The New Hartford Chorus

Entertainment in the era prior to radio, television, and the internet was locally created, generally through a variety of social organizations. The New Hartford Chorus, with at one time over one hundred members, was one of these social organizations. It flourished during the years of World War I under the direction of the Jones family. Other notable families involved included: Stanclift, Driggs, and Chapin. As with any chorus, soloists were brought in from other areas; a 1918 performance included two soloists from New York City and one from Boston, though the soprano was from New Hartford. In addition they collaborated with musical groups from Hartford, Norfolk, and Winchester. They often performed in North Congregational Church or the adjacent Assembly Hall.
In 1917, when patriotic feelings were at a fever pitch, it is interesting to note that the chorus ordered a hundred songbooks through the Connecticut State Musical Director, a position that was part of the Connecticut State Council of Defense. Included in the pamphlet were: the Star Spangled Banner, Speed Our Republic, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Marseillaise, America the Beautiful, and America (my country! ’tis of thee). The pamphlet did not, however, include the musical notation, only the words, which may suggest that it was either assumed that people knew the tunes, but not all of the verses, or that they would have sufficient rehearsal time to memorize the piece by ear.


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