts throughout the East. His voice is a powerful bass, and he sings in one of the Brooklyn churches at a high salary.

Then there is Will Harris, who has made a great success of his smooth, soft tenor. He is under a three years’ contract with the Schubert quartet of Chicago. Will Loomis and H. Arthur Stuart were the founders of the Grand Rapids Schubert Club. Mr. Stewart is in Minneapolis in a high position, and is a member of the Cecilian quartet of that city. There are many magnificent voices left in Grand Rapids—voices that will make their owners just as prominent as any who have left the city have become. Some of these voices are specially adapted to solo singing, others to chorus.

Albert P. Morehead

No one has done more for music in Grand Rapids than A. P. Morehead. When he came her some five years ago, there was not a choral society in the city, and it is to his efforts and inspiration, in large part, that several of the present flourishing societies owe their existence. While the singers of the city feel grateful to him for his hearty co-operation I all they have ever tried to do, the business men should remember that on two different occasions, at the times of the Gilmore concerts, he was the means of bringing many people to the city. Mr. Morehead’s musical education is very fine. For three years he studied with one of the best vocal teachers in this country, Senor Alfesi, who turned out many noted singers. He was a hard student, and so “crazy about music” that he became a great favorite of the Senor’s, and at his house met and became familiar with the leading musicians of the day. He sang in the choir with Laura Bellini for two years. Herman Eckhardt, of New York, was his instructor in conducting. On coming to this city Mr. Morehead began to “stir up” the musical people and became director of the Schubert Club, which position he held for five years, and resigned it a short time ago on account of business pressure. In 1887 he organized the Oratorio Society, which has accomplished wonders for the time it has been at work. He has directed the operas Mikado, Chimes of Normandy and Bohemian Girl, which have been given here by local talent. He prefers conducting to singing, and enjoys the grand choruses of oratorios more than he does other kinds of music. His voice is a very high tenor, of wonderful range. His greatest song is “Salve Dimorra” from the opera of Faust. Mr. Morehead is an indefatigable worker, often putting in eighteen hours a day at his business, and interesting himself in music only for the love of it. He is at present the leader of the Fountain-st. choir.

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468

The American Musician, May 18, 1889

May 11.—The Grand Rapids Oratorio Society, of which Albert H. Morehead is the conductor, has secured the services of Gilmore’s Band and the eminent soloists who are accompanying him on his jubilee trip, for two performances on the afternoon and evening of June 18,, which will be given at Hartman’s hall, the largest and best appointed in the city. Some of the numbers to be rendered are: Sextet, “Lucia;” Prayer and Finale, “Lohengrin;” Hail, Bright Abode, “Tannhäuser;” “Hallelujah” Chorus, “Messiah;” “Heavens are Telling,” “Creation;” “Song of the Toreador,” “Carmen.” The Society has a chorus of 250 voices, which will take part in the entertainment, and without doubt it will be a notable affair. Mr. L. P. Eddy, a baritone of much local repute, will take the part of Del Fuente at the afternoon performance, the latter only appearing at the evening concert. They anticipate much success, and I sincerely trust their hopes may be realized.

                                        Thos. J. Quigg.

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469

Grand Rapids?, March 7, 1889

THE MESSIAH

The voice of prophecy speaking in tones of infinite sweetness and swelling into notes of thrilling power and conviction; peans of victory and songs of gladness, saddened with strains of suffering and sorrow, and swelling into a grans hymn of exultation and hope, with strains of glory and visions of the heavenly city—this is the Messiah.

Never has Grand Rapids listened to such a production as that given at Hartman’s Hall Monday evening. The great auditorium was crowded with twenty-four hundred people, embracing not only the wealthy and music-loving people of the city, but also the working man and his family, and there was not a person in the building who did not enjoy and appreciate the grand production of this grand work, Many stood during the entire performance of two hours and a half rather than miss the rare treat.

The stage, with over ten feet of additional space built on for the occasion, was massed with the chorus 150 voices, many of the young ladies appearing in Greek costumes, rising tier above tier from the front, which was effectively arranged with potted plants. In the center was the orchestra of thirty pieces, one of the finest ever gotten together in this city, and in the extreme front the conductor’s stand and seats for the soloists from abroad. Miss Genevra Johnston, who was to have sung the soprano solos, was taken with a severe throat affection and was unable to appear. Her place was most acceptably filled by Miss Grace Hiltz, of Chicago.

Of the rendering of this great masterpiece only praise can be written. The chorus was grand in its volume and execution, and showed the results of the months of hard work they have done. Especially well rendered was the choruses, “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” the sublime “Hallelujah” chorus—the entire audience standing during its rendition—and the last chorus “Worthy is the Lamb that Was Slain.”

Miss Hiltz possesses a remarkably sweet voice, full of expression and rich feeling, albeit somewhat deficient in volume. Her rendering of the air, “Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion,” was greatly appreciated, and the next one, “Come Unto Him,” was exquisite in its clearness and sympathetic phrasing. Miss Hiltz puts herself fully in sympathy both with the theme and the audience, which accounts for her perfect rendition.

Mrs. Tilden possesses a contralto voice of great flexibility and purity, although also lacking in volume. Her solo, “He Was Despised and Rejected,” was especially appreciated. Mr. Knorr was the finest soloist of the evening, possessing a tenor voice especially adapted to oratorio work. His solos were all finely rendered. Mr. Eddy, as basso, pleased the audience with his finely modulated voice, and fully contained the grandeur of his solos. In all parts the singers were fully sustained by the excellent orchestra.

Of the especial honor due the conductor, Mr. Morehead, we shall say but little, as it was so beautifully shown by the tribute paid by the chorus, who, as the last note of the production was given covered their most excellent leader with a perfect shower of bouquets. Mr. Morehead was quite overcome by this testimonial of respect, and the chorus were loud in their applause of one who has been the leading spirit in bringing out this grand oratorio. Mr. Morehead has given much time, hard work and thought to the oratorio, and has never asked for any remuneration. Not only the chorus but his many friends, and they are legion, are proud of him.

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470

Grand Rapids Eagle, 1889

GILMORE’S BAND

And the Oratorio Society—Two Unequalled Musical Performances on Tuesday

Clink !

Clank !

Bang !

And with a mighty swell in the vocal tide, a great blast from the band, vigorous pounding on the anvils and the wild roar of the cannon, the second performance of the Gilmore band, in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Oratorio Society, closed and the vast audience of over 4,000 souls arose and slowly wriggled out of the great Hartman hall, last Tuesday night.

The greatest musical event and the greatest success. That is the universal verdict and it is a just one.

Two such audiences as those that filled Hartman hall, Tuesday afternoon and evening, have never before been seen in Grand Rapids. In point of size, brilliancy, talent, culture and refinement, they were in advance of anything previous to this occasion. In the evening many of the ladies and a number of the gentlemen, … performances the majority of the ladies removed their hats. This latter was something of an innovation here, and it will be much appreciated by the audiences at the theatres and concert halls if continued.

It would be superfluous to comment on Mr. Gilmore and his hand, except to add a few words of praise to that which has already been bestowed upon him. The selections rendered were more particularly music of the heavy order, although some of the best of the popular airs were given, with apparent satisfaction to the audience. The vocal soloists accompanying Mr. Gilmore, surprised the audiences, as some of them had never before been heard of here. But then that is not surprising as the people here are not nearly so familiar with concert singers as they are with operatic stars, which more frequently visit Grand Rapids.

The magnificent bass of Mr. Whitney and the splendid soprano of Madame Stone-Barton, were familiar to many, as was the tenor of Campanini, which is not as good as formerly, but the singing of Signorina DeVere, soprano, Miss Campbell, contralto, and Signor Del Puente, baritone, was a pleasant surprise to everybody, as such a splendid array of talent is a rare thing in Grand Rapids.

But the chorus and its leader were chiefest among the attractions of the performance and in them the Oratorio Society achieved such a success as has never before been gained by any musical organization in the State. The entire stage was filled tier after tier of filmy white, flowers, and pretty faces, rising one above the other, until the gay, debonnaire faces of the male portion appeared as if in relief, attired in black, and seated at the rear of the elevation. It was a grand sight, when at the wave of Director Morehead’s baton, the entire chorus numbering nearly 250 people, rose simultaneously, like one being, as though moved by machinery, so thoroughly were they trained. A sound as of a sudden rush of wind and the change was made, from a sitting to a standing position. The entire chorus was under perfect control and every number was sung in a very satisfactory manner, and liberally applauded. Too much praise cannot be showered on Mr. Morehead, for his efficient work in training the large chorus so successfully. He is undoubtedly the most successful musical director in this part of the country and it is due to his energetic enterprise, that Grand Rapids has an immense musical organization, which is being talked of all over the country. If he continues in his successful course, he will gain a national reputation as a vocal director.

The audiences were astonishingly liberal in their applause, considering that they were crowded and the temperature was anything but frigid. The immense crowds at both performances were well taken care of and little difficulty was experienced in seating them.

As probably 1,000 people attended the entertainments, they will long be remembered in Grand Rapids and referred to as one of the greatest musical successes of the city.

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471

Grand Rapids Leader, October 19, 1890

PLAYS AND PLAYERS

Since the Oratorio society are so soon to come before the public in the grand Thomas concert, a short history of the organization may prove interesting. The society, although one of strongest musical organizations in the city is, nevertheless, one of the youngest, having been organized in 1887.

The Oratorio society is a direct outgrowth of a Harmonic society organized on the West Side by Mr. A. H. Morehead in February, 1887, and which soon after disbanded. This Harmonic society was distinctly a West Side organization, and gave its first concert Oct. 9, 1887, in the old skating rink, then situated at the corner of Second and Scribner streets—a spot now graced by the handsome new German M. E. church. Mozart’s beautiful Twelfth Mass was given, Mr. Morehead conducting, with a chorus of 60 voices, an orchestra of 18 pieces, and Mrs. Lloyd Brezee, Mrs. L. E. Patten, Mr. J. D. Kromer, and Mr. L. P. Eddy as soloists. Although the concert was a complete success it proved to be the society’s first and last effort.

Not long after this some of the musical people were spending an evening socially when Mrs. Mary Aldworth, nee Utley, expressed the wish that the East Side might have such an organization, the conversation having turned upon the recent production of the Twelfth Mass by the Harmonic society. Mr. Morehead replied that if the ladies would get the singers together, he would willingly teach them without charge. This was sufficient for the ladies, and the following week about 20 prominent singers assembled at Chase Bros.’ music store and organized a “Choral Society,” with Mr. Morehead as conductor, at the same time leaving to him the choice of the music to be studied.

That grand oratorio, “The Creation,” was selected, other singers joined the society, and on May 15, 1888, it was produced with the most complete and thorough success.

This stimulated the members to greater efforts and with the greatest enthusiasm that glorious oratorio, “The Messiah,” was taken up for study, the membership increasing  from 85 to 150. All the citizens remember its production on March 4th last. They remember how the great Hartmann hall was crowded to the doors, and, if they were present they have not yet forgotten the emotions that thrilled them as they listened to its sublime strains.

The society’s next, and perhaps greatest effort, was in June last in connection with the great Gilmore festival. They disappointed no one and it would be difficult to decide which the vast audiences enjoyed most, the part of the programme furnished by Gilmore, or the singing of the Oratorio chorus, 250 strong. It was a splendid achievement and even the great Patrick S. very graciously and sincerely complimented both the society and its talented director.

The society might very properly be called “Morehead’s Oratorio society” for he is responsible for its organization and his untiring zeal and devotion to his art has placed it in the enjoyable position it now occupies. The citizens may not, and probably do not, realize the amount of tact and patience required to properly teach, rehearse and produce an oratorio but the members of the society can tell many tales of the time and labor spent by Mr. Morehead. He receives no compensation as conductor and desires none. It is done solely because of his love for music. Mr. Morehead received a thorough musical education, but at the solicitation of his parents entered an active business life, giving up music only as an amusement and an art, and were he a less successful business man it would seem that he had made a mistake in not devoting himself wholly to music which he so thoroughly understands and appreciates. Grand Rapids is proud of him and his work. The members of the society have often testified their regard for him, on one occasion by the presentation of a handsome diamond pin. Another time as the concert was closing with a grand burst of applause, the members of the chorus who were all massed upon the stage, rose and showered down upon their successful conductor a perfect shower of bouquets which they had worn for that purpose. As The Leader scribe remembers it Mr. Morehead looked very much surprised, then radiant, and, if it must be told, buried his face in his handkerchief. The reader can guess for himself what he was doing. The reporter did not have an opportunity to ask him.

For several weeks past this society has been very busy preparing for the musical treat to be given the 23rd inst., and have their part of the Thomas concert programme carefully prepared. The choruses which they are to give are “He Watches Over Israel” from “Elijah,” and the duet and chorus “By Thee With Bliss” from the “Creation.”

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472

Grand Rapids Telegram Herald, February 14, 1888

MUSIC AT THE THEATRES.

Music soothes the soul, charms the ear, arouses the fine feelings, enthuses emotion and, to use an ordinary expression, drives dull care away.

There are those who do not know the first rudiments of the score, yet who have capabilities of responding to the most delicate modulation of the art termed divine.

In the population of Grand Rapids there is a various class, some musicians, some who play at music, a few who seeing others who like it merely for its pretty vibrations on the ear and who are as ignorant of the arrangement on paper as they are of Arabic.

The audience which greeted the most able director at Powers’ Grand last night on the occasion of his annual benefit, did not include all of the elements mentioned, which hold in admiration harmonious sound or noise.

Professor Wellenstein is a man who has been much underestimated in this community. He is a master of musical composition. Can transpose Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart and the whole category of celebrated composers at a glance. No better proof of his talent in this direction could be cited than the concert which was given last night under his direction, and that with but a few desultory rehearsals.

It was, as far as the general pleasure and satisfaction of the auditors goes, one of the most acceptable musical programmes yet offered in this city.

The orchestra, composed of twenty-five musicians, gave a remarkable performance. The overture tp “Maritona, “ second to those ears which study for defects and unharmonious sounds, perfect—credit to the musicians who participated—credit to Wellenstein as a director.

Henry C. Post, in his piano solos, always awakes pleasant expectation, and expectation is never disappointed. His art breathes of the tutordom Fatherland. In movement, in fingering and expression, his performance of both numbers was masterly.

Mendelssohn’s familiar “Hear My Prayer” was sung by Mrs. Frank M. Davis, with chorus and orchestra, and added to the lady’s well-won laurels. The number was a trying one by reason of its great length, and Mrs. Davis received the plaudits of her many friends and admirers. She sang with much fervor and her splendid voice blended sweetly with the beautiful chorus.

The second part of the programme introduced the second act of Flotow’s “Martha” with Messrs. Morehead and Saynor and Mrs. Brezee and Mrs. Koon in costume. The very pretty little act was acted and sung in a most admirable manner and all the ladies and gentlemen and the orchestra fully deserved the applause bestowed. Mrs. Lloyd Brezee certainly won the admiration of her friends and surprised those who were strangers to her in her singing of the role of Lady Harries. She attacked the highest notes with no evidence of strain or effort and her modulation was generally pleasing and impressive. She certainly manifested the possession of abundant reserve power and fine taste in the various phases of expressive shading. The lady’s voice is a very sweet one and she captured the audience completely with her effective singing of “The Last Rose of Summer.” Mrs. Brezee is rather a charming actress. She received several very handsome floral compliments.

Miss Myrtle Koon who had won much esteem as a reader and elocutionist certainly gave indisputable evidence that there is much versatility ion her composition. A rare talent that she should encourage by assidious [sic] attention. She was in excellent voice, was graceful in movement and succeeded in giving “Nancy” a pleasing individuality.

A. H. Morehead has endeared himself among the musical fraternity as a director of vocal music. His love for voice, and its opportunities in harmony has urged him, instead of love of gain. He was in clear tone last evening and gave Lionel an excellent consideration both musically and dramatically. H. B. Saynor has reason for encouragement for his graceful presentation of the part of Plunket. He was courageous, conscientious and intelligent. The remainder of the programme comprised two selections by the orchestra and a piano solo by Mr. Post, which were given with the same result of entire pleasure in the audience as the first part already mentioned.

                                J. D. M.

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473

Grand Rapids, n.d.

A PIANO PRESENTATION

The Hallet & Davis Vo. Recognize a Local Musician

The piano used at the Schubert concert recently, is the property of Mr. A. H. Morehead, the popular music director of this city. This instrument is of the Hallet & Davis make, and was presented to Mr. Morehead in recognition of his musical ability by the company.

Mr. Morehead is in the music store of Geo. D. Herrick & Co., at 13 Fountain street and is always pleased to show his customers his piano and the many others like it which are kept in the store by the firm to sell. These pianos are most excellent ones and should be thoroughly investigated before some other make is purchased. Besides this particular make the firm handles many others, and also many makes of organs and other musical instruments. The latest sheet music can also be procured at this popular house.

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474

Grand Rapids Democrat, February 14, 1888

In the benefit tendered to Prof. Wellenstein at Power’s last evening, music lovers were treated to an entertainment varied enough to suit all refined tastes and the exceptional proficiency displayed throughout was highly pleasing to the not very large audience present, which showed its hearty appreciation, not in complimentary and conventional fashion, but in a manner that evidenced true pleasure. The programme embraced a varied line of composition, from the pure melodies of Dudley Buck to the dreamy music of Strauss, the harmonies of Flotow and the grand choral effects of Wagner. Prof. Wellenstein’s orchestra of 20 pieces gave evidence of thorough training, and conscientious practice. The weird movement of Strauss’ “Egyptian March” and the Fantasie by Gounod were the favorites. Mr. H. C, Post’s piano performances were quite remarkable, especially the thoroughness of his technique in the brilliant Galop by Rubinstein. Mrs. F. M. Davis, the leading soprano, rendered the solo portions of Mendelssohn’s “Hear My Prayer” in her usual clear true voice and was ably seconded by the chorus. Miss Utley’s contralto was heard to excellent advantage in Buck’s “Sunset,” the music of which is well adapted to her style of vocalism. In response to a persistent encore she sang a pretty ballad. The gem of the programme was the selection from “Martha.” The ladies of the cast, Mrs. Brezee as Lady Harriet and Miss Myrtle Koon as Nancy entirely surpassed the gentlemen in dramatic action, and had evidently long since passed the “unaccustomedness” period. Both were in good voice, Miss Brezee especially sang her difficult part with surprising naturalness and fluency. Mr. Morehead’s robust tenor was at home in the part of Lionel, and he sang with more than his ordinary clearness and gusto.  The interesting programme closed appropriately with the “Pilgrims’ Chorus” by the orchestra and the vocal “Grand March” from Wagner’s “Tannhauser,” which brought out the strength of the 25 talented voices admirably. The pretty costumes of the ladies of the chorus made a pleasant effect, and the entire concert was conducted in a manner which showed merit and training.

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475

Grand Rapids Telegram Herald, August 31, 1889

AMUSEMENTS

The “Chimes of Normandy” was repeated last evening to an excellent audience. While the results of the three performances are, financially, far from satisfactory, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Brezee and Mr. Morehead have the consolation of an artistic triumph, as well as the assurance that they have contibuted [sic] something memorable to local musical history. The duties which devolved on Mr. Morehead were irksome and difficult and last evening the orchestration was all that could be desired.

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476

No source, n.d.

ENTERTAINED THE PRESS CLUB

Prof. Morehead Gave a Farewell Musical to His Newspaper Friends.

Prof. A. H. Morehead will leave Monday to act as advance agent of the Lavin-House Concert Company, and last evening, as an expression of his good will toward his numerous newspaper friends he gave an informal complimentary musical at the Press Club rooms for the benefit of the members. He was assisted by Miss Jenny Hull, soprano; Miss Letitia Morrisey, contralto;  L. P. Eddy, basso; P. E. Miller, tenor; J. A. Morrison, baritone, and Mrs. F. G. Aldworth, accompanist, and a large company of newspaper men and their wives and sweet hearts attended and by their frequent applause testified to their appreciation of the entertainment. After the program had been rendered light refreshments, coffee and sandwiches were served and an hour was spent in social converse. The program rendered was as follows:

Emmet’s Lullaby                        Arranged by Mr. Morehead

Messrs. Morehead, Miller, Morrison and Eddy

“Had I My Choice”                        Shepard

Mr. Morehead

“First Spring Day”                        Mendelssohn

Miss Hall, Miss Morrisey, Mr. Morehead and Mr. Eddy

Recit—“Comfort Ye”                        From the “Messiah”

Air—“Every Valley”                        Handel

Mr. Morehead

“In Absence”                                D. Buck

Messrs. Morehead, Miller, Morrison and Eddy

”The Crusader’s Love Song”                Pinsuti

Mr. Eddy

Recit.—“With Overflowing Heart”        From “Rebekah”

Air—“The Soft Southern Breeze”        Barnby

Mr. Morehead

“O Hush Thee, My Baby”                Sullivan

Mrs. Hall, Miss Morrisey, Mr. Morehead and Mr. Eddy

“Love’s Sorrow” (by request)        `        Shelley

Mr. Morehead