Exhibit: Vintage Choral Programs
Text by Janice Parkinson-Tucker
Images from Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, Maine Historical Society and Portland Public Library.
In 1837 oratorio singing began in earnest in Portland when the Sacred Music Society gave the first ever performance of an entire work here, Haydn's "Creation." The next year the Sacred Music Society presented a complete performance of Handel's "Messiah." The group continued successfully for 20 years, after which internal strife resulted in its dissolution.
Immediately thereafter, on February 9, 1857, the Haydn Association was formed. The group suspended activities in 1860 for the duration of the Civil War and began regular rehearsals again in 1868, presenting concerts of major works each year until 1898.
The concerts of the Haydn Association were given in Union Hall on Congress Street, just off Congress Square. The celebrated conductor was Hermann Kotzschmar. The pianists were Fannie E. Jordan and Harvey S. Murray.
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