Millinocket Music Makers
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
On Memorial Day, 1921, the Millinocket Band led off the annual parade with a rousing march tune while the Third Maine swung into line carrying Old Glory. They were followed by many khaki-clad heroes of the Great War (WWI). At intervals during the baseball game on Labor Day between the teams of Millinocket and East Millinocket, the Millinocket Band “discoursed music for the benefit of the vast audience.”
In early 1923, band manager Clyde Folsom announced the first rehearsal of the new year. A few new musicians were expected to join the group bringing the number to over 30. It was thought that the new bandstand was an inspiration and a successful summer was expected! The bandstand was a gift from GNP.
Early newspapers (1920’s) mention occasions where the town band, school band, church choirs and other local musicians participated. The Baptist Church was “blessed with those interested and gifted in music.” They had a large chorus choir, a 7- piece orchestra conducted by James Simpson and a gifted pianist, Mrs. L.C. Monahan.
During the 1920’s, motion pictures had no talking so each theater had a pianist who played appropriate music for each scene. Miss Beach was the Opera House pianist for a time. Frederick Davis (formerly of Millinocket, pianist for a theater in South Paris), filled in for Miss Beach in December of 1923.
Operettas were a common musical entertainment form popular in earlier times. They were usually a short operetta with a light or humorous theme and spoken dialogue. The Philharmonic Club and Junior Philharmonic Club met in the spring of 1926 to practice the musical numbers for their upcoming performance.
“A large appreciative audience filled the Armory to listen to the entertainment put on by Co. I. 103rd Infantry.” The musical comedy was written and directed by Millinocket’s Vinal P. Crommett. A large number of young people participated in the choruses and specialty numbers.
Millinocket has had many talented musical individuals and groups! Some of these are featured in the Millinocket Historical Society’s new calendar for 2024, now available at the museum and online via the MHS website and email. Each month has several photos and trivia on a musical category. Titled Millinocket Music Makers, the topics include the Millinocket Band, various school bands and orchestras, local drum and bugle corps and church groups. Also included are the Millinocket Players, SHS Thespians and several small local groups and individuals.