Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Grand Concerts

The Marietta Register, October 4, 1866

The two Concerts given at the Baptist Church, this city, Thursday and Friday nights of last week - Sept. 27th and 28th - under the direction of Ad. H. Siegfried, were, it is probable, the best ever given in Marietta, evincing a high degree of musical skill and cultivation, eminently satisfactory to all present.

Those who took parts were Mr. Charles Kunkel of Cincinnati, the eminent Pianist and Composer, with a "splendid array" of Marietta home talent in music - Mr. J. E. Gilman on the organ and piano; Mrs. Saida M. (Scott) Palmer on the piano; and singing by Messrs. C. G. Fell, Daniel Beck, C. C. Ketter, John Tenney, and by Misses Sadie Hodkinson, Rose Franks, Kate Rhodes and Sarah Eells.  

It is perhaps true that the performances of Mr. Kunkel on the piano excelled anything ever before heard in this city. Those who heard him at the private matinee Saturday morning will probably agree to this. This is saying much when it is considered that Robert Heller has been heard here.

The performances of Mrs. Palmer deservedly called forth enthusiastic applause. Her "Grand Fantastic et Variations Sur La Cracovienne" was rapturously encored.  Neither space or time will permit a further account, except to say that the singing was very superior, the young ladies each winning the highest commendations, as well as the gentlemen.

The Concert Grand Piano used, was manufactured by William Knabe & Co., Baltimore, and was furnished for the occasion by J. E. Gilman, agent for the sale of pianos in Marietta.  It is a superior instrument, as good and impartial judges say, and is valued at $1,600.

The first piano brought to Marietta, about the year 1809, by William Skinner, now the property of his grandson, William S. Ward, was on the stage, and some familiar old airs performed upon it by Mr. Gilman.

Mr. Siegfried deserves the highest credit from our people for this most successful Concert, exhibiting very high order of musical talent.

The First Piano in Marietta
The Marietta Times, February 14, 1889:

The following statement regarding an old piano will be of interest to Mariettans.  The instrument in question is probably the first one brought into the North-west Territory.  Judge Solomon Sibley, of Detroit, Michigan, married a Miss Sproat, of Marietta, Ohio, early in this century.  On the 357th page of a recent "History of Detroit" we find the following statement:  The first piano brought to Detroit was the property of Mrs. Solomon Sibley, formerly Miss Sproat.  She used it while attending school at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and (after her marriage in 1803) brought it with her to Detroit.  It was transported on horseback from Bethlehem to Marietta, and we may therefore be well assured that it did not compare in size with the pianos of to-day
We clip the above from the Marietta Leader of last week.  While we do not doubt the piano referred to, may be the first one taken to Detroit, we are under the impression the writer is mistaken as to its being the first one in Marietta.  There is now in this city, in the possession of Mrs. Margaret Newsom, a piano that has had the reputation of being the first instrument that was brought west of the Alleghenies.  We are told it was taken to Marietta by Col. Lord, and afterward formed one of the attractions in Blennerhassett's mansion.  Upon the breaking up of that historic establishment it passed into the hands of the late Mr. Nathaniel Gates, who acted as private secretary to Blennerhassett, and it was brought to Gallipolis in 1820.  Mr. Gates disposed of the piano to the late General Newsom and it has remained in his family ever since.  Of course it does not compare with the fine instruments of the present day.  The dimensions are as follows:  Length, five feet and two inches; width, one foot and ten inches, and the height is that of the modern instrument.  Its compass is but five octavoes, and it was made in Philadelphia by Charles Albrecht.
Gallipolis Bulletin

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