The within pages give to our readers the historical facts and cold records of one hundred and forty-two years of the Old Stoughton Musical Society, the oldest musical society in the country. One of the most difficult tasks in the preparation of this book was to secure an adequate and comprehensive history of the organization from the beginning to the present day. The final solution was found in the publication of a composite story as herein published and is the valued fruits of the efforts of past historians, who have labored so well to preserve the records which we so gladly hand down in this book.
In these writings there has been little time or space for an expression of the more intimate life or enjoyments of those who have for so many years constituted a living, loving and enthusiastic membership. They to whom the old music has always proven uplifting and inspiring. To whom the continuing associations and intimacies of a divine harmony of purpose and sentiments have found expression for the past half century in neighboring gatherings marked by truly heartfelt appreciation of the legacy coming down to them from the associations of the past.
It has been the continuing custom of the members of the Old Society to meet annually at varying centres contiguous to the place of birth, there to join hearts and voices in rendering the old songs and choruses of the past. To renew old acquaintances, to revive sacred memories dear to us all. These meetings have become standardized in form and custom. Gathering either on New Year's or Christmas Day in the afternoon for the Annual Election of Officers and the transaction of the business of the Society. Following this come the rehearsals of the old music and the programs of the annual concerts. And then for the renewal of acquaintances and adjournment to the dining hall, where a turkey supper is usually served. 'Tis here found, the true spirit of "bon homme" and rarest enjoyment. To tell of the after-dinner speeches, so eloquent and full of the spirit of comradie of purpose, the merriment of the hours of many meetings, the occasional "brushes" in business transactions of the organization would have required many volumes had they been recorded. Another volume would be necessary to tell of the events and the inspirations received from the rendering by the personnel of the choruses, soloists and orchestras of the varied programs presented. It has, indeed, been an inspiration and a joy in these intimate years of the past thus to gather, thus to let our affections, our love for harmony and the inspirations bequeathed to us from those of the past find exemplification arid expression. So did our forebears express their devotion, gratification and thanks to the Divine Ruler of the Universe for the manifold blessings they were permitted to enjoy under conditions which made them doubtless even more blessed than those of the present.
On how many occasions have our hearts been thrilled, our emotions stirred by the grandeur and sublimity of the Hallelujah Chorus, the Christmas Anthem and the resonant swell of the songs of Billings and the rest. Tender associations, sweet memories of bygone days. They bring to us a plea for the future. To the coming generation we appeal to preserve and maintain these precious associations of the past. To cherish and revitalize the old songs. To follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before. Thus will you find a reward of inward satisfaction and content such as has been ours of the past as a legacy from those who have gone before.
Long live the Old Stoughton Musical Society. May its melodies and its harmonies prove as inspiring to coming generations as they have been to us in the past.
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