Pageantry at West Hill Pond

From a 1947 newspaper clipping comes this report of activities on West Hill Lake (or Pond) in the early twentieth century:

“Cottage dances, too, were often held, the orchestral instruments consisting of mandolin, harmonica, paper and combs, jews harps, and a ‘real tin kettle’ drum. Later on a small portable ‘pianner’ that could be taken by hand or boat from cottage to cottage was procured and the acme of perfection was reached in all things musical. Water pageants also were frequently held with gayly (sic) decorated boats moving silently and gracefully over the lake waters, with the improvised orchestra and double quartet of ‘mixed’ voices serenading various shore groups.”

The catch, of course, was that many of the people in these theatricals and musical performances were involved, some of them professionally, in the performing arts; so, despite the dubious orchestral instruments, the quality of both the music and the singing was probably quite good. Lit by bonfires and kerosene lamps in the cabins, these nights have a story-book sense, almost too strong to be real.

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