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At the 200th Anniversary of the Town of Stoughton


One of the greatest events in the history of our two oldest existing musical societies in America occurred August 22, 1926, when the 200th Anniversary Celebration of the Town of Stoughton was opened by a Sacred Concert on the Pageant Grounds at three o'clock in the afternoon, in which the "Old Stoughton Musical Society" and the "Musical Society in Stoughton" joined. A beautiful day made it possible to give the concert in the open. There were over 150 in the chorus, including singers from the surrounding towns, and 35 in the orchestra. Among those in the orchestra were:

Mace Gay, Director

Violins Clarinets
George E. Shepard, No. Easton Chester L. Hayward, W. Bridgewater
F. William Kempf  Marshall Stevenson, No. Easton
Esther Kelle Wilbur C. Howes, Easton
Corinne F. Tileston, Randolph  
Bella Porter Bassoon
Gwendolyn Dean Fred Bettoney
Beulah Rideout  
Ralph Iervolino, Brockton Horns
John Walsh, Lynn William C. Gebhardt
Maurice Greenberg Albert Gilcher, Boston
Miss Georgie A. Chapman  
Viola Laura S. Gebhardt
James C. Wood, Whitman Reuben L. Willis
Cellos Tuba
Ellis B. Porter, Hingham James F. Doherty
Wilmer E Comstock  
Bass Lester Morrill, Brockton
B. Frank Gardner, No. Easton C. Fred Lyons, Randolph
  Miss A. Marie Warfield, Brockton
Flutes Lawrence Gurney, No. Easton
Etta M. Bailey  
Charles E. Abbott, Needham Trombone
  Carl Hampe, Stoughton
Drums Harry Kummer, Brockton
Franklin Linfield  


Pageant Group—S. Minot Crane, Frank W. Crane, W. Elmer .Crane, all of Avon


An audience of nearly three thousand people filled the seats and the applause was generous to the numbers on the program. Assistant Chorister Eugene M. Toomey conducted in absence of Chorister George Sawyer Dunham, of Brockton. The solos were masterly rendered and the chorus work was pleasing to the conductor, showing the result of his long and patient drilling. The orchestra, with Mace Gay directing, rendered Edwin A. Jones' "Lockinvar Overture" in a pleasing manner. Mr. Gay was a close friend of Mr. Jones from boyhood. The purpose of the old societies, - "to practice and perpetuate the music of native composers" was carried out in the arrangement of the program. Music from the oldest to the latest composer found place among the numbers.


A particularly pleasing number was the chorus, "The Flag of All Our Country," composed and conducted by a fellow-member, Mrs. Laura Shafer Gebhardt, sung in public for the first time. The words were written by Henri L. Johnson, who was also a member, and who expected to be present but owing to an accident was detained at home. The flag was borne by a Legion man (Mr. Morton Bird) in front of the chorus during the number, and the applause was great.


Reverend Charles J. Ring, of Boston, a Stoughton boy, was present, as well as the Reverend Charles E. Beals, of Manchester, N. H., also a Stoughton boy. Mr. Beals pleased his audience with a reminiscent address. Miss Fanny Buck, one of the Society's prima donnas, came from Washington, D. C, to attend the exercises. A copy of the program follows:

The Program


Sunday Afternoon, August 22, 1926


Lochinvar Overture Orchestra Edwin A. Jones


Mace Gay of Brockton, Director


Invocation Rev. Charles J. Ring of Boston



1. Chorus a. Old Stoughton 1886, E. A. Jones

b. New Bethlehem, prior to 1800, E. French

c. Jehovah's Praise, White

Soloists, Miss Holmes, Mrs. Gebhardt


2. Contralto Solo Allelujah, Mozart

Miss Elva Boyden of Brockton


3. Chorus a. Turner 1802, Maxim

b. Invitation 1793, Kimball

c. Rainbow 1790, Swan

d. Chester 1770, Billings


4. Recitative Now Is Christ Risen 1886, E. A. Jones

Air Rouse Thee, O Zion

Mr. Toomey

Chorus Sing We to the Lord, 1886, E. A. Jones

Solos Miss Holmes


5. Bass Solo Up from Somerset

Robert A. T. Nelson of Brockton


6. Chorus The Flag of All Our Country Laura S. Gebhardt

Words by Henri L. Johnson, 1908


NOTE: Sung for the first time in public and conducted by the composer, Mrs. Gebhardt.



7. Address Rev. Charles E. Beals, Manchester, N. H.


8. Chorus a. Majesty previous to 1800, Billings

b. Sons of Zion, Naumann

c. Victory 1793, Read


9. Contralto Solo, The Bird of the Wilderness, Horsman
Miss Boyden

10. Chorus Jerusalem, My Glorious Home 1849, Mason

Hail, All Triumphant Lord 1886, E. A. Jones


Everybody join in singing -

America, Auld Lang Syne, Star Spangled Banner




Miss Pearl V. Holmes of Stoughton

Mrs. Laura Shafer Gebhardt of Stoughton

Miss Elva Boyden of Brockton

Mr. T. Francis Toomey of Stoughton

Mr. Robert A. T. Nelson of Brockton


Concert Conducted by


of the Musical Society in Stoughton



At the close of the program all joined in singing America, Auld Lang Syne, and Star Spangled Banner, thus ending one of the finest concerts in the history of the Society.


The early history of Stoughton and the history of "Early Concert Life in America" are not complete without considering Stoughton's "music clubs;" consequently the musical societies were invited to take part in the Pageant, re-enacting, as episode 9, the friendly musical contest in 1790 between the Old Stoughton Musical Society and the Dorchester Choir, in which the Stoughton Society was victorious. Those members representing Dorchester were:




Mrs. Edwin D. Adams

Eleanor Buckley

Helen Curtis

Hilda Durbeck

Mrs. Laura Gebhardt

Frances Gitto

Pearl V. Holmes

Mrs. Blanche Hammond

Helen Hanley

Ruth Kelle

Mrs. Hazel Lothrop

Mrs. Lillian Merrick

Miss Adelaide Washington

Mrs. Blanche White

Mrs. Alice Hodges




Mrs. Olive Bisbee

Mrs. Frank Burnham

Mrs. Charles E. Dodge

Mare Harvey

Constance Leonard

Mrs. Elmer Maltby

Miss Hazel Waite




W. Elmer Crane, Avon

S. Minot Crane, Avon

Harry Curtis

William H. Cushing

Dr. E.S. Tracy, Brockton

E. Bronson Gay




Charles Bisbee

Willard Emery

G. Lester Gay

Arthur Martin

Charles S. Porter




The Stoughton Society of male voices was represented by:


1st Tenor 1st Bass
Charles Abbott Morton A. Capen
Heber Capen Wilmer E. Comstock
John P. Estey, Brockton James Dean
Bernard Marron Arthur McCarthy
Walter Mueller William Russell
John Quill George Sprague, Sr.
Wallace Reynolds, Avon  
Arthur L. Willis, Brockton 2nd Bass
  Herbert Dodge
2nd Tenor Herbert D. James, Brockton
Frank Crane, Avon Frank Reynolds
Merrill Hill T. Francis Toomey
George Richmond Ernest B. Southworth
Reuben Willis William H. Capen
William Healy  



There had been good rehearsals under the guidance of Mrs. Gebhardt and Reuben Willis. The male chorus sang Edward French's "New Bethlehem" without music, and Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" (abridged) with notes. The mixed chorus sang "Majesty" and "Chester." With bright, showy, Colonial costumes and well rendering of the music, the Old Stoughton Musical Society proved itself still to be a lively organization contributing in no small measure to the wonderful success of the three nights of the "Pageant, Old Stoughton."



(1) Rev. Paul Sperry, Brockton; (2) Joseph P. Draper, Canton; (3) George W. Currier, Braintree; (4) Lewis Alden, Holbrook


(5) Henry S. Porter, Brockton; (6) Corinne F. Tileston, Randolph


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