Maury Thompson

Aug 5, 2021

3 min read

Glens Falls music history — Era before Memorex

About 60 years before the 1980s advertising tag line “Is it live or is it Memorex?” the audience at a Glens Falls Armory concert could not distinguish between live music and an Edison recording.

Internationally-known baritone soloist Joseph Phillips opened the Nov. 2, 1922 concert by singing “That Old Fashioned Mother of Mine,” singing along with an Edison recording of his voice.

“The manner in which Mr. Phillips sang this number was amazing, and his voice could not be distinguished from that of the record,” The Post-Star reported the next morning.

The audience enjoyed Phillips, who regularly toured the United States and Europe.

“His full baritone voice was delightful, and he had to respond to several encores.”

Braydon and Chapman music store om Glen Street sponsored the concert, which also featured The Fleming Sisters Trio, a young national touring group with Marie Fleming on piano, Ethel Fleming on violin, and Florence Fleming on cello.

“Their playing was as arrestive as their personalities were winsome. They are masters of their instruments,” The Post-Star reported.

Following are more Glens Falls area music history fun facts compiled from area historic newspapers.

· Glens Falls was a stop on a national tour of the band of the Irish 110th Regiment of Toronto in the year Ireland became independent of Great Britain.

The band, “under the genial and enthusiastic conductor,” Lieut. J. Andrew Wigging, performed a pair of afternoon and evening concerts Oct. 22, 1922 at Empire Theatre on South Street, three days after the band appeared at The Hippodrome in New York City, The Post-Star reported.

· On Sept. 18, 1922, The Post-Star reported that 14-year-old John Wentworth, a member of the Boys’ Choir of Church of the Redeemer in Chicago, sang a solo the previous day at the morning service at Church of the Messiah Episcopal in Glens Falls.

“The young man sings soprano and contralto equally well. The solo yesterday was contralto.”

· “Good Night Sweetheart” was the closing theme song of the Second Regiment Band of National Guard Company K of Glens Falls in the 1940s.

· On Oct. 11, 1889, The Granville Sentinel reported that St. Paul’s Church of Salem, in Washington County, purchased a new pipe organ.

· On Oct. 25, 1889, The Granville Sentinel reported that the 12-piece Shushan brass band and 15-piece Arlington, Vt. brass band would team up for a “grand concert and harvest supper” Nov. 1 at the Granville Opera House.

· Under the headline “Prisoners Make Music” in the same issue: “The concert band of Clinton state prison is progressing under the direction of Professor Phil Chapleau of the Plattsburgh City Band.”

· On Aug. 23, 1946, The Post-Star reported that Elkan-Vogel Company of Philadelphia would publish a “Saratoga Orchestra Series” of new compositions to be played at the Spa Festival Sept. 3–15.

· On Aug. 22, 1874, The Ticonderoga Sentinel published an update on the Crown Point Band: “The band boys are beginning to toot very pleasantly. Practice makes perfect.”

· On Nov. 2, 1922, The Post-Star reported that the Paul Whiteman Orchestra of New York City would perform Nov. 6 at the annual Knights of Columbus concert and dance at Whitehall Armory.

· On Feb. 5, 1887, The Morning Star reported that Fort Edward music dealer George E. Rogers placed “a handsome” upright Fischer piano in the parlor of the Mansion House hotel in Glens Falls.

· On Aug. 25, 1971, The Post-Star reported that President Richard Nixon and the First Lady were in the audience of the opening performance of “Musical Theatre Cavalcade” at Wolf Trap Farm for the Performing Arts in Virginia when Carol Gericke of Glens Falls was a featured soloist.

Click here to read my latest regional music history post.