Singing Meetings and Concerts

Compiled and Edited by Roger Lee Hall
(PineTree Press)

"may the artistic values of choral music, mass participation, and the
strengthening of friendship's ties throughout the Town and district,
through music, be not forgotten among us."
-- Frank W. Reynolds, 1962
(bicentennial year of the first singing meetings in Stoughton)

Stoughton Square in 1910


Stoughton, Massachusetts has the distinction of having the oldest continuing singing society in the United States of America.

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the first documented singing meetings in Stoughton, a DVD has been prepared by musicologist, Roger Lee Hall, with historical information about singing meetings and concerts in Stoughton, Avon, Braintree, Brockton, Canton, Randolph, Sharon and other area towns.

This survey includes information about the two musical societies and does not include any of the music concerts or programs from the Stoughton public schools.

The first edition of the OLD STOUGHTON book covered the years 1762 to 1912. The second edition adds fifty more years up to 1962.

Included on the disc are detailed descriptions of singing meetings and concerts with listings of the music performed and other historical information.


Information is also provided for Stoughton-born composers, such as Supply Belcher (1751-1836) and Jacob French (1754-1817).

The DVD also contains picture galleries with local composers and sheet music, and a music album featuring local composers.

This DVD is useful for musicians, musicologists, historians, genealogists, researchers, teachers, students, and anyone interested in American music or history.

Included in the book are meetings held during important times in American history such as when the U.S. Constitution was written and that same year of 1787 the Stoughton Musical Society had their own as well -- the first constitution of any music organization in the U.S.A.

The DVD title is named after a local tune, OLD STOUGHTON, by Stoughton composer and violinist, Edwin Arthur Jones (1853-1911), and his tune was published in 1886. A recording of OLD STOUGHTON is included on the DVD.

The book focuses on singing meetings and concerts by Stoughton's two musical societies. Here is the first page of original 1786 journal of the Stoughton Musical Society:

--The Stoughton Musical Society (now called Old Stoughton Musical Society or OSMS), was organized on November 7, 1786, and it is now the oldest choral society in the U.S.A. Their members were from Stoughton and many surrounding towns in Massachusetts.

--The Musical Society in Stoughton (or MSIS), and differing from OSMS by only allowing town residents to join. Some members of MSIS claimed they were the oldest in town since they used the 1762 date as their beginning, but there is no evidence to prove that claim. Their first journal indicates they were organized on January 1, 1802. MSIS was disbanded in 1982.



Contents of the book:

Introduction: Remembrance of Tunes Past  

PART ONE: List of Singing Meetings and Concerts

I. 1762-1770: First singing meetings

II. 1774-1779: William Billings singing school and other meetings

III. 1780-1789: First musical society organized

IV. 1790-1799: First singing contest and more meetings

V. 1802-1859: Second musical society organized

VI. 1860-1885: Centennial Collection published

VII. 1886: Centennial Concert of Stoughton Musical Society

VIII. 1887: Grand Spring Reunion and Concert

IX.1889-1899: Christmas Sings

X. 1900-1912: Early 20th Century Concerts

XI. 1913-1935: Special Concerts

XII.1936-1962: Anniversaries


PART TWO: Additional Information

“Another Offspring of Dorchester” (1910 article - excerpt)


Most Performed Early New England Tunes, 1882-1982

Meeting Places for Concerts



Bonus Features on the DVD:

Music album: Old Stoughton Music Sampler

Video program: "A Stoughton Musicfest: Local Composers and Musicians" (May 1990)
-- one hour cable television program with historical commentary, a short play: "William Billings Teaches A Singing School," and music performances by local singers and Stoughton High School instrumentalists.



OLD STOUGHTON - Singing Meetings and Concerts
(PineTree Press, 2012)

with historical listings of singing meetings and concerts,
a picture gallery, a music album, and one hour video program,
all playable on the DVD drive of your computer.

All of this material for only $19.95
and it includes First Class shipping (USA orders only)

To order by credit card payable to PineTree Productions,
through safe and secure PayPal,
click this button:



After completing your order,
send your mailing address
where you wish the DVD-R to be shipped.
Send to:



If you wish to order this disc from outside of the USA,
write to:

OLD STOUGHTON (Overseas Air Mail)



Other CDs and DVDs with music from Stoughton


Stoughton Music Heritage Series




Music in Old Boston



A Dedication Concert




Deluxe DVD: Preserving Our Musical Past


Roger Hall presented a complimentary copy of the
Stoughton Public Library Director,
Pat Basler, for the Stoughton Collection.



Roger Hall presented a DVD, "How Beautiful Upon The Mountains" (2011)
about the life and music of Edwin Arthur Jones, and
the first edition of the OLD STOUGHTON DVD
to Dwight MacKerron,
President of the Stoughton Historical Society




Musicologist Makes Music




Thanks to the efforts of musicologist and composer, Roger Hall, the Old Stoughton Musical Society (or OSMS) was listed as America's oldest choral society in The Guinness Book of Records and Chase's Calendar of Events.

For many years Mr. Hall has been involved with arts preservation and served as the first Chairman of the Stoughton Arts Council from 1980 to 1984, and also was a member of the Massachusetts Arts Lottery Advisory Committee.

He was Vice-President and Historian of the Old Stoughton Musical Society during the 1970s and 1980s. Also, he conducted the chorus for several years and composed music for them to perform.

Mr. Hall has received many distinctions including being listed in
Who's Who in America
and Who's Who in the World.

To read more about his many music accomplishments, CLICK HERE


Read about an 1814 anti-war poem titled, "Peace,"
by a 10 year old Stoughton girl,
with music by Roger Hall






Please help support the educational mission of this web site.

Order music books, music broadsides, CDs and DVDs
from the

American Music Preservation Store




Return to top of this page













© 2012 PineTree Productions. All Rights Reserved.