Local music history: Oscar Seagle earns a ‘handsome watch’
It was an Oscar Seagle performance more than worthy of the “handsome watch” presented to the internationally-known baritone as a token of appreciation.
“Oscar Seagle sang straight from the soul last night and into the souls of a large audience in Christ Church (of Glens Falls),” The Post-Star reported on April 24, 1923. “All of the many distinguishing characteristics of this great baritone were emphasized in his varied and exquisite program.”
It was Seagle’s first public concert since returning from spending the winter in France, where he studied, taught and performed, including an exclusive concert for Prince George, the son of British King George V, and for the Duke of Connaught.
Seagle was an international touring artist and co-cofounder of Seagle Music Colony at Schroon Lake.
The April 23 concert at Christ Church had been highly anticipated for weeks.
“I should not want to give the impression that the house is sold out for the Seagle recital Monday night, but unless they act quickly there will be many people disappointed when they go to buy their tickets,” Lucius Ades, Christ Church music director and concert promoter, was quoted in an April 19 Post-Star report.
An April 20 advertisement in The Post-Star promoted both the concert and Seagle’s recordings, which could be purchased locally at Braydon & Chapman music store on Glen Street.
“Go and listen to this consummate artist whose talent embellishes every song with the perfection of color and sympathetic expression. And then go to a Columbia dealer and ask to hear these examples of this great baritone’s magnificent work.”
Concert tickets ranged from 50 cents to $2 per person — the equivalent of $6.77 to $27.06 in 2022 dollars.
The performance lived up to expectations.
“He sings because he likes to sing, sings what the audience wants, and lives the role that his is singing, which makes him a singer from soul to soul.
The Post-Star reviewer was particularly impressed with Seagle’s performance of “The Ninety and Nine,” which the audience responded to with “a silence of breathless admiration” before applauding.
Other selections in the diversified program in French and English languages were as follows: “Deh pin a Me” (Ah, Why Let Me Ever Languish” by Bononcini, “L’ Air Jocunda,” “Le Noza di Figaro” aria from “Marriage of Figaro, “In the Silent Wood” by Rimsky-Korsakov, “Nocturne,” “Serenade Italienne” by Chausson, “La Madeline” by Debussy, “L Amour de Moh,” “Claire de Lune,” “Yellow Dust,” “When I Bring Colored Toys to You,” “A Memory,” “The Silhouettes,” “Ballymore Ballad,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” and “Standing in the Need of Prayer.”
Seagle performed three encores: “Ma Lindy Lou,” “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” and “I’se Guine Back to Dixie.”
Pianist Hector Dansereau accompanied Seagle and performed three instrumental solos.
“He plays as Oscar Seagle sings, for the joy of it.”
Margaret Ashmead Mitchell hosted a post-concert reception and dinner for select invited guests at her home on Glen Street, at which she presented Seagle with a “handsome watch” in appreciation of his performance.
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