19th century local music — Lenten abstinence

Maury Thompson
2 min readNov 30, 2023

In the 19th century, Glens Falls area residents generally abstained from secular music, theater entertainment and social gatherings during Lent.

As a result, there was great joy when entertainment resumed/

“The French Cornet Band gave an entertainment at the Opera House this evening,” The Glen’s Falls Republican reported on May 10, 1881. “This is the first opportunity afforded our people for amusement of this description since the opening of the Lenten season. Any patronage extended will be appreciated as an effort to sustain a first-class music institution.”

Indeed, the band did play again.

“The French Band discourses music to the multitude Tuesday evening from the piazza of the American House (at the corner of South and Glen streets),” The Glen’s Falls Messenger reported on June 17, 1881. “The band is now organized on a business foundation and is open to engagements.”

In other 19th century music news collected from historic newspapers of the region:

  • “Mrs. Cherry is enjoying a new Chickering piano, and Miss Mitchell a new organ,” the North Granville correspondent reported in The Granville Sentinel on April 27, 1894.
  • A brass band from Glens Falls performed at Caldwell, now Lake George, on Memorial Day 1894.

“The Citizen’s Band furnished music at Caldwell, going down in one of Potter’s four-horse coaches and returning home about half past six o’clock in the evening,” The Morning Star reported on June 1.

  • “The Glen’s Falls Cornet Band gave a concert Tuesday evening at the Rockwell House piazza,” The Glen’s Falls Messenger reported on July 1, 1881. “The night was unfavorable and but few people were on the street to listen to it. The music rendered was excellent, and we hope they will appear again.”
  • They played for their supper.

“The Excelsior Band was invited on Saturday evening to the home of O.B. Mead. After playing a few selections, supper was served. An enjoyable time was had by all,” the Queensbury correspondent reported in The Morning Star on June 15, 1894.

  • “St. Mary’s Band gave an enjoyable concert on the piazza of the Eldridge House in Fort Edward last evening. After the concert, Landlord Brewer invited the boys into the dining room, where he gave them a splendid supper, to which the members of the band did ample justice, afterward voting Mr. Brewer a royal good fellow,” The Morning Star reported on June 16, 1894.
  • “The first concert of the Greenwich Banjo, Madolin and Guitar Club will be given at the Baptist Church Friday the 29th,” The Granville Sentinel reported on June 15, 1894. “The club has been under the direction of Miss Jennie Coy, who has proved herself a competent instructor.”

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY