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

John Walsh, Lynn                                                                                                                                                             Horns

Maurice Greenberg                                                                                                                                           William C. Gebhardt

Miss Georgie A. Chapman                                                                                                                                 Albert Gilcher, Boston


        Viola                                                                                                                                                                          Piano

James C. Wood, Whitman                                                                                                                                  Laura S. Gebhardt

                                                                                                                                                                            Reuben L. Willis


Ellis B. Porter, Hingham                                                                                                                                            Tuba

Wilmer E Comstock                                                                                                                                          James F. Doherty 


Bass                                                                                                                                                                          Trumpets

B. Frank Gardner, No. Easton                                                                                                                         Lester Morrill, Brockton

                                                                                                                                                                          C. Fred Lyons, Randolph

Flutes                                                                                                                                              Miss A. Marie Warfield, Brockton

Etta M. Bailey                                                                                                                                Lawrence Gurney, No. Easton

Charles E. Abbott, Needham


                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Carl Hampe, Stoughton

                                                                                                                                                                     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 

EUGENE M. TOOMEY, Chorister 

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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