EARLY history. — The history of the University Musical Society is so interwoven with the development of music in the University, and with the affairs of its subdivisions, the School of Music and the Choral Union, that in order to record the history of any one of these, it is necessary to consider it in relationship to the others.
The first official mention of music by the University was in reference to bells. On January 14, 1845, Regent Kearsley reported that the committee on finance to whom had been referred the matter of the bell and hangings belonging to the Central Railroad, which at that time were being used by the University, "believing said bell to be too small for the permanent purpose of the University," considered its purchase inexpedient. They "borrowed" it, however, promising to return it "on demand."
On June 28, 1864, almost twenty years later, "the Executive Committee was authorized to procure a bell for the University, not exceeding six hundred pounds in weight." The matter evidently was of a controversial nature for the resolution was considered and tabled. Apparently, the University finally purchased a bell, for on March 28, 1865, appears the following item: "For the Bell … $526.09." Five years later, on June 27, 1870, it was ordered, "that the Steward be instructed to procure a new bell, of the same weight as the old one, exchanging the old one and paying the difference from the general fund" (R.P., 1870-76, p. 47). Thus, for a period of twenty-five years, the question of purchasing a bell for the University was under consideration.
What final disposition was made of the bell is not known, but Horace G. Pretty-man of the class of 1885, related that during the seventies there was a bell, perhaps a foot or eighteen inches in diameter, on the north wing of University Hall. It was rung mornings and on other occasions. Students in the upper classes, objecting to being awakened by the same bell which woke the freshmen, on one occasion wrapped up the clapper so that it could not ring. Another time they turned the bell upside down and filled it with water so that the clapper was frozen in ice. Finally, they stole the bell and threw it into the old "cat-hole."
Thirteen years later at a meeting of the Board of Regents on January 3, 1883, in reference to the installation of the Library chimes, which were used for more than half a century, Professor C. K. Adams reported:
In the contract for the peal of bells ordered for the Library Building, it was agreed that Mr. Meneely should take the old bell with its hangings at full price in case the University should desire to dispose of them. I expect to put the new bells in their place in the tower without any cost to the University whatever; but, in case the fund in my hands should be insufficient to pay for the mounting, I should be glad to be authorized to supplement it from a part of the proceeds from the sale of the old bell. The balance (and perhaps the whole,) will, of course, be turned into the University Treasury, in case the Regents authorize the sale.
I make the suggestion with the understanding that the old bell is not to be taken down till the new ones are in working order.
In June, 1883, Adams also stated:
In the spring of 1882 President White of Cornell University volunteered to be one of three of four persons to place a peal of bells Page 1122in one of the towers of the new Library Building. "Find two or three persons to join me in the matter," said he, "and we will put four or five bells in place without cost to the University." This suggestion was acted upon… The requisite money was put at my command; and I received direction to make a selection of bells.
Of all musical instruments, a group of bells is probably the most difficult to select. The sound of a bell consists of not less than six individual tones, more or less distinct to an acute and cultivated ear; and the quality of the note emitted depends upon the harmonic adjustment of these several tones. No science can prescribe the exact conditions by which this adjustment can invariably be secured; and no art seems able to correct a defective adjustment when once a bell has been cast. A perfect peal would consist of a group of bells in which all these harmonic conditions were perfect in every bell, and in which all the bells were in perfect musical accord with one another. These conditions are so difficult of fulfillment that there is probably not a peal in the world in which they are perfectly realized. A close approximation of these conditions is what gives the especial charm to some of the famous bells of Europe.
After a somewhat extended correspondence with founders in Europe and America, it was decided to give the order to the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Company at Troy, New York. Two visits to the founders were made, one in company with Mr. Battell, and one in company with Professor C. B. Cady, of our School of Music. In the visit for final inspection we examined the chime in Albany, cast by the Clinton H. Meneely Company, as well as the chimes in Buffalo, one of which is the largest and probably the most satisfactory in America. Professor Cady is of the opinion that the bells cast for this University, though not quite perfect when judged from a standard of ideal excellence, are more nearly in tune than were the bells of any of the chimes we visited. The acquaintances of Professor Cady need not be reminded that he is not accustomed to find musical perfection.
The bells are tuned respectively to G, F, E, B, and E, — a succession which provides for the striking of the so-called Cambridge quarters besides the strike of the hour on the large bell. The bells range in weight from 210 to 3,071 lbs.
On the large bell are two inscriptions. That on the east side is the following: universitati michiganensium / ab / iacobo i. hagerman / edvino c. hegeler / andrea d. white / donata / mdccclxxxiii./
On the opposite side is inscribed: bonarum artium / rerumque / humanarum ac divinarum / studiosos / convocamus.
In fulfillment of instructions from the donors and in their behalf, I now present these bells to the University. Through the years to come may they speak out their own words: — call together those who are studious of all good things both human and divine.
(R.P., 1881-86, pp. 340-42.)
At the same meeting the President was requested to thank the Messrs. J. J. Hagerman, E. C. Hegeler, and President Andrew D. White, for the present of the bells for the "new Library Building."
These chimes remained in the tower of the old Library Building until it was demolished in 1918, to make place for the present Library Building, when they were transferred to the tower of the Engineering Building.
The subject of bells apparently did not arise again until President Burton developed the postwar University building program. Dr. Burton had frequently expressed the hope that sometime the University might have a campus tower with a carillon. Those who knew him realized that only the necessity for buildings to meet the immediate needs of an increasing student enrollment restrained him from giving more attention to the project of a bell tower.
It was natural, therefore, upon Dr. Burton's death in 1925, that his interest in a carillon and tower should have been remembered. The Ann Arbor Alumni Page 1123Club, by investigation and enthusiasm, did much to forward the plan of the carillon and tower. Had it not been for the depression of 1929, it is likely that the efforts of this group would have been successful at that time.
In 1935 Charles Baird ('95, LL.B. '95, A.M. hon. '40) generously gave the University $50,000 "for the purchase of a carillon, to be known as the Charles Baird Carillon." Later gifts by Mr. Baird for additional bells and for the Tower brought his total contribution "for the carillon, clock, and tower to the sum of $77,500" (R.P., 1932-36, pp. 597, 776).
Efforts were begun to provide additional funds in the amount of approximately $200,000 for the construction of a tower to be known as the Marion LeRoy Burton Memorial Tower, to house the Charles Baird Carillon. Trust funds held by the University were supplemented by gifts.
Work was begun on the construction of the Tower in 1936. In the meantime a carillon of fifty-three bells had been ordered from the J. H. Taylor Bell Foundry, of Loughborough, England. Earl V. Moore, Musical Director of the University, visited the foundry for the purpose of inspecting and approving the bells before they were shipped. The largest, or Bourdon bell, weighs more than twelve tons and has the pitch of E-flat below middle C. The smallest bell weighs twelve pounds and sounds the note of G-sharp, four and one-half octaves above the Bourdon.
In August, 1936, Wilmot F. Pratt, of New York City, a graduate of the Carillon School, Malines, Belgium, was appointed University Carillonneur.
Dedicatory exercises were held December 4, 1936, in the formal presentation of the Charles Baird Carillon. Mr. Frank Cecil Godfrey acted on behalf of the bell founders, and Mr. Charles Baird made the presentation to President Ruthven, who accepted on behalf of the University. The Charles Baird Carillon and the Marion LeRoy Burton Memorial Tower serve as memorials to a loyal alumnus and an able President. As space in the School of Music Building is limited, the several floors in the Tower, as well as Harris Hall and Lane Hall, are used for practice and teaching studios.
On the outer wall of the Burton Memorial Tower is a large stone plaque, bearing the following inscriptions:
The / Burton Memorial / Tower / Erected to the Memory of / Marion LeRoy Burton / President of / the University of Michigan / 1920.25
The / Charles Baird / Carillon / Presented to / the University of Michigan / by / Charles Baird / Class of 1895
During the quarter century from 1845 to 1870, the single reference to music by the Regents, other than that relating to bells, is found in a report of November 3, 1869: "Regent Johnson moved that the President be authorized to procure one hundred copies of a music book for use in the Chapel exercises." Seven years later, on July 12, 1877, it was resolved "that in view of the increase of the diploma fee the University shall hereafter furnish the music on Commencement occasions, which has heretofore been paid for by the graduating classes."
In the late seventies and in the beginning of the eighties great interest developed in music, both in the community and in the University. In the spring of 1879 a Messiah Club was formed by singers from several of the church choirs. "In the autumn the organization was perfected, under the name of the 'Ann Arbor Choral Union' … Its membership embraced without discrimination, persons connected with the University and persons not so connected" (Winchell, "Our Musical Interests"). It undertook the program of the Messiah Page 1124Club to give concerts in the local churches. Almost before this movement had crystallized the University Musical Society was organized in order to "bridge the music of the community with that of the University." The Ann Arbor School of Music was in its infancy and in the deliberations which followed, frequent references were made to the Amphion Club, to the Chequamegon Orchestra, which not only played for parties but also "did better things," and to the University Glee Club.
At a meeting of the Regents, March 24, 1880, the following communication from the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, advocating instruction in music, was read:
- 1. Music as a science is closely allied to our existing scientific course, and, properly taught, would be no less useful as a disciplinary study.
- 2. As an art it comes in contact with life and society more universally than any other of the aesthetic arts, while it is so inseparable from many of the duties as well as the pleasures of life, that it may justly be reckoned also among the useful arts.
- 3. As a profession scarcely any is more in demand at the present moment than that of music-teaching, and on scarcely any is more money expended by all classes of people — rich and poor.
- 4. Music was one of the seven liberal arts originally embraced in the attainments necessary to the Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and though it is now omitted from the prerequisites to a degree in Arts, no University can be found, or scarcely any, of the rank of the University of Michigan, in which provision is not made for the teaching and cultivation of music. At the same time, music in its present state of development, emphatically a modern art, is far more worthy of a place in liberal studies than in those times when it was one of the conditions of a degree.
- 8. We believe that for all these reasons this University should no longer be left without some provision for teaching the science and art of Music.
- 9. The objects to be accomplished are two: First, the establishment of theoretic and scientific courses in music, such as can be given by class instruction, and placed, as lately, in some other institutions, among the elective studies. Second, the encouragement and culture of music in the University at large, by means of classes, for the practice of choral and instrumental music, open to all students of the University possessing the requisite qualifications.
- The work of the Professor of Music should be such as can be performed in the way of class instruction; consisting of lectures on the history of music, and instructions in the principles of the science of music, and of practical teaching or drill of such students as are sufficiently advanced to participate in exercises in choral and instrumental music.
- As no provision can be made by the University for the teaching of individual pupils, consistently with the principle of free tuition, established by the State Constitution, it should be understood that the Professor of Music shall be at liberty to organize and direct, outside of his University work, a school of music, providing for instruction on the organ, piano, and other instruments, as well as for individual or class instruction in vocal music, and to derive a part of his support from the tuitions of such school; the same to have no official relation to the University.
- 10. We believe that in case these views meet with favorable consideration of the Honorable Board, a gentleman of superior musical education and experience can at this time be secured to take charge of organizing and conducting such a work in the University.
(R.P., 1876-81, pp. 472-73.)
On June 30, it was reported:
Your Committee is of the opinion that the time has arrived when this University should do something for the encouragement and cultivation of aesthetic Art. We recognize the fact that there is a widespread demand for musical culture and instruction throughout the State, and our duty as the State University, to meet that demand.
Page 1125Moreover, we believe that so favorable an opportunity has never before occurred, and is not likely to again occur, for inaugurating this department of instruction, inasmuch as we have now the certainty of securing a teacher to assume the charge of the instruction, possessing eminent fitness; and it will be directly under the fostering care of the Acting President[Dr. Frieze], who has long desired the inauguration of this movement.
We believe that the establishment of systematic and thorough musical instruction will meet a want long felt, and will constitute a positive attraction to a large class of students, and not only enlarge the scope of culture at the University, but draw new members to her classes.
We do not consider it wise at this time to establish a Professorship of music, but think the appointment of an Instructor of music would secure the inauguration of a course, which, if successful and satisfactory, could be hereafter extended and enlarged.
We therefore recommend that the prayer of the memorialists be effectuated by the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved that an Instructorship of Music be, and the same is hereby established in the University, and that Calvin B. Cady be, and is hereby appointed to said Instructorship, with a salary of $900 per annum, to commence with the next college year.
(R.P., 1876-81, pp. 543-44.)
These records clearly indicate that while the Regents and the faculty were in sympathy with a progressive music policy, they were ultraconservative in their efforts to solve the problem of providing individual instruction in practical music. Their conservatism is further revealed by the adoption on September 15, 1880, of the following resolution which provided meagerly for the equipment of the music room: "The Committee on the Literary Department recommend, that an appropriation of thirty dollars be made to equip the music room with charts and works of instruction."
Five years later on June 24, 1885, Cady's title was changed to Acting Professor of Music, and on June 27, 1887, a motion to increase his salary from $900 to $1,600 was amended and compromised with one dissenting vote fixing the salary at $1,200. Later, on the grounds that he had done extra work in preparing the music for the SemiCentennial Commencement week, an additional sum of $200 was allowed him. He resigned in July, 1888, and President Angell, in his annual report to the Regents, said:
Professor Cady, who has resigned after a connection of eight years with [the] University, has rendered a most valuable service to us and to this community by elevating the standard of musical taste and by awakening an enthusiasm for the study of classical music. Upon him fell the somewhat difficult task of organizing the work of musical instruction in the University and of convincing men that such instruction was a proper and useful part of the work of the University.
(R.P., 1886-91, p. 254.)
At the same meeting "Albert A. Stanley was appointed Professor of Music in the place of Professor Cady, resigned, at the salary of $1,200."
It was not until seventeen years later that the problem of providing instruction in applied music was partly solved, when on June 20, 1905, a resolution was adopted permitting students in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to elect courses in practical music in the School of Music for which they were to receive credit toward the bachelor of arts degree. Almost a quarter of a century later, in 1929, the problem was completely solved when the School of Music became an integral unit of the University.
The School of Music continued to be administered by the Board of Directors Page 1126of the Musical Society, but matters of policy and principle were subject to the approval of the Regents. The title to the real estate owned by the Musical Society passed to the University, which, in return, made an annual appropriation to assist in payment of salaries and other expenses of the School of Music. In 1933 elections to the Board of Directors of the Musical Society also became subject to confirmation by the Regents. This action placed the School still more directly under University control.
The early conservatism of the University with reference to provisions for the study of music as an art, by circumstance, served in large measure to bring about the affiliation. The School of Music, as a separate and independent institution, had been stimulated to extraordinary effort by the assurance that it was performing a service desired by the University but not in competition with it. Consequently, the directors of the School of Music had been encouraged to maximum effort in meeting the problems with which they had been confronted. As a result, at the time that the School was merged with the University in 1929, the curriculums were so comprehensive that only minor adjustments were required to conform with the general educational standards of the University.
Formation of the University Musical Society. — With the establishment in the University of an instructorship in music in 1880, the efforts of the several music groups in the community were rewarded by the organization and incorporation of the University Musical Society, which "was especially intended to serve as a means of bringing … [the Choral Union] into such relations with the University as would justify the appropriation of certain advantages which the University was able to afford."
After a preliminary meeting on February 4, 1880, the members of the Choral Union who were on the faculty of the University were called together on February 14 by President Frieze to consider the organization of a "University Musical Society." Present in addition to Frieze were C. K. Adams, E. L. Walter, P. R. B. dePont, B. L. D'Ooge, B. C. Burt, W. W. Burt, John Ayers, and W. T. Whedon. Representatives of this new group held joint meetings with those members of the Choral Union and of the Orchestra who were associated with the University and explained to them the plans of the proposed new society. On February 21, 1880, the Choral Union formally adopted a constitution and elected the following officers: H. S. Frieze, P. R. B. dePont, D. E. Osborne, C. B. Cady, W. H. Dorrance, and F. A. Robinson.
On February 24 the name "University Musical Society" was decided upon. The constitution was almost identical with that of the Choral Union except for a change of names. The two organizations, the Choral Union and the University Musical Society, were administered by the same officers and their affairs were conducted almost jointly. On May 4, 1880, a semipublic rehearsal and on June 28 a commencement concert were given under the auspices of the University Musical Society and the Choral Union.
The University Musical Society did not propose in itself to become a performing body but to be an executive and administrative organization. Its purpose was to stimulate musical taste in the University and in the community. It planned to establish a school of music and to maintain a choral society and an orchestra, and to give "such concerts, lectures, and other public entertainments as might seem practicable and desirable." The simplicity, breadth of vision, and wisdom shown in the framing Page 1127of its constitution were so comprehensive that the Society, since several times reincorporated, still operates, with slight amendments, under the original provisions.
In 1880 Calvin B. Cady, a distinguished young musician from Oberlin, Ohio, who had studied at the Leipzig Konservatorium and who had been elected conductor of the Choral Union and of the University Musical Society, was appointed by the Regents to the newly established instructorship in music in the University. He desired to incorporate the Ann Arbor School of Music, which he had established as a private venture. This was considered, but it was finally decided that the School would be on a firmer basis by the incorporation of the University Musical Society. Under this charter all three divisions, the School of Music, the Choral Union, and the University Orchestra, enjoyed the benefits of corporate existence, and at the same time, each in large measure controlled its own affairs.
After several meetings in April, 1881, the following Board of Directors for the University Musical Society was elected: H. S. Frieze, A. S. Winchell, C. K. Adams, T. P. Wilson, E. L. Walter, C. B. Cady, P. R. B. dePont, W. H. Dorrance, W. W. Beman, B. L. D'Ooge, F. A. Robinson, and D. E. Osborne. At this meeting the articles of incorporation were adopted and signed. On April 22 the first meeting of the Board of Directors was held, and the following officers were elected: President, H. L. Frieze; Vice President, A. S. Winchell; Secretary, W. W. Beman; and Treasurer, C. K. Adams. An ordinance providing for the administration of the Ann Arbor School of Music was also adopted, and the following Board of Trustees was elected to conduct the affairs of the School: B. M. Cutcheon, E. O. Grosvenor, P. B. Loomis, H. S. Frieze, A. S. Winchell, C. K. Adams, T. P. Wilson, W. J. Herdman, C. Mack, I. Hall, Rev. S. S. Harris, and Rev. J. H. Bayliss. These trustees elected the following officers for the School: H. S. Frieze, A. S. Winchell, W. J. Herdman, and C. K. Adams.
In the organization and administration of the several interlocking organizations, because of the duplication of personnel, only a small group was concerned. As a result the functions of the subordinate boards declined in importance, and the Board of Directors of the Musical Society became dominant. Because the same people in many cases served on both major and subsidiary boards, vacancies in the latter were seldom filled, and responsibility devolved more and more heavily upon the parent board. Thus, the orchestra soon lost its identity as a separate organization. The Choral Union Board continued for a longer period, more in name, however, than in reality. The Board of Trustees of the School continued with diminishing powers until 1892, when a second reorganization took place. At that time the ordinance creating its board was repealed, and the affairs of the chorus, the orchestra, and the School were placed under the direct control of the Board of Directors of the Musical Society.
The Choral Union. — According to Paul R. B. dePont, first secretary, the Choral Union, organized in October, 1879, was "grafted on the old Messiah Club, founded in 1879 [early spring] under the direction of Professor Frieze, and which ultimately toward the end of the [school] year, was pledged to give 4 concerts for the benefit of the 4 churches then represented among its members" ("Choral Union Record," 1879-86, p. 1). On October 21, 1879, a constitution was adopted and the following officers elected: President, H. S. Frieze; Secretary, Page 1128P. R. B. dePont; Treasurer, D. E. Osborne; Librarian, B. L. D'Ooge; First Conductor, C. B. Cady; Second Conductor, B. C. Burt.
A memorial prepared by Alexander Winchell in 1889 on the death of Henry Simmons Frieze gives something of the background of musical life in Ann Arbor as well as an account of the part he had played in the development of music in the University:
Dr. Frieze was endowed with a delicate perception of the charms of music. His soul thrilled in unison with all the tender or lofty themes which the muses inspire; but with a soul responsive to the charms of beauty under all its forms, music was from early life, his companion and his solace.
When, in 1854, he became connected with the University of Michigan, he promptly established a reputation as an organist and pianist. For some years he consented to preside at the organ of St. Andrew's Church, and at a more recent period, he rendered the same service for one of the other churches of the city. He was an admirable conductor, and a helpful and invigorating teacher of music. Around him the musicians of the city gathered themselves, and he led and taught them with zeal and inspiration. It was he who first introduced the higher musical compositions to our people. He aggregated our choirs, and encouraged them to undertake the choruses from the oratorios. He trained them till they were competent to offer public performances of merit; and a large number of public concerts were given under his direction in the twenty years between 1860 and 1880.
("Musical Society Record," Dec. 9, 1889, pp. 76-79.)
On May 4, 1880, the first semipublic rehearsal was held. On Sunday, June 27, the group sang the first chorus of "As the Hart Pants" at the baccalaureate service, and the next day gave a commencement concert. The following year a program consisting of three semipublic rehearsals, three recitals by the School of Music, and a final concert in June was outlined and evidently was successfully carried out.
In the fall of 1881, arrangements were made for the presentation of Haydn's Creation. That the chorus had its difficulties in the matter of attendance is indicated by a resolution passed by the Executive Board in 1882 instructing the secretary, Charles M. Gayley ('78, LL.D. '04, Litt.D. Glasgow '01), who was later to write "The Yellow and the Blue," (see Part III: English Language and Literature) "to invite all irregular members [of] the Union to be present at the next regular rehearsal, or forever after to keep away."
In 1882 rehearsals were poorly attended, those present numbering not more than twenty to forty. The Misse Solennelle of Gounod was studied. In the autumn of 1883 the chorus studied Mendelssohn's Saint Paul, and on November 21, with the choir of the Baptist Church, a concert was presented in honor of Saint Cecilia. In November the chorus voted to participate in the dedicatory exercises in connection with the new Library Building. The Ypsilanti Chorus under Professor H. Pease was invited to join in two performances of Saint Paul. It was arranged to present the work in April, 1884, in Ann Arbor and in Ypsilanti. Later in the spring rehearsals were begun on Samson. In October it was voted to invite the Ypsilanti Chorus again to join in giving some suitable oratorio, a project which seems not to have been successful. The chorus decided to study "The Dream" by Costa, the "Rosebud" by Blumenthal, and the cantata Rebekah by Barnby.
On February 25, 1885, a concert was given with sixty participating. Before the concert, which was a great success, William H. Dorrance, on behalf of the chorus, presented Conductor Cady with a new baton and announced that a new platform and a desk had been provided.
Page 1129Melusina, by Hoffman, was given in June, 1885, with eighty-two participants. According to the secretary, the performance was evidently something of an anticlimax: "Small house, cold audience, spiritless performance, small proceeds." Two concerts were given during the next year, apparently with only moderate success, including the Messiah, in May. Orrin* B. Cady, accompanist, offered his resignation, which apparently was not accepted, for records indicate that he continued in this capacity for several years thereafter.
By 1888 the efforts of the Choral Union seem to have reached a low ebb. In March of that year the secretary recorded:
Small attendance. Efforts made to revive a fit of enthusiasm in order to get through the proposed concert. Task almost hopeless; no one has time to do it; no one seems to care to do it. The Society has dwindled down to a very small size; it is like the last glimmer of a dying fire. The Board tried to meet but could get no quorum.
("Choral Union Record," 1879-86, p. 25.)
A communication was received in April, 1889, by the Choral Union from the directors of the University Musical Society stating "that the Choral Union [is] advised to take such measures as shall give new life to that organization, — making such changes in their by-laws as seem necessary; changing the name of the society if desirable; and taking such other steps as shall perfect the plan …," such action to be submitted to the Board of Directors of the University Musical Society ("Choral Union Record," 1886-91, pp. 54-55). As a result of this recommendation the Choral Union, while retaining its name, simplified its administration and brought its activities more directly under the control of the University Musical Society. Apparently, interest was slow in reviving, for on November 12, 1889, "Prof. Stanley scolded a good deal tonight, but the attendance was good. Sopranos 28, altos 15, tenors 10, bassos 22."
The Society sponsored a concert by the Philharmonic Club and the St. Cecilia Quartet, of Detroit, in October, 1889, and, deciding on a bold stroke, voted to engage the Boston Symphony Orchestra "at as low a figure as possible" for a concert to be given in University Hall, on May 16, 1890. The concert was so successful that for three succeeding years the orchestra was re-engaged.
In December, 1889, a chorus of eighty-five sang selections from Gallia, including "Lovely Appear" and "Hail Bright Abode," at a concert in which vocal solos were offered by Ida Winchell, piano numbers were played by Julius L. Seyler, and orchestral selections were given by the Chequamegon Orchestra. On June 25, 1890, a chorus of ninety and an orchestra of thirty participated in a special commencement concert, at which The Light of Asia by Dudley Buck was given. The soloists were Ida B. Winchell, Jules Jordan, and F. Campbell.
A performance by the New York Philharmonic Club was scheduled in 1890. A choral concert was given in November, and it was reported that "never before in its history has the Choral Union and its work been so popular." A program was also given in behalf of the Student Christian Association. In March, 1891, the chorus gave a successful performance of Rhineberger's Christopherus with an orchestra of thirty, and in May the chorus sang at exercises commemorating the death of its president, Dr. Alexander Winchell. In the early nineties the Choral Union, under Page 1130Stanley's leadership, seemed to have entered upon an era of great achievement.
The ann arbor school of music. — The Ann Arbor School of Music was formally opened on September 28, 1881. Classes were conducted in a building at the corner of State and Huron streets. Its early faculty included Calvin B. Cady, Director, theory; Orrin B. Cady, piano; Marion Smith, piano; and Ada Le Van, organ. For the most part rehearsals took place in the University Chapel in University Hall.
When it became a division of the incorporated Musical Society later in 1881, its instruction and concerts were carried on in co-operation with the Choral Union, and at times it was difficult to distinguish one from the other. According to the "Record" of the University Musical Society, the first faculty included Calvin B. Cady, Jeannice May, Anna Nichols, S. F. Schultz, Orrin B. Cady, Anna E. Warden, and Marion Smith.
In October, 1882, it was proposed to give four popular concerts, for which an admission fee of ten cents was to be charged, and four chamber music concerts.
The progress of the School lagged, and in 1888 upon the resignation of Calvin Cady, Albert A. Stanley (grad. Leipzig Konservatorium '75, A.M. hon. Michigan '90, D. Mus. Northwestern '16, D. Mus. Michigan '30) was chosen his successor. Stanley, a young musician from Providence, Rhode Island, came to the University after extensive study abroad and had already won distinction as teacher, organist, conductor, and composer. The outlook in Ann Arbor was not promising. Many students were unable to pay the relatively high fees required for individual lessons, and consequently, because of insufficient resources, it became difficult to maintain a good faculty. The situation in the Choral Union was comparable. Attendance grew irregular and the membership fell off. This precluded adequate public performance; as a result enthusiasm waned, and concerts were poorly attended. In August, 1889, Stanley also tendered his resignation, but it was not accepted, and the Board of Directors appointed a committee to help adjust the affairs of the School. In May, 1890, Levi D. Wines reported that a piano belonging to the School had been sold for $200 to help settle indebtedness. A special committee was appointed, probably as a result of this report, to consider plans for the rehabilitation of the School.
Stanley, in 1891, proposed definite plans for a second reorganization. After a special committee of the Board of Directors conferred with representative Ann Arbor business men, Professor William H. Pettee reported in December, 1891: "The University Musical Society has all the power it needs to proceed to the establishment of a School of Music." The old ordinance providing for the administration of the School through a separate Board of Trustees was repealed, and it was resolved "that the University Musical Society, in accordance with the powers granted by its charter, proceed to the organization of a School of Music, … as soon as the necessary financial support is secured." It was proposed that $6,500 to cover expenses, payable over a period of three years, should be guaranteed by subscription.
It was further resolved that four members of the present Board of Directors should resign to make room for four new directors, two of whom were President Angell and J. H. Wade. The other two, recommended by the contributing business men, were A. L. Noble and Ottmar Eberbach.
Page 1131In January, 1892, the committee reported that one hundred subscriptions of sixty-five dollars each had been secured, whereupon the Board of Directors passed a resolution establishing the "University School of Music." The board instructed Stanley to go to Chicago for the purpose of engaging teachers for the new school.
Comprehensive rules of administration were adopted, and in October, 1892, the University School of Music opened for instruction in rooms rented in Newberry Hall. According to the "Record" of the University Musical Society, the faculty of the reorganized School consisted of: Albert A. Stanley, Musical Director; J. Erich Schmaal, piano; Silas R. Mills, voice; Frederic Mills, violin; Frederic L. Abel, violoncello; Frederic McOmber, flute; Gerald W. Collins, brass instruments; and Miss Grace A. Povey, piano. Special lecturers were John Dewey, psychology; Henry S. Carhart, physical basis of music; Fred N. Scott, aesthetics; Victor C. Vaughan, hygiene; William H. Howell, physiology of the voice; Isaac N. Demmon, songs of the Elizabethan age; Martin L. D'Ooge, music of the ancient Greeks.
The rented rooms were inadequate, and it was proposed that the University School of Music should be moved to Main Street. This proposal was not favorably received, and a special committee was appointed to study the problem of securing a suitable site and providing ways and means for the construction of a building especially designed to meet the needs of a music school. It was decided to send a communication to all subscribers to the $6,500 fund, setting forth the necessity of a new building.
Approximately $15,000 was subscribed, and the School of Music Building Association was organized and incorporated. A site was purchased, and the building constructed on Maynard Street was occupied in the fall of 1893. On October 31 the recital hall was dedicated in memory of Henry Simmons Frieze.
The school of music and the choral union. — Although interest in music lagged during the nineties, Stanley finally succeeded in arousing new enthusiasm. In 1892 Levi D. Wines ('74e), who was a member of the Choral Union, and who had served as treasurer of the University Musical Society since 1884, was elected treasurer of the reorganized University School of Music. Upon the death of Professor Winchell in 1890, Professor Francis W. Kelsey, who had been vice-president, became president. Upon his death in 1927 he was succeeded by Charles A. Sink ('04, M.Ed. Michigan State Normal '29, LL.D. Battle Creek '30), who had been Executive Secretary since 1904.
Thus it was that three men of vision and sound judgment became identified at about the same time with the University Musical Society. They contributed to the Society's progress in music for many years. Dr. Kelsey served effectively as president until his death in 1927. Dr. Stanley resigned in 1921, but remained a member of the Board of Directors until his death in 1932. Wines served as treasurer of the Society until his death in 1938.
During this period interest in music increased. The University acquired the Stearns Collection of musical instruments and the Frieze Memorial Organ. Well-known artists and organizations were engaged for concerts. In the fall of 1893 Stanley proposed that the series of concerts should end, not with a single choral program as had been the custom, but with a festival of three concerts, to be given on a Friday evening, a Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. This plan was approved, and negotiations for the Boston Symphony Orchestra Page 1132apparently having failed, the Boston Festival Orchestra of fifty players, with Emil Mollenhauer, conductor, was engaged. The first festival was a great success, and it was decided to establish the May Festival as a permanent annual event.
In 1896, at the first commencement exercises of the School, a class of nine was graduated. Concerts given by members of the faculty and by the students improved. Series of historical lecture-recitals in piano, voice, and violin were added. Requirements for graduation were raised and courses were included in the history and theory of music, sight-singing, harmony, counterpoint, and public school music. In 1902 an annual summer session was inaugurated. A special normal course for music teachers was instituted. In 1913 the office of Dean of Women of the School was created. Byrl F. Bacher filled this position until the School was affiliated with the University in 1929, when she was appointed Assistant Dean of Women of the University.
In 1926 the University Musical Society was empowered in its own right to grant degrees. Entrance and graduation requirements for the degrees of bachelor and master of music were set up.
Because the School and the concerts were not endowed and derived no financial support except through the sale of tickets and the income from tuition fees, the directors were constantly confronted with financial problems.
Recognizing the principle that the concert hall is the music students' laboratory, the School of Music from the beginning arranged to give concerts. Faculty concerts were given at frequent intervals, and with the acquisition of the Frieze Memorial Organ vesper services and organ recitals were instituted. When the organ was remodeled and moved to Hill Auditorium in 1913, interest in organ music increased. Earl V. Moore ('12, hon.D.Mus. Rochester '29) was appointed University Organist in 1915 and gave many recitals. In 1923 he was succeeded by Palmer Christian (hon. Mus.D. American Conservatory of Music, Chicago '39), a distinguished concert organist, and the annual series of Twilight Organ Recitals was instituted.
A policy of providing five concerts annually in the Choral Union series had been established in the early nineties, and the number of concerts in the Festival was increased first to four, and then to five, thus providing ten concerts each year. The Choral Union and May Festival series continued on a basis of ten concerts until 1909, when a sixth concert was added to the Festival. In 1913 the Choral Union was supplemented by a Young People's Festival Chorus of 400 voices. This chorus, selected from the children of the Ann Arbor public schools, has been heard at each Festival since that time. In 1919 a sixth concert was added to the Choral Union series, making a total of twelve concerts each year. The following year a supplementary series of five concerts, designated "The Extra Concert Series," was instituted, which, in 1929, in commemoration of the semicentennial anniversary of the founding of the University Musical Society, was merged with the Choral Union series. This greater series consisted of ten concerts, and the May Festival continued with six. During the season of 1940-41 an annual Chamber Music Festival was instituted, consisting of three concerts by distinguished visiting ensemble groups.
At the closing concert of the first May Festival on May 19, 1894, the Choral Union sang Verdi's Manzoni Requiem, directed by Stanley, with the Boston Festival Orchestra, Emil Mollenhauer, concert-master; Emma Juch, soprano; Page 1133Gertrude Stein, mezzo-soprano; Max Heinrich, baritone; and Edward C. Towne, tenor.
In the sixty-first annual Choral Union concert series (1939-40) the artists and organizations presented by the University Musical Society included Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kreisler, Alexander Kipnis, the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolli, conductor, Jussi Bjoërling, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky, conductor, Kirsten Flagstad, Robert Virovai, Bartlett and Robertson, and Artur Rubinstein.
In December, 1939, the Society, in accordance with long-standing tradition, presented Handel's Messiah for the twenty-first time, with Beal Hober, William Hain, Joan Peebles, Theodore Webb, Palmer Christian, the University Choral Union, and the University Symphony Orchestra, Thor Johnson, conductor.
In the forty-seventh Annual May Festival in 1940 six concerts were given, and the artists and organizations participating included: Lily Pons, Dorothy Maynor, Rosa Tentoni, Enid Szantho, Giovanni Martinelli, Robert Weede, Norman Cordon, Alexander Kipnis, Richard Hale, Joseph Szigeti, Emanuel Feuermann, Artur Schnabel, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the University Choral Union, The Young People's Chorus, Thor Johnson, choral conductor, Eugene Ormandy, Saul Caston, Harl McDonald, Thor Johnson, and Roxy Cowin. The principal choral works were Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns, and the cantata The Inimitable Lovers by Vardell.
Supplementary to the Choral Union and May Festival concerts in that year, twenty concerts were given in the Faculty and Organ Recital series. Fifty-eight formal concerts in addition to numerous informal programs were played by Professor Percival Price on the Charles Baird Carillon; and seventy-nine recitals were performed by students.
Two musical directors have presided over the May Festivals to 1940: Albert A. Stanley, who conducted the first twenty-eight (1894-1921), and Earl V. Moore, who has conducted the festivals since 1922. Three orchestras have participated: the Boston Festival Orchestra (1894-1904), the Chicago Symphony (1905-1935), and since that time the Philadelphia Orchestra.
An important contributing factor to the success of the Society has been the early recognition by the Board of Regents of the importance of centralizing and supporting a single, strong, concert-giving organization. In 1906 "it was voted that the University Musical Society shall have the exclusive use of University buildings for the purpose of giving musical entertainments, except such as are rendered by student organizations" (R.P., 1901-6, p. 691).
The school of music of the university. — The inscription, "Ars longa vita brevis," on the seal of the University Musical Society was undoubtedly suggested by the first President, Henry Simmons Frieze. Its truth has been proved by the musical heritage which has come down as a result of the vision, foresight, and sound policies of the early administrators of the School.
Although students in other units of the University had taken courses in music for credit since 1905, when the School of Music was affiliated with the University in January, 1929, music degrees were conferred directly by the University. The School of Music profited because the recognition of its work as being on a par with that in other fields of education lent dignity to the profession and developed an appreciation for the basic values of music.
Students in other units of the University Page 1134were given greater opportunities to study music and to avail themselves of musical facilities. The student body was made up of three principal types or groups: students matriculated in the School who carried full-time work and were candidates for graduation; students enrolled in other schools or colleges of the University who elected one or more subjects in the School of Music, receiving credit in their respective units; special students, not candidates for graduation, who desired to acquire a general knowledge of music, or to supplement their professional equipment by special study.
To earn the degree of bachelor of music, four years of study, amounting to 120 hours of credit and 130 honor points were required. A student offered credits in his major field, in historical and theoretical music, and in nonmusic or regular academic subjects. A candidate for the degree of master of music was required to devote at least two years after receiving his bachelor's degree to the study or practice of music. One year was spent in full-time residence study, while the other could be devoted to professional activity, a thesis of the work covered during the year of absentia study being required. The second group, made up of students enrolled in other schools or colleges, by reciprocal arrangement, was permitted to elect certain courses in music, receiving credit in the respective units. Thus, music credit could be earned by candidates who were working for the degrees of bachelor of arts, bachelor of education, master of arts, or doctor of philosophy. Combined curriculums were also established whereby students could earn both the degree of bachelor of music and that of bachelor of arts or of education in a minimum length of time. Special students were admitted without academic entrance requirements and were allowed to pursue such subjects as their musical abilities warranted.
By 1929, 340 certificates, 431 diplomas, and seventy-five degrees had been granted, representing a total of 846 graduates. From 1929 through the 1940 summer session, 721 degrees had been conferred, a total of 1,567 graduates. In the regular session and in the summer session of 1939-40, 1,569 individuals received instruction in the School. A conservative estimate of the number of students enrolled from the founding of the School in 1880 through 1940 reaches 17,055. Many of the students are filling important positions as concert artists, directors, conductors, composers, writers, publishers, supervisors, teachers, church singers, and choral directors.
Commensurate with this growth in the student body has been an advancement in faculty personnel. From the first, teachers of recognized standing were secured. From the original small group of instructors, the faculty membership increased until by 1940-41, in addition to Dr. Earl V. Moore, Professor of Music and Director of the School, the staff included Wassily Besekirsky, Professor of Violin; Palmer Christian, Professor of Organ and University Organist; Arthur Hackett, Professor of Voice; David Mattern, Professor of Music Education; Hanns Pick, Professor of Violoncello; Percival Price, Professor of Composition and University Carillonneur; Otto Stahl, Professor of the Theory of Music; Joseph Brinkman, Associate Professor of Piano; William D. Revelli, Associate Professor of Wind Instruments and Conductor of the University Bands; and Mabel Ross Rhead, Associate Professor of Piano. There were also eight assistant professors and seventeen instructors. The faculty assisted in the organization of many musical groups such as the University Band, the Varsity Glee Club, and the Stanley Page 1135Chorus of women students. These groups, which include students from all the schools and colleges of the University, received regular direction under members of the School of Music faculty. Productions such as the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, in addition to works for student performance, have contributed to the University's cultural entertainment.
Gifts, bequests, and scholarships. — Musical development in the University has been stimulated by the generous assistance of many individuals and groups. The Stearns Collection of musical instruments, assembled from all parts of the world over a period of many years, was presented to the University in 1899 by the late Frederick Stearns, of Detroit. In the following year, his son Frederick Kimball Stearns gave the University a valuable collection of music scores, sheet music, and books (R.P., 1899-1900, p. 13).
In 1896, when the need for a suitable music hall and school building was urgent, Mr. Edward C. Hegeler, (A.M. hon. '83), of LaGrange, Illinois, made an initial contribution of $1,000 for this purpose. This gift was used to help in the construction of the Burton Memorial Tower.
In 1893, upon the reorganization of the School of Music, a suitable home was provided, largely by the generous aid of local citizens. A building association was incorporated in which stock was issued in the amount of approximately $15,000, from which amount the building on Maynard Street was constructed. Eventually, the stock was presented by the subscribers to the University Musical Society, and upon the affiliation of the School of Music with the University in 1929, the title to this property, appraised at $106,393.04, passed to the Board of Regents.
At the close of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the famous Columbian organ, purchased for $15,000 by the University Musical Society, was presented to the University and set up in old University Hall. It was dedicated December 14, 1894, to the memory of Henry Simmons Frieze. It represented the highest achievement of the organ builder's art, and was one of the first great organs to be operated entirely by electricity.
In 1906, at a time when the financial affairs of the May Festival were at a low ebb and it seemed that the event might have to be abandoned, a group of Ann Arbor citizens headed by Mr. Walter C. Mack, raised a fund of $1,000 in order that the three-day event not only might continue, but might become an even greater occasion, covering four days. This help aroused such interest that the Society overcame its financial distress.
In 1910 Arthur Hill ('65e), for many years a member of the Board of Regents, bequeathed to the University the sum of $200,000 for the construction of an auditorium wherein music festivals and other University gatherings might be held. The completion in 1913 of the auditorium, which bears his name, contributed much to the development of the University's musical activities.
William H. Murphy, of Detroit, bequeathed to the University the sum of $50,000 in 1930 in these terms: "Although I do not intend to place any limitations on this gift, I hope the Regents of the University will find it possible to use the principal, or the income therefrom, either in the erection of a building devoted to music, or the maintenance thereof, or in giving worthy students the benefit of a musical education."
In 1931 the School of Music received $100,000, known as the Oliver Ditson Endowment, from the late Charles H. Ditson, a distinguished music publisher of New York City who died in 1929. The Page 1136income from this fund has been employed largely for scholarships.
As mentioned previously, Charles Baird gave to the University more than $75,000 in 1935-36, for the purchase of a carillon and clock to be installed in the Tower to be erected to the memory of President Burton. Funds for the construction of the Tower to house the Charles Baird Carillon were provided through several sources. The Murphy and Hegeler music building funds were transferred to the Tower fund, and the Regents supplemented these by adding other available money. Citizens of Ann Arbor and alumni of the University contributed to an extent which has made possible the completion of the Tower at a total cost, including the Baird gift, of approximately $250,000.
Among gifts especially designated for scholarships are the Elsa Gardner Stanley Fund, the Chamber Music Society Fund, the Albert Lockwood Fund, the Delta Omicron Sorority Fund, and the Albert A. Stanley Fund.
In 1933 the Board of Directors of the University Musical Society placed on the walls of the main corridor in the School of Music Building bronze tablets in memory of three people who had contributed much to the School of Music. They read as follows:
Francis Willey Kelsey, Ph.D., LL.D. / 1858-1927 / President of the University Musical Society / and of the / University School of Music / 1891-1927 / Professor of the Latin Language and Literature / University of Michigan / 1889-1927 / Ars longa vita brevis
Albert Augustus Stanley, A.M., Mus.D. / 1851-1932 / Professor of Music in the University of Michigan / and / Musical Director of the University Musical Society / 1888-1921 / Founder of the Ann Arbor May Festival 1894 / Ars longa vita brevis
Albert Lockwood / 1871-1933 / Head of Pianoforte Department / University School of Music / 1900-1933 / Professor of Pianoforte / University of Michigan / 1929-1933 / Ars longa vita brevis
In 1940 these tablets were transferred to the walls of the Society's offices in Burton Memorial Tower.
By 1940 in the Choral Union and May Festival series, approximately 750 programs had been heard. With a conservative estimated average attendance of 2,000 at each concert during the period that they were given in University Hall up to 1913, and of 4,200 for those given after that time in Hill Auditorium, the total number of admissions approached 1,812,000. For the approximately 1,200 programs of the faculty and organ recitals series, 2,400,000 more admissions have been recorded. For the 800 or more student recitals, another 160,000 admissions are estimated; a grand total of 4,000,000 admissions.
In the Choral Union and May Festival series approximately 380 larger works of a choral or symphonic nature by some 300 composers had been performed. These, with smaller compositions covering practically the entire field of music literature, brought the grand total of compositions performed in this series to approximately 3,000. In addition, in the Faculty, Organ, and Student series, approximately 12,000 compositions had been heard.
Participating artists and organizations numbered more than 600. Included were practically all of the major orchestras, ensemble groups, and celebrated soloists, both vocal and instrumental. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra had been heard in 173 concerts, the Detroit Symphony in forty-one, the Boston Symphony in thirteen, the Philadelphia Orchestra in fourteen, and the Cleveland, the Cincinnati, the St. Louis, the New York Philharmonic, the New York Page 1137Symphony, and Pittsburgh orchestras in one or more each. Leading string quartets, other chamber music groups, bands, concert opera companies, and many celebrated soloists were presented. More than 8,000 singers had served as members of the Choral Union Series chorus and had appeared in its performances by 1940.
At the close of the 1940 summer session, the University Musical Society relinquished its rights and responsibilities in the control and maintenance of the School of Music to the University, but retained other privileges, particularly those having to do with the giving of concerts in University buildings. The Musical Society turned over to the University all property and equipment (valued in 1940 at $51,979.19) except what it required for its own activities. The University prepared the first floor and basement of the Burton Memorial Tower as administrative offices for the use of the Musical Society.
Since its organization in 1879, and its incorporation in 1881 as a nonprofit educational organization, the Board of Directors of the University Musical Society has included all presidents of the University as well as other executive and administrative officers and many distinguished citizens of Ann Arbor and its environs.
The following persons have served as president of the Society: Henry Simmons Frieze, 1879-81, 1883-89; Alexander Winchell, 1881-83, 1889-91; Francis W. Kelsey, 1891-1927; and Charles A. Sink, 1927-. Conductors have included Calvin B. Cady, 1879-88; Albert A. Stanley, 1888-1921; Earl V. Moore, 1922-39; and Thor Johnson, 1939-.
Through the years officers and directors have ever been mindful of the legend of its founding fathers: "Ars Longa Vita Brevis."