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Great musical entertainment, 1899: the night Columbia rocked

By JIM

On Saturday evening, March 11th, 1899, Columbia was a happening place. Word had spread like wildfire via the pages of the News that the Columbia Brass band, supplemented by various others, would give an entertainment that evening - and the folks came in droves. Without a doubt, buggies, surreys, phaetons, and jolt wagons as well as horses, mules, and ponies were double- and triple parked around the Square that evening almost sixscore years ago.


It had been but a few short weeks since the Band had once again risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of a previous incarnation. Not until the latter part of February had the members "come out of the back room" to rattle the rafters at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jo Rosenfield on Pea Ridge, but wrote News of the boys in the band and their leader after this first semi-public appearance,

"The truth is Prof. Bellamy has a set of young men with all the necessary talent and determination required to make a band of unusual promise, and the boys realize they have an instructor who knows his business..."

Following the Pea Ridge performance, the paper indirectly quoted Professor Bellamy himself as pronouncing that "the boys are advancing rapidly and can play as well as many bands of 6 months practice."

Soon thereafter, the News edition of March 1st coyly promised readers "one of the most enjoyable entertainments ever given in the good old town of Columbia," featuring "the best talent in the city" would soon be announced.

The following week, another notice appeared, this one noting, "The admittance is but a trifle" and promised those attending the show would experience (at least temporarily) surcease from the sorrows of life. Also in this issue of the paper appeared a program, two columns wide and half a page in length. It proclaimed the show would be held in the Court-house and listed no fewer than 21 songs and readings, with "The whole to conclude with a laughable Melodrama." A note at bottom of the programme stated simply, "W.T. Price, President / L.C. Hurt, Sec." (The program, while noting the location, failed to include the cost of admission and the starting time.)

Songs featuring the brass band were "America," "She Was Bred in Old Kentucky," and "My Old Kentucky Home." The rest of musical program consisted of solos, duets, and group vocals, including "Days That are Gone," "Cuckoo Call," "Come Where to Lilies Bloom," and "The Distant Chimes." The News remarked that several on the program were known to have "cultivated" voices and added, "[I]t goes without saying the vocal music was up to the standard." Several of the performers also made an appearance in the melodrama, and the evening closed out with everyone joining in on a sentimental favorite, "Home Sweet Home."

The March 15th paper reported "A very large audience attended the musical entertainment at the court-house Saturday night." The News had nothing but high praise for all involved, with particular words of glory for young Miss Nina Marcum, who, at just short of her 11th birthday, "recited one of her favorite selections which pleased everyone in the court-room."

The closing paragraph revealed the show had been put on as a benefit performance for the band and stated, "The house paid the young men $44.50 which is an evidence that the members of the band...are appreciated by the community."

According to the March 15th article, the band members were J.S. Royse, W.F. Hancock, W.S. Barker, L.L. (Brud) Eubank, S.F. White, W.G. Eubank, M.C. Winfrey, L.C. Hurt, O.S. Dunbar, W.T. Price, George Rosenfield, and, of course, Prof. Bellamy.

Other participating in this extravaganza that rocked Columbia were Mrs. Rollin Hurt (pianist), Sam Royse and P.V. Grissom (orchestra), and Mrs. Jo Rosenfield; and Misses Sallie Montgomery, Lula White, Pauline Cabell, Julia Eubank, Edna Staples, and Minnie Kemp.


This story was posted on 2016-09-29 04:10:44
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