19th century music — New organ at St. Alphonsus

Maury Thompson
3 min readMay 10, 2024

St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in Glens Falls hired a new organist to play the French-speaking congregation’s new organ.

“Ismael David, a musician of wide experience and culture, arrived yesterday from Montreal and will here after preside at the new organ in St. Alphonsus’ Church,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on March 15, 1895. “Music has been Mr. David’s lifelong study, and he has frequently officiated as organist at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Montreal.”

David and others performed for the organ dedication.

“The grand inaugural concert and organ recital at St. Alphonsus Church last evening was an unqualified success,” The Morning Star reported on March 21. “That it fully met the expectations of the audience which packed the sacred edifice was evinced by the generous applause accorded each and every number of the program.”

Adjustments were made when the new organ did not continue to meet expectations.

“The new organ at St. Alphonsus Church has not given satisfaction of late. Messrs. Brennan and Gillette of Boston are overhauling it,” The Morning Star reported on May 17.

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

  • The debut concert of the news Glens Falls Choral Union was a success.

“Those who attended the Choral Union concert at the Presbyterian Church last evening were delightfully entertained,” The Morning Star reported on April 2, 1895. “The hopes of those who had looked for good results from the work of the capable and painstaking director Julius Jordan were fully realized.”

  • The South Hartford Universalist Church hired Mrs. C. W. Ingalls as organist, The Morning Star reported on Nov. 16, 1894.
  • “Madigan, the news dealer, is making arrangements to issue a monthly magazine devoted to musical matters. The number will be published in April,” The Morning Star reported on March 21.
  • “The musical event of the season will occur at the (Glens Falls) Opera House on April 15 when the Boston Festival Orchestra will give a concert for the benefit of St. Mary’s Band. The orchestra includes forty-five performers, with Emil Mollenhauer as conductor,” The Morning Star reported on March 29, 1895.
  • “The Shushan military brass and reed band met at the opera house Monday evening, also the orchestra. Both organizations are doing finely and are making progress,” The Granville Sentinel reported on April 5, 1895.
  • Henry Davis, who had for several years worked with Mr. Bissell at the Temple of Music store, left to establish his own musical instrument business, The Morning Star reported on April 8, 1895.

“Mr. Davis will now come to you as a direct salesman from the factories of F. G. Smith, who manufactures the old favorite Bradley piano.”

  • “A rare musical treat is in store for this vicinity consisting of a grand concert by the Glee, Mandolin and Banjo Club of Union College, numbering thirty members, to be given under the auspices of the ladies of the Presbyterian Church, Sandy Hill, Tuesday evening, April 23,” The Morning Star reported on April 17, 1895.
  • “St. Mary’s Orchestra has been engaged to furnish music for the annual ball of the Fort Edward paper makers, to be held at the Bradley Opera House in that village next Wednesday night,” The Morning Star reported on April 18, 1895.

Click here to read the most recent previous local music history post.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY