The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 1, Page 17.


Valparaiso Musical Organizations And Musicians Have Won Wide Acclaim; Review of Achievements

Someone extremely wise has said "You can live just as long without music - but not as well." It is a truth that Valparaiso people have evidently always recognized. Many of the pioneer of Porter county were men and women of culture who loved music and realized its value. Their descendants inherited the knowledge that music is a universal need rather than a luxury and that it has always played an important part in the life and development of the human race.

Of course, the first music existed in the church services, even before there was a church building. Many of the early settlers who belonged to the better educated class of their day brought with them from the east their books, among them "tune books." Their ministers also believed in "the ministry of music," and cooperated with the members to that end.

Old-timers recall how the leader of singing in the early churches and a hymn book containing the words, a tune-book containing the notes and tuning fork to start the songs at the right pitch since there was no organ or piano then. Later violins were employed to denote the proper pitch.

One of the early musical organizations of the city was the St. Paul's Catholic church choir which performed in the late seventies. Members of the choir comprised Eliza Clifford, Mary Long, Kate Mahoney-McGarth, John Stokes, Kate Oliver-McKay, Mary Clifford-O'Sullivan, Kate Stokes (Sister Theodata), Lizzie Hiller, Lizzie Fox-McCormick, Bridget Meagher, Jeremiah Cronin, Susan Clifford-Brennan and John O'Brien.

Probably the cream of musical entertainments promoted in Valparaiso were those given by the Northern Indiana Normal School, now Valparaiso university, when Professor Richard A. Heritage was head of the music department at the local school from 1877 to 1894.

Among Dr. Heritage's students was William Wade Hinshaw, who later became a light opera star, and managed several companies which appeared in many of the leading cities of the country and also gave concerts at Valparaiso university. In 1926, one of Mr. Hinshaw's companies singing Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro," was traveling through the northwest, and Mr. Hinshaw sent them to Spokane to give a testimonial benefit performance for Dr. Heritage.

Dr. Heritage possessed a wonderful voice of vibratory richness and power. He was soloist in Dr. Cooke's Grace Episcopal church in Chicago, where he sang under the great organist, Henry B. Rooney, and with the greatest of all boy sopranos, Blatchford Kavanaugh, whose fame was world-wide.

During his seventeen years at Valparaiso, Dr. Heritage taught literally thousands of pupils, working more hours a day than two men should work. He was well grounded in the rudiments of voice culture after the methods of the old ---?--- masters and he had an immense repertoire of sons, oratorios and operatic airs.

Professor Heritage's contributions to the musical programs centered in Valparaiso were of a high class nature. One of these, given at the fifteenth annual commencement of the Music Department of the Northern Indiana Normal School, at the new college chapel, on Tuesday evening, August 9, 1892, was "The Creation," by Hayden.

Professor Heritage directed the presentation, assisted by Rosenbecker's Chicago orchestra of thirty players, Adolph Rosenbecker, conductor. The orchestra played the original score and orchestration as written by Hayden without cutting out any part of it.

Making up the chorus of one hundred and fifty three, were forty-six sopranos, thirty-two altos, twenty-nine tenors, and forty-six basses. Valparaiso members of the chorus comprised Eva Baum, Ava Galbreath, Grace Groth, Maggie Harbeck, Minnie Marquart, Minnie Marquart, Minna Middaugh, Clara E. Noble, Mrs. W. S. Norvell, Lou Watt, sopranos; Mabel D. Bradley, Ona Coleman, Mrs. R. A. Heritage, Jennie V. Thatcher and Martha Watt, altos; G. Osgood Bradley, B. F. Showalter, tenors.

Members of the faculty consisted of R. A. Heritage, Voice and theory; Henry W. Ruifrok, piano and composition; Maggie White, violin and mandolin; Grace Groth, voice and piano; Jennie Thatcher, voice and organ; Anna Roessler, guitar and banjo.

The following year, 1893, Professor Heritage presented the Oratorio "Elijah," by Mendelssohn at the college chapel. Henry W. J. Ruifrok was conductor, and Harriet Bruce and Anna Ward, accompanists.

Taking the principal roles were R. A. Heritage, Elijah Grace Groth, Soprano; Jennie V. Beach, alto; J. W. Quick, tenor; H. A. Rogers, tenor; the Heritage lady quartet, Virtie McAlister, first soprano; Nora Whitney, first alto; Jennie V. Beach, second alto, and the Arion quartet, J. M. Quick, first tenor; H. A. ---?---, second tenor; E. E. Hipsher, first bass, and H. W. Mayne, second bass.

When the new organ was installed at the Valparaiso Christian church by Johnson and Son, of Westfield, Mass., it was dedicated on April 27, 1895, by Louis Falk, concert organist of Chicago. He was accompanied by Harold L. Butler, basso; W. W. Huntington, organist, and the ladies' choir, composed of Jennie V. Beach, alto; Grace Dye, soprano; Estella Diefenbach, alto; Grace Groth, soprano; Lillian Campbell, alto; Ida Orton, soprano; Clara DeLay, soprano; Ethel Stuckman, alto.

The dedication was the occasion of a Grand May Organ Festival, consisting of a series of four concerts. The first, given on May 3, 1895, featured Frederick Archer of Chicago, concert organist. The Christian church double chorus choir rendered "Hallelujah Chorus" with organ accompaniment by W. Huntington. Other musical numbers were soprano solos, "Bel Raggio" and "Sweet Dreams of Childhood," by Mrs. M. E. Bogarte, with piano accompaniment by Mrs. G. E. Stanton, and a number by the Amphion quartette, "Lead Kindly Lightly" with accompaniment by Miss Anna Ward.

Members of the double chorus were J. B. Showalter, director; Eugene Smackles, tenor; A. P. Foster, tenor; S. C. Reed, tenor; W. W. Smith, tenor; C. C. Clark, bass; N. C. Garwick, bass; W. C. Ryan, bass; M. C. Strycker, bass; Anna DeLay, soprano; Myrtle Lamb, Soprano; Grace Groth, soprano; Ida Orton, soprano; H. R. Buell, tenor; Ethel Stuckman, alto; Clara DeLay, alto; Lillian Campbell, alto; Grace Dye, Soprano; Estelle Diefenbach, alto; Estella Alexander, soprano; Jennie V. Beach, also; W. Huntington, organist; Mrs. G. E. Stanton, assistant organist.

Members of the Amphion quartet were J. B. Showalter, tenor; Harold L. Butler, bass; Grace Groth, soprano; Jennie Beach, alto.

Clarence Eddy of Chicago, concert organist, was the principal artist at a concert rendered on May 10, 1895. The Christian choir and Mrs. George F. Beach, vocalist, and Miss Anna Ward as accompanist, were the supporting artists.

Harrison M. Wilde, of Chicago, concert organist, was presented at the third concert given on May 17, 1895. The Christian choir and Miss Grace Groth, soprano, also appeared on the program.

The concluding number of the series was given by Wilhelm Middelchulte, concert organist, of Chicago, assisted by L. Gaston Gottschalk, baritone.

One of the city's greatest musical organizations and which brought fame to Valparaiso in many parts of the east, west and middlewest was the Salisbury Family band and orchestra. This family, headed by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Salisbury, both fine musicians, had a career of seventeen years before the public.

When the youngest child of the family was five years old the family began to travel about the country. This was in 1900. Rev. John L. Brandt, pastor of the Valparaiso Christian church, and later pastor at St. Louis, was instrumental in placing the family with the St. Louis Lyceum Bureau. Previous to that the family played in nearly every social center in Porter county and all churches. The Salisbury's were the first company to adopt the automobile for traveling over the country. The family disbanded in June, 1917, after giving farewell concerts in the city. Several of the members joined other organizations and were featured in chautauqua and vaudeville work. Harry Salisbury, one of the members, directed bands for a number of years. Some of the advance agents for the company Ernest Butler, Edgar Dowdell and John Manion. Mr. and Mrs. Salibury were both killed when their automobile was struck by a South Shore electric train five years ago.

Another contribution to Valparaiso's hall of musical fame is W. Huntington, veteran organist, who served for many years as organist at the Presbyterian and Christian churches, and was accompanist for many musical programs rendered by local talent. When a boy of eight years, Mr. Huntington was encouraged by his mother and step-father, Ibel Isham, to study music. When twelve years of age he began instruction under Professor Ruggles, taking a three-year course of piano and harmony, and following this the study of the organ.

One of his teachers was Professor Havens of Chicago, who dedicated the organ at the Presbyterian church with a fine program. For a number of years, Mr. Huntington was a professional organist, teacher and salesman. He served as organist at the Presbyterian church, resigning to accept a call to the Christian church when the organ was installed there in 1895. He filled this position for twelve years, and during his absence on several occasions his daughter Edna, now deceased, filled his place.

Miss Eda Bartholomew, daughter of Rev. William Bartholomew, was another organist of note who was a native of Valparaiso. Miss Bartholomew gave many concerts while a resident here. In a concert given on July 25, 1895, at the Methodist Episcopal church, Miss Bartholomew was assisted by Miss Hattie Bruce, soprano; Mrs. Maggie White-Butler, violinist; Mrs. Geo. F. Beach, alto, and Mrs. Eva Marble Bondy, reader. She left Valparaiso many years ago to take a position at a Georgia college.

A grand home talent program given on August 3, 1896, at the Christian church brought together a galaxy of local musical artists. The program comprised organ numbers by W. Huntington, chorus numbers by the Christian church choir, violin solos by Professor August Wolf, a violin and zither duet by Professor Wolf and Mr. Tinus, and vocal soloes by Mrs. M. E. Bogarte, Miss Grace Groth and Mrs. Jennie Thatcher-Beach.

Many celebrated artists of national standing have appeared in Valparaiso largely due to Valparaiso university officials, local churches and musicians.

On May 6, 1898, Signor Arturo Mareschalski, world renowned baritone, and Miss Kate Condon, contralto, with W. W. Hinshaw and Florence Higgins-Butler assisting, gave a concert at the university auditorium.

In 1899, Harold L. Butler, who was head of the department of voice at Valparaiso university, and a participant in many of the local musical productions, joined the Castle Square Opera company. Mr. Butler was later head of the department of voice at Syracuse university and the University of Kansas.

A popular series of concerts was given at the Christian church in 1903 when Bruno Steindel company, Glen Hall Butler company, Arthur Dunham, organist, and Katherine Higgins-Butler, were the headliners.

During the same year the Mendelssohn club, which was to provide Valparaiso with many fine musical feasts, was formed with Mrs. C. C. Polk, president; Mrs. O. W. Smith, vice-president; Mrs. L. T. Ross, secreatory, and Mrs. W. H. Williams, treasurer. Forty-five members comprised the organization.

Theodore Thomas and his noted orchestra, with Signor Campanari, tenor, and Bram Steindel, cellist, thrilled Valparaiso music lovers on May 25, 1904, at the university auditorium.

On September 9, 1902, the Apollo club was formed in Valparaiso to promote musical and theatrical talent. Dr. R. D. Blount was named president; Mrs. Harry R. Ball, vice-president; Vernon L. Philley, secretary; Leigh Lawrence, assistant secretary, and Tom Polk, treasurer.

On May 10, 1906, the Mendelssohn club presented Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado," at Memorial opera house, Professor W. F. Gaskins was conductor of the chorus, and the principals were Gladys Caldwell, Donna Tillotson, Mrs. George Upthegrove, Arthur Scott, Dr. R. D. Blount, C. L. Bartholomew, Tom Polk, Vernon L. Philley, Mrs. Leon Wheeler and Dr. C. A. Nixon. Madge Bell was accompanist.

On January 2, 1907, Valparaiso people heard Handel's Messiah presented by the Valparaiso Choral club at the M. E. church. Professor Torrens directed, with Mrs. McLean, soprano; Marion Gree, bass; Alfred Shaw, tenor, and Mrs. Jennie Thatcher-Beach, alto, taking the principal singing parts. Arthur Middleschute, organist, and Dr. Eisenheimer, pianist, provided the accompaniments.

St. Paul's Catholic church was the scene of a sacred concert in December, 1907, when Harrison M. Wild of Chicago, was the featured artist. Assisting was a chorus of twenty-three voices under the direction of Professor W. F. Gaskins of Valparaiso university; Helen Axe Brown, Mrs. W. F. Gaskins, Irene Ebersold, Agnes Spreneil, soloists, and Mabel Spooner, accompanist.

Lovers of band music had their ---?--- in 1903 when Cretor's band appears at the Memorial opera house; in 1907 when John Philip Sousa, the march king, also played at Memorial; on October 23, 1925, when the U. S. Marine band, brought here by the Valparaiso Lodge of Elks, gave a concert at university auditorium; in 1924, when Kyrl's band, the Salvation Army band of Chicago, and the Royal Scotch band gave concerts here, the latter under the auspices of the American Legion.

Valparaiso people who had thrilled to the music of Professor and Mrs. O. E. Weaver, who sang from 1909 to 1919, tendered them a rousing farewell when they left Valparaiso for Tucson, Ariz., to take positions at the University of Arizona.

Professor Weaver was in charge of a May Festival given at Valparaiso university auditorium in May, 1913. Appearing on the first night of the two-night program was Helen Axe Brown, soprano; Edward Walker, tenor; Marion Green, baritone; Anna Allison-Boroff, contralto, and William Zeuch and Gertrude Horn, accompanists.

On the second night, Miss Horn, daughter of P. J. Horn, of this city, and now the wife of Dr. Frank W. Cregor of Indianapolis, was heard in a group of piano numbers. Other artists were Helen Axe Brown, soprano; Frederick Ingersoll, violinist; Frederick Nelson, pianist, and Almeda Wadhamsch, accompanist for Miss Brown.

Hugh Rowland Roberts, whose wife, Fanny Amstutz Roberts, was an able pianist, was in charge of the Christian church choir of twenty voices when the organization rendered a concert at the church June 19, 1913. Assisting were Mrs. E. W. Agar, reader, and Miss Francisco, Orecian posing.

The Cecelia club, an organization of Valparaiso women who render concerts, and have won high acclaim from music lovers everywhere under the direction of Mrs. Anna Ward Morony, sponsored the appearance here of Marie Sidenius Zendt, soprano, and Mario Cappelli, Italian tenor, gave a concert here in September, 1929, at the M. E. church under the auspices of the Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

The Tom Brown Music House, A. B. Harlan, manager, was responsible for many high class musical programs during 1926, some of which were broadcast over Station WRBC, of Immanuel Lutheran church.

A number of college glee clubs have appeared in Valparaiso during the last fifteen or twenty years. Among them were Notre Dame, with Walter O'Keefe, now a big radio headliner; Wabash college, DePauw university, Wheaton college, and the celebrated St. Olaf choir of Northfield, Minn., in charge of M. Christiansen, noted director.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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