Carroll’s Yesteryears

18 April 1993

Honest-to-goodness live music at concert

By Joe Getty

Over the past year a number of third-grade classes have visited the Sherman-Fisher-Shellman House as part of an education program to introduce concepts about Carroll County history. During the introduction to the tour, the staff of the Historical Society of Carroll County engages the class in a discussion about how the past was different from today.

In evaluating the many elements of daily life, the students are probably most astonished at the differences in music. In today’s culture, we frequently forget how music was performed in the era before modern electronics of radio, television, stereos, CDs and videotapes. And to children, the concept of only listening to music when you made it yourself is almost inconceivable.

When was the last time you attended a live musical performance? If it has been a while, please take advantage of the opportunity to hear a performance of historical music at the “Festival of Freedom” concert by the Carroll County Choral Society on April 26 and 27.

This year’s concert is in observance of the 130th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and will benefit the Historical Society of Carroll County. The performance will be directed by Herb Sell with Beverly Wells as accompanist.

The program of Early American and Civil War music will highlight a special guest performance by troubadour John DuRant. Troubadour DuRant has appeared at many local festivals and fairs. He will be featured in “Killer Angels,” an upcoming movie about the Battle of Gettysburg.

The concert will be reminiscent of 19th century musical traditions in Carroll County. Outside of parlor music played in the homes, the typical performance was by a community band or travelling musicians. For example, the Democratic Advocate of February 18, 1893 reported on this concert of band and vocal music 100 years ago:

“A large audience greeted the Westminster Band at Odd Fellow’s Hall on Monday evening, and if applause is an indication of pleasure, the entertainment was highly successful. The Band appeared to its best, and rendered excellent selections. The most elaborate was the ‘Trip to Coney Island,’ with realistic effect. The cornet solo of Mr. A. Baily Morelock, the leader of the band, the trombone solo by Mr. Pierce Snyder, and the clarinet solo by Mr. Isaac Sheeley, were well rendered and heartily applauded. The quartets of Mrs. C. V. Wantz, Miss Mollie Shriver and Messrs. Watson and Nelson gave a pleasing variety to the entertainment. The comic songs of Mr. J.L. Williamson, of Baltimore, and the songs and recitations of Mr. S. Scully, also of Baltimore, delighted the audience, and each was recalled by the heavy applause. These same artists, with Reese, concluded the entertainment with the laughable farce titled “The Whig Maker and His Servants.”

Several organizations in Carroll County preserve the rich local tradition of musical concerts. We recommend the upcoming concert of historical music by the Carroll County Choral Society for an enjoyable evening of nostalgia and excellent performances.

Directed by Herb Sell with, the Carroll County Choral Society concert will Westminster High School on Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 children. For ticket information, call the Historical Society at 848-6494.

Photo caption: The Carroll County Choral Society concert will feature a guest performance by troubadour John DuRant who will perform music from the Civil War era in observance of the 130th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.