Oscar Seagle disliked jazz

Nationally-known soloist Oscar Seagle urged mothers to teach their children to enjoy “good music,” but his definition of good music did not include jazz.

“He urged the women to dispose of their jazz records,” The Post-Star reported on Oct. 6, 1921, about a speech Seagle gave the previous afternoon at a meeting of the Glens Falls Women’s Club at Christ Church Methodist.

“He defined jazz as discord, pure and simple. He declared that jazz is the worst influence our children meet today. It may not affect the grown-ups, but it has a serious effect on the character of children.”

Seagle, however, praised Negro spirituals.

“Suffering led them to think of spiritual things,” he said.

Seagle, founder of Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, said women’s clubs play a great role in sponsoring concerts, but more attention should be given to new artists and American composers.

“If clubs would pay for music instead of reputation, they could have so much more music for the same cost.”

At the close of his talk he sang two verses of “Standin’ in the Need of Prayer.”

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY