Thursday, March 13, 2014

Longfellow Chorus: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Walking Tour of Boston Expanded

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, We are collaborating with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation of the U.K.,]

[A page from the program of the debut recital by Roland Hayes, November 19, 1912, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory, Boston, Massachusetts. Courtesy Jordan Hall Scrapbook Collection in the Archives at New England Conservatory. Used with permission.]

Boston has a remarkable, hidden history where it concerns Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, so much so, a Samuel Coleridge-Taylor walking tour of Boston would make a great, historic way for a musically-minded tourist to spend the day:

Boston Harbor Waterfront, near the present day New England Aquarium, where, in November 1904, as a transatlantic passenger arriving from Liverpool, England, Coleridge-Taylor first set foot in America.

Harvard Musical Association,
57 Chestnut St, on Beacon Hill, an historic, private musical society where Coleridge-Taylor was celebrated and entertained on the evening of December 9, 1904, and where he left his signature in the guestbook and in a full score of Hiawatha's Wedding Feast.
Longfellow House - Washington Headquarters National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St., Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, where, in 1854, he wrote his epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha.
Symphony Hall, where, during its premiere season, autumn 1900, Boston Cecilia and Boston Symphony Orchestra performed Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha, and where the Hiawatha Overture was heard in America for the first time.
Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory
, where, on December 12, 1906, Coleridge-Taylor gave a recital, assisted by Harry T. Burleigh and members of the Boston Symphony String Quartet.

where, on November 19, 1912,
less than three months after Coleridge-Taylor's death, the young Roland Hayes—a former Fisk Jubilee singer—gave his Boston debut recital, singing Onaway! Awake, beloved!, among other things. Performing with Hayes were four other artists of African descent: Harry T. Burleigh, baritone; William H. Richardson, baritone; Roy W. Tibbs, pianist; and Maud Cuney-Hare, pianist.

And where, on January 13, 1913, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois gave a "Memorial Address" during the Coleridge-Taylor Memorial Concert, with musical selections by Hayes, Burleigh, Richardson, Cuney-Hare, Jacques Hoffmann, violinist, Ludwig Nast, cellist and Frederic P. White, organist.

At the time of his Jordan Hall Memorial Address for Coleridge-Taylor in January 1913, Du Bois was editor of The Crisis, the monthly magazine of the newly-formed NAACP. Coleridge-Taylor, as a young, successful, high-achieving, classically-trained musician, had become a poster child for The Crisis, along with J. Rosamond Johnson, James Reese Europe and Will Marion Cook. All four would be featured as "Men of the Month" in The Crisis between March and December 1912.

You might wonder what crisis The Crisis was referring to. For sample: the growing crisis in America during the second decade of the 20th century of segregation and disenfranchisement; of false arrest and lynching; of paying the same rate for railway passage as white passengers but receiving "cattle car" conditions; of paying taxes to support schools you were not allowed to enroll your children in and for the building of city parks you and your family were not allowed to enjoy.

While there are no recordings of Roland Hayes singing Onaway! Awake, beloved! and How Shall I Woo Thee? at the SC-T Memorial Concert in Jordan Hall, or of William H. Richardson singing Earth Fades! Heaven breaks on me and I Am Going, O My People—or of W. E. B. Du Bois speaking his Memorial Address, for that matter—you will be able to hear and see Rodrick Dixon singing Onaway! and How Shall I Woo Thee?, Robert Honeysucker singing I Am Going and various commentators discussing SC-T's connection to Du Bois during the screening of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and His Music in America, 1900–1912, Monday, March 17, 5 PM, in the reading room of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Archive at the Boston University Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center. Address: 771 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215. Phone: 617-353-3696. This screening is sponsored by the African Study Center of Boston University.
See you there!

Charles Kaufmann, Artistic Director
The Longfellow Chorus
PO Box 5133
Portland, Maine 04101

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