Old Stoughton Musical Society
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THE ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY
By Mrs. Mary Swan Jones
|Isaac Littlefield, Avon||John B. Thayer, Randolph|
|Horace Willis, Easton||Fred Russell, Easton|
The dinner was spread under a large tent on the village green, beneath
the trees in front of the First Parish Church. There were seats for
about four hundred and thirty people. Rev. John C. Labaree, of the First
Congregational Church, Randolph, asked the divine bless--ing on the
assembly. (Mr. Labaree is a lineal descendant of Mr. Edward Capen, whose
death is mentioned in the records of the Musical Society in Stoughton.
This Mr. Capen was the father of Mr. James Capen, one of the original
twenty-five signers of the first Rules and Regulations of the Stoughton
Musical Society, in 1786; also of Deacon Abram Capen, proprietor of the
Capen House.) The after-dinner speeches were very interesting. Doctor T.
H. Dearing, of Braintree, was master of ceremonies. Rev. Edward K. Alden
of Boston, Hon.
Elijah A. Morse of Canton, Eugene B. Hagar of Boston, Secretary of the Handel and Haydn Society, Hon. Henry L. Pierce of Milton, a native of Stoughton, Hon. Samuel B. Noyes of Canton, Rev. Elmer Hewitt Capen, D. D., President of Tufts College, and Rev. Oliver L. Dean of Holbrook, addressed the assembled guests. Coronation and the Star Spangled Banner were sung.
After the ceremonies of dinner were over, the guests, with their friends, scattered through the village to see old acquaintances and make new ones. All gathered promptly at the appointed time in the Town Hall to be in readiness for the evening concert. The stage presented a brilliant spectacle when Mr. Hiram Wilde, the conductor, stood up in readiness for the opening chords of Haydn's Creation.
The first notes of the orchestra were like a paean of triumph for these two societies, and the chorus of three hundred voices pealed forth joyously in unison.
George D. Robinson, then Governor of Massachusetts, and Lt. Gov. Ames were present at the, evening concert. At the close of Part II of the oratorio, Gov. Robinson addressed a few happy remarks to the audience in response to a call from President Battles. "In my short life," said Governor Robinson, "I have had all sorts of experiences, but never one like this. I have stood on a smaller platform than the one I now occupy, but I never had fiddles and trombones all around and brass drums behind me, nor did I have such an array of celestial choir as we have here tonight." He spoke of the composition of the great master, of the good old commonwealth and the old singing society, and said, "Let me commend, so far as my opinion can possibly extend, the fine production of this evening. It has afforded me real delight. There is no one on this platform who, so long as life lasts, will not recollect with pleasure this occasion and say, 'I sang,' or 'I played at that grand centennial celebration in 1886.' And some of these people will grow old by and by, and grey haired and tottering and trembling. In their last days they will love to tell of this night; how all the people gathered together, and how we were here, all of us, and how we sung, and the last echoes of this beautiful music will linger then to cheer each one in the last days of life. No one can limit the impulse, no one can determine the expression that comes out of this experience.
|Eliza Porter||Louisa Lunt|
After alluding to the duties which prevented him from being present through the day, he said, "My promise to you is this: Ladies and gentlemen of this Society, not having been able to be present today, finding it utterly impossible, I make you my solemn promise that if a hundred years hence you all join in inviting me I will come."
Lt. Gov. Ames was excused from making a speech, he being quite willing the Governor should speak for him.
Part III of the oratorio was then taken up and carried through to a grand conclusion, everyone rejoicing at the success of the celebration as they bade each other adieu and separated for their homes. In looking backward to the time when the singers from Bridgewater and Braintree were "wont to attend the singing meetings in Stoughton," we see what forced Capt. Talbot's remark when he said, "This Society has undertaken a good work, which, altho the members thereof may be interrupted and taken off by reason of infirmities and old age from its performance, yet it will never end." Verily, in the words of Gov. Robinson, "No one can limit the impulse, no one determine the expression.'' that may come from such an association. A copy of the program follows:
Of The Stoughton Musical Society, June 9, 1886, Town Hall
Morning Exercises, Ten O'clock
1. Overture,- "Magic Flute, Mozart
2. Hymn to the tune of Old Hundred, -
We come to sing and upraise our God,
In places where our fathers trod;
Amid the changing hopes and fears
That mark a century of years.
Their memory we here enshrine
In hymns of praise and songs divine;
The hymns they sang, the songs they poured,
In which "the Father" was adored.
We praise that same preserving power
That brings us to the present hour.
Our father's God, our father's Friend
Shall be our helper to the end.
3. Prayer,—Rev. E. H. Capen, D. D., Pres't Tuft's College.
4. Words of welcome by the President, Hon. Winslow Battles.
5. Historical address by Hon. Samuel B. Noyes.
During delivery of this address, the Society sang several old tunes, illustrating the musical works of the early composers.
6. Centennial Hymn. Written for this occasion by Dexter Smith, Esq. Tune—Keller's American Hymn.
God of our fathers! We come now to Thee
Laden with incense of love and trust—
Come as the Pilgrims came over the sea,
Wearing an armor no trials could rust,
Crushing the idols of Crowns in the dust!
Breathing the freedom the air doth enshrine,
Throbbing with life that is pulsing the soil,
Crossing the swords of the palm and the pine,
Bring we our praise for the Century's coil,
Crowned with the hope born of patience and toil!
Yet may the lute-strings of Orpheus lure
Throughout the years that Thy grace shall unroll -
Vibrate the notes of Thy victory sure -
Melodies set to the theme of the soul,
Harmonies wrought on Humanity's scroll.
Evening Exercises, 7:30 O'clock.
Oratorio, - "The Creation," Haydn
By the Society, assisted by the following eminent soloists :
Miss Elene Buffington Kehew, Soprano;
Mr. George J. Parker, Tenor;
Mr. Clarence E. Hay, Bass.
And sustained by the Orchestra of the Society, augmented to the number of forty-five, by the best professional talent in the country. E. A. Jones, Leader of Orchestra.
H. L. West, Accompanist.
Conductor - Mr. Hiram Wilde.
Assistant Conductor, - Geo. N. Spear.