For over two centuries the Town of Stoughton, Massachusetts has been filled with singing! Yet many of its citizens and the general public elsewhere are unaware of this long and distinguished musical history, beginning back in the 1760s!
Also, there have been many award-winning Stoughton High School music groups, who have received gold and silver medals at competitions locally and elsewhere.
Plus, there is the popularity of Stoughton's
singer-songwriter, Lori McKenna.
Over the years there has been a minefield of misinformation about Stoughton's two historic musical societies and their singing traditions.
It has been written previously that the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, organized in 1815, was America's oldest musical society. Not true!
The Stoughton Musical Society was organized in 1786. It was officially recognized by The Guinness Book of Records in 1994 as the oldest in the U.S., thanks to proof provided by musicologist, Roger Hall.
Unfortunately, some music historians and journalists have continued to repeat the same incorrect information. They state, for example, the myth that 18th psalmody (as it was called) "disappeared" from New England during the 19th century and 20th century. But it did not disappear in Stoughton at least until recently. The Stoughton musicians have made a conscious effort to preserve the 18th century choral music. Yet, their efforts continue to go unmentioned in scholarly publications. Just to give one example, there are 28 tunes by William Billings in The Stoughton Musical Society's Centennial Collection of Sacred Music (1878), yet this music collection is not even listed in Catalog of the Musical Works of William Billings, compiled by Karl Kroeger.
There has been some errors in past writings about Stoughton's two musical societies.
Display table with music books and CDs prepared by Stoughton musicologist and singer, Roger Lee Hall, who sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at this event. He also played the original version as performed in a 1980 concert in Boston and believed to be the first modern day concert performance of the original version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
It is included on a new CD of Civil War music...
On Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m.. Stoughton Historical Society Vice-President David Allen Lambert hosted a plaque dedication at 4 Capen Street in Stoughton. The plaque was placed at the Rose Forte Apartments in memory of George Quincy Clifford, a 1st Class passenger who was lost when the Titanic sank. His body was never recovered after the ship ran into an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912. Clifford was then the 40 year old President of the George E. Belcher Shoe Last Company in Stoughton and was traveling with two other business associates: Walter Chamberlain Porter, President of the Samuel Porter Last Manufacturing Company in Worcester, and John Edward Maguire of the Dunbar Pattern Company of Brockton, Massachusetts.
The invited guests at the plaque ceremony were (left to right):
Lauren Redfern, Robert MacArthur, Jennifer Bond (holding a Belcher shoe last) and Stoughton historian, David Allen Lambert
This old photo from the early 1900s shows the site of Robert Capen's house at the corner of Park and Seaver Streets in Stoughton, Massachusetts.
The Capen house is where the famous Boston composer, William Billings, taught his singing school in 1774. Billings was the best known New England composer in 18th century America. His Stoughton singing school had 49 pupils, consisting of young males and females, and one of them later became a composer himself, Jacob French (1754-1817).
The (Old) Stoughton Musical Society, 1786 -
This plaque is located at the entrance of the Stoughton Historical Society building in Stoughton Square and reads:
"On November 7, 1786, America's oldest musical society was organized near this spot. This plaque placed on the occasion of its 200th anniversary in 1986."
This society was originally known as the Stoughton Musical Society (SMS) and had its first meeting at Robert Capen's house at the corner of Park and Seaver Streets. Many of the first members were from what is now Canton, Massachusetts, including their first President and Song Leader, Elijah Dunbar, who served as President until 1808. He was a graduate of Harvard College and active in many duties, including naming his Town of Canton, when it was incorporated in 1797.
SMS Vice-President was Capt. Samuel Talbot, who later served as as their second President from 1808 to 1818. The first Secretary was Lt. Samuel Capen, serving from 1786 to 1800. For the first few years there were two Treasurers: Joseph Smith, 4th and Andrew Capen.
At first it was exclusively a men's singing society.Then in 1844, "it was voted that ladies be invited to sing with the Society," after the serving of alcohol had been abolished.
The Stoughton Musical Society has the oldest constitution of any musical organization in America, written in October of 1787, just a few weeks after the U.S. Constitution.
This musical society added the prefix "Old" when they were officially incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1908. They accepted singers from all the surrounding towns, including Avon, Braintree, Bridgewater, Brockton, Canton, Randolph and other locales.
Two hundred years later to the date, on November 7, 1986, the OSMS bicentennial concert was held at Stoughton High School. The same major choral work was performed as at the Centennial Concert in 1886 -- Franz Joseph Haydn's The Creation, for soloists, chorus and orchestra. Also performed in the concert was a tune titled "Stoughton" by William Billings, in a new edition with 18th century text.
In 1994, thanks to the efforts of musicologist and composer Roger Hall, this choral society was listed in The Guinness Book of Records.
Mr. Hall also submitted the information to the Chase's Calendar of Events, a national directory, which had this entry:
"OLD STOUGHTON MUSICAL SOCIETY: ANNIVERSARY. Nov. 7, 1786. Founded at Stoughton, MA, the Stoughton Musical Society is the oldest choral society in the United States."
First Singing Contest
Read about the contest between two Massachusetts choruses, included selected voices from the Stoughton Musical Society at
A second choral society was organized in Stoughton on January 1, 1802.
The only difference between the two societies was that only Stoughtonresidents could join this singing group. Many of them also belonged to the older Stoughton Musical Society. For example, the first President of this choral society was Capt. Samuel Talbot, who also served at the same time as Vice President of the Stoughton Musical Society.
Samuel Talbot served as President of the Musical Society in Stoughton from 1802 to 1808. The first Vice President was Robert Swan, who served from 1806 to 1808. First Secretary was Abram Capen (1802-1806), and first Treasurer was John Dickerman Jr. (1802-1806).
For many years the Musical Society in Stoughton officers claimed to have been founded in 1762, but there are no documents to support that claim. Their claim was that the first singing meetings in 1762 were the beginning of this musical society. Actually, there are no records to prove there was a musical society organized in 1762.
One of their last officers, Frank Reynolds, had the original sign board painted over with the incorrect date of 1762 substituted for the date of 1802, bringing great dishonor to him for tampering with an artifact of history. But his dirty deed didn't go unpunished. After years of incorrectly claiming they were the "oldest choral society in America," The Musical Society in Stoughton (MSIS) continued to lose members until they finally dwindled down to only a few and were disbanded in 1982, with their remaining assets given to the Old Stoughton Musical Society, which was the oldest one in town.
There are still traces of the wrong date for the Musical Society in Stoughton, such as in the Pilgrim Monument at Provincetown, Massachusetts, which may be "set in stone" but is still incorrect when it states the Musical Society in Stoughton began in 1762, instead of 1802. The 1786 is correct for the Old Stoughton Musical Society.Actually both musical societies had singers who were attending informal singing meetings in 1762 in Stoughton.
The Centennial Celebration in 1886
The Centennial observance of The Stoughton Musical Society took place with Gov. George D. Robinson and Lt. Gov. Oliver Ames in attendance. The Centennial Celebration of the Stoughton Musical Society was held on June 9, 1886 with an evening concert at Stoughton Town Hall:
The program for June 9:
Morning Exercises (10:00 a.m.)
1. Overture: The Magic Flute - Mozart
2. Hymn to the tune of "Old Hundred"
3. Prayer by Rev. E.H. Capen, D.D., President Tufts College.
4. Words of welcome by the President, Winslow Battles.
5. Historical address by Hon. Samuel B. Noyes.
6. Centennial Hymn - written by Dexter Smith, Esq.
Evening Exercises (7:30 p.m.)
Oratorio: The Creation - F.J. Haydn
Miss Elene Buffington Kehew, soprano;
Mr. George J. Parker, tenor;
Mr. Clarence E. Hay, bass.
Orchestra of the Society, Mr. E.A. Jones, leader,
Mr. H.L. West, accompanist.
Conductor: Mr. Hiram Wilde,
Assistant Conductor: Mr. George N. Spear.
Tickets to Concert, 50 and 75 cents.
Admission to the morning exercises alone -- 25 cents
Also in 1886, E.A. Jones composed a special commemorative piece for the Musical Society in Stoughton and he titled it, "OLD STOUGHTON." It was written as a fuging tune in the 18th century New England style of William Billings and his contemporaries. This tune is included in the pamphlet, E.A. Jones: His Life and Musicand a recording this piece is on the CD, A Centennial Collection: Music by E.A. Jones.
The World's Exposition Concerts in 1893
In August of 1893, the Stoughton Musical Society was the only invited chorus to perform early New Englandmusic at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The man mostly responsible for arranging these concerts was Stoughton composer and violinist, Edwin Arthur Jones. Two concerts were given on August 14 and 15, with several thousand people in the audience, more than attended the classical symphony concerts.
For a complete list of the music performed by the Stoughton Musical Society, and some of the music on a CD, go to:
The object of this Society shall be as heretofore and always, the preservation, cultivation, and practice of the music of the earlier native composers, together with general musical and antiquarian activity.
Article II. Meetings
Article III. Officers
Article IV. Duties of Officers
Article V. Vice President
Article VI. Clerk
Article VII. Trustees
Article VIII. Directors
Article IX. Chorister [Conductor]
Article X. The Vice Chorister
Article XI. Membership
Article XII. Amendments
This Constitution has been changed many times since its approval in 1908, mostly to amend the articles.
The Stoughton Town Hall Centennial Concert in 1981
This concert honoring the centennial of Stoughton Town Hall was performed by the Old Stoughton Musical Society, conducted by Roger Hall on November 22, 1981.
A special banner with the Stoughton Town Seal was designed for the occasion by artist Mildred Wilson.
All the music was by American composers, including William Billings, Supply Belcher, Samuel Barber and Randall Thompson.
Some of the pieces in the concert were by local composers, including several choruses by Edwin Arthur Jones and an anti-war song, Peace, set to a poem written in 1814 by a Stoughton teenage girl, Esther Talbot.
This is the first verse of her poem:
Come, gentle Peace, with smiling ray,
Beam on our land a cloudless day;
Beneath thy influence serene,
The olive wears immortal green.
The poem was set to music by Roger Hall and received its First Performance in the 1981 concert.
To see the 100th anniversary Town Hall program,
The Bicentennial Anniversary in 1986
November 7, 1986 was declared as "Old Stoughton Musical Society Day" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by order of Governor Michael S. Dukakis.
Shown here behind Gov. Dukakis are (left to right):
State Senator William R. Keating;
O.S.M.S. President David M. Benjamin;
State Representative Marjorie A. Clapprood;
Treasurer Joseph M. Klements;
O.S.M.S. Vice President and Bicentennial Chairman, Roger L. Hall
This plaque was placed at the entrance of the Stoughton Historical Society Building
in Stoughton Square and reads:
"On November 7, 1786, America's oldest musical society was organized near this spot.
This plaque placed on the occasion of the 200th anniversary in 1986."
The Old Stoughton Musical Society Bicentennial Season included special exhibits at Harvard University, in Lexington and Stoughton, all prepared by Bicentennial Chairman, Roger Hall.
There were four concerts given during 1986.
The first one was given on April 20 in North Easton, Massachusetts, under the direction of Earl Eyrich. It featured the World Premiere performance of the hymn tune, STOUGHTON, by William Billings [original 1770 printed copy shown above]. It originally had music only without any words. The Billings tune was edited by Roger Hall, who added a hymn text by Dr. Isaac Watts which was popular in 18th century New England.
Also, there was a special exhibit in the music library of Harvard University and two concerts given at the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, Massachusetts:
The first concert in Lexington was presented in October and titled: "Two Centuries of Piano Music in New England," featuring pianist David Hagan performing works by Charles Ives, Edwin Arthur Jones, Roger Hall and other composers.
The following month a second concert was presented: "Two Centuries of Choral Music in New England," with the Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus, directed by Earl Eyrich, performing music by William Billings, Jacob French, Oliver Shaw, Edwin A. Jones, George W. Chadwick, and Roger Hall, who composed an 18th century style fuging tune titled DEDICATION, based on words printed in the 1794 tune book of William Billings.
The fourth concert that year was the official Bicentennial Concert held at Stoughton High School exactly two hundred years later on November 7, 1986. The Billings hymn STOUGHTON was again performed and the featured work was Franz Joseph Haydn's oratorio, The Creation, for soloists, chorus and orchestra, conducted by Earl Eyrich. This was the same work that had been performed in the 1886 concert of the Old Stoughton Musical Society. The Bicentennial Commemorative program booklet contains congratulatory letters from President Ronald Reagan, an entry in The Congressional Record by Hon. Joseph Moakley, and concert notes by Earl Eyrich and Roger Hall.
Also on November 7, Roger Hall was a guestalong with William Billings biographer, David McKay, on the popular classical radio program, "Morning Pro Musica," on WGBH-FM and hosted by Robert J. Lurtsema. There were several Billings tunes played on the program. A portion of this radio interview is available on this CD, The Best of William Billings.
In honor of this 200th anniversary, Roger Hall wrote a special Bicentennial Hymn based on the familiar psalm tune, "Old Hundred." This hymn text was included in the Bicentennial Concert Commemorative Program Booklet.
The 60 member chorus of The Old Stoughton Musical Society on stage at
Stoughton High School for the Bicentennial Concert on November 7, 1986
In memory of a respected past
Old Stoughton Musical Society music director,
Two of the oldest amateur singing traditions of religious or harmony music in the U.S. are the two musical societies in Stoughton, and the Sacred Harp singing in the South, especially in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
Of these, Stoughton is the oldest, performing choral music consisting of plain tunes, fuging tunes, set pieces and anthems. Also, this music has been supplemented with performances of larger choral works, such as cantatas and oratorios -- both types composed by an unjustly forgotten 19th century Stoughton composer: Edwin Arthur Jones.
There were two music collections published by the Stoughton Musical Society, the first in 1829 and the second one in 1878, which had tunes by Stoughton-born composers, such as Supply Belcher, Jacob French, and his brother, Edward French.
In 1980, The Stoughton Musical Society's Centennial Collection of Sacred Music (Ditson & Co., 1878), was reprinted with an Introduction and New Index by Roger Hall (New York: Da Capo Press, 304 pages). There are about 160 tunes in the collection, most of them by New England composers and some edited music by European composers (Haydn, Mozart, Naumann, Stephenson, Tans'ur). There are more New England tunes in this Stoughton collection than in other tune books of the 19th century, including The Sacred Harp.
Just to give an example, here are the number of tunes by William Billings in these collections:
The Sacred Harp (1844/ revision, 1991) = 14 tunes
The Stoughton Centennial Collection (1878/ reprint, 1980) = 28 tunes
There are approximately 48 early New England tunes in The Sacred Harp and 33 of these tunes are also found in The Stoughton Centennial Collection -- which is not a shape-note tunebook.
Thus, contrary to common belief, 18th century tunes did not disappear during the 19th century and early 20th centuries in the North, at least in Stoughton and surrounding towns.
Unfortunately, this fact is forgotten or not known by scholars and those who sing the New England music from The Sacred Harp, and other contemporary tune books, like The Northern Harmony (1998) and The Norumbega Harmony (2003).
They all fail to mention the important singing tradition in Stoughton that has been continuous since the 1760s.
The only event ever mentioned about Stoughton is the famous singing school taught there by William Billings in 1774. It is incorrect to say that Billings actually organized the Stoughton Musical Society, though he was greatly admired and five of the pupils in his singing school later joined the musical society when it was organized in 1786. Much more has happened in Stoughton since that time.
Also, these singing traditions in the North and South are not the same.
The Sacred Harp (or Shape-note) Tradition features a different singing style, with more emphasis placed on lung power and less on subtle singing. It is a much better known tradition than the one from Stoughton, and much appreciated, as it should be.
The Stoughton Tradition has been a more cultivated one. Like the Sacred Harp Tradition, the singers are not usually professional musicians. In the past, most of the chorus was made up of singers from many nearby towns in the Stoughton area. Their concerts have often included many of the same people who meet to enjoy the singing experience. It has remained the longest such tradition but unfortunately seems to have lost its way in the present day, with far fewer good singers and a change of repertoire away from the singing of early New England tunes.
For two centuries, 18th century choral music was continued by the Stoughton Musical Society, and deserves to be remembered for that achievement.
Most Performed Early New England Tunes
As compiled by Roger Hall, these are the top ten most performed tunes in Stoughton Musical Society concerts between 1882 and 1982:
No. 1: NEW JERUSALEM - Jeremiah Ingalls, 1764-1838
No. 2: CHESTER - William Billings, 1746-1800
No. 3: MAJESTY - William Billings
No. 4: VICTORY - Daniel Read, 1757-1836
No. 5: TURNER - Abraham Maxim, 1773-1829
No. 6: INVITATION - Jacob Kimball, 1761-1826
No. 7: ANTHEM FOR EASTER - William Billings
No. 8: CONFIDENCE - Oliver Holden, 1765-1844
No. 9: ODE ON SCIENCE - Jezaniah Sumner, 1754-1836
No. 10: NEW BETHLEHEM - Edward French, 1761-1845
The year 2011 marks the centennial of the death of Stoughton composer and town benefactor, Edwin Arthur Jones (1853-1911). In addition to his musical activities, Jones also designed the Stoughton Town Seal, which includes a music symbol.
On Sunday, March 13, 2011 at the Stoughton Historical Society, musicologist and Jones biographer, Roger Hall, presented several of his DVDs to Dwight MacKerron, Historical Society President. Roger also gave a slide show about the music of E.A. Jones at their monthly meeting.
E.A. Jones and Isabella Stewart Gardner:
On April 28, Roger Hall discussed and played a string quartet by E.A. Jones which was first performed at the home of Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston in 1889. This discussion was part of the Stoughton Reads Together series about the book, The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Heist by Ulrich Boser.
2010 marked the 250th anniversary year of what is believed to be the first singing school held in New England.
According to Daniel T.V. Huntoon, Elijah Dunbar, a recent Harvard College graduate, returned to his hometown of Stoughton and taught a singing school there in 1760. More singing meetings were held in the years that followed and by 1774, the Boston composer, William Billings, the Father of American Choral Music, came to town to teach another singing school.
One of the early New England Christmas carols was by Edward French in 1799...
To help celebrate this 250th anniversary, Roger Hall, Director of the New England Music Archive, presented a music program for the Randolph Historical Society, in the Jonathan Belcher House, 360 North Main St., Randolph, on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
The program was titled, "The Christmas Sings in Randolph."
He read excerpts from his new latest publication on DVD: "OLD STOUGHTON" – Singing Meetings and Concerts and focused on the Christmas Day concerts held in Randolph, and also compared them to a story by the popular 19th century writer, Mary Wilkins Freeman, who wrote about a Christmas sing in Randolph, published in The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1897.
Here are a few of the old New England tunes performed in an 1896 Christmas Sing in Randolph:
INVITATION -- Jacob Kimball
VICTORY -- Daniel Read
MAJESTY -- William Billings
NEW BETHLEHEM -- Edward French
NEW JERUSALEM -- Jeremiah Ingalls
"This reprint is a most welcome offering for anyone interested in examining our native musical heritage, particularly those concerned with the choral tradition... This volume should furnish hours of pleasant singing -- useful in the church, concert hall and the home."
--from a review by David P. McKay, The Hymn, 1982
"William Billings' songs to be remembered, Celebration set Oct. 6 at Boston Common,"
Stoughton Journal, September 26, 1996.
Huntoon, Daniel T.V.
History of Canton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Cambridge, MA: John Wilson and Son, 1893. Includes a chapter on music in Canton and Stoughton.
Jones, Mary (Swan) and Frank W. Reynolds
History of the Musical Society in Stoughton, undated history [sub-heading "Formed in 1762" is incorrect. This society was formed officially on January 1, 1802.]
"Choral group gets credit as nation's oldest" The Patriot Ledger newspaper, January 8/9, 1994.
Story about Old Stoughton Musical Society being listed in The Guinness Book of World Records.
Standish, Lemuel, editor
The Old Stoughton Musical Society: An Historical and Informative Record of the Oldest Choral Society in America. Stoughton, Massachusetts, 1929.
PART ONE: William Billings - His Life and Music
1. Family Tree
3. Wife and Children
5. Revolutionary Patriot
6. Singing Master and Composer
PART TWO: William Billings and Old Stoughton
7. The Singing School
8. The Stoughton Musical Society
9. First Tunebook
10. Second Tunebook
11. Chicago World's Exposition Concerts
12. Billings Tunes in Stoughton Concerts (1876-1986)
THE PLEASURES OF VARIETY (Text: William Billings/
Music: Roger Hall)
COME LET US SING (Text: William Billings/ Music: Roger Hall)
MAJESTY (music by William Billings, 1778)
STOUGHTON (music by William Billings, 1770, edited by Roger Hall)
Music Activities in Stoughton (1980-1999)
This monograph is in very limited supply and single copies may be ordered by writing to:
Learn about one of the oldest singing traditions
in the United States.
Music in Stoughton: A Brief Survey
This pamphlet, written by Roger L. Hall, covers the years from the first recorded singing meetings in 1762 to the Bicentennial of the Old Stoughton Musical Society's Constitution in 1987. It also includes other major music events such as: Oldest choral society in America organized (1786); Second musical society organized (1802); First oratorio by a local composer (1887); Only musical group representing early American music at World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893); George Washington Bicentennial Concert (1932), Old Stoughton Musical Society Bicentennial (1986).
At the back of the pamphlet are lists of Most Performed American Tunes (1879-1979) and Most Performed American Composers (1976-1986).
Also included is the song titled, "Peace," specially composed by Roger Hall in 1981 for the Centennial of Stoughton Town Hall. This song is based on an anti-war poem written by a Stoughton teenage girl in 1814 about the War of 1812.
The Stoughton Songster
A collection was compiled and edited by Roger L. Hall and includes lyrics for 12 songs performed in Stoughton concerts between 1980 and 1990.
Included are songs by Stoughton composers:
Edwin A. Jones, Frank W. Reynolds, F.William Kempf, and Roger Hall. Also there are original lyrics to "Yankee Doodle" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
All the songs are available on the accompanying CD, along with a radio special about the 200th anniversary of the Old Stoughton Musical Society in 1986.
The 12 song and hymn lyrics included in
The Stoughton Songster:
CD No. 1: Music in Old New England, 1778 - 1878 (21 tracks)
Radio broadcast with narration by Roger Hall of highlights from the Old Stoughton Musical Society's First Fall Music Festival in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on October 14-15, 1978.
Featuring choral music by William Billings, Bartholomew Brown, Samuel Capen, Lewis Edson, Jeremiah Ingalls, Edwin Arthur Jones, Nahum Mitchell, and organ music by James Hewitt, Oliver Shaw and others. The Old Stoughton Musical Society Chorus, William J. Childs, director. Richard Hill, organist.
CD No. 2: "A Dedication Concert"
(In Honor of the 100th Anniversary of
Stoughton Town Hall)
Read more about this concert presented by the Old Stoughton Musical Society, conducted by Roger Hall, on November 22, 1981 --
A survey of music covering two centuries from the 1770s to 1980s, performed by the Old Stoughton Musical Society. Including music by: Supply Belcher, William Billings, Samuel Capen, Stephen Foster, Edward and Jacob French, Roger Hall, Oliver Holden, Jeremiah Ingalls, Charles Ives, Edwin Arthur Jones, and Daniel Read.
CD No. 4: The Stoughton Harmony (27 tracks)
A selection of choral music by New England composers from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, including: William Billings, Samuel Capen, Stephen Foster, Edward French, Roger Lee Hall, Jeremiah Ingalls, Charles Ives, Edwin Arthur Jones, and Daniel Read. These are the track titles:
1. The Star Spangled Banner - 19th century choral arrangement
Music By William Billings (1746-1800) 2. STOUGHTON - 1770 (ed. by Roger Hall) - First Performance, 1986
3. SHARON - 1778 (ed. by Roger Hall) - First Performance, 1980
4. BOSTON - 1778
5. CHESTER - 1778 & 1786 (with Paul Revere bell)
6. MAJESTY - 1778 7. THANKSGIVING HYMN (tune: KITTERY)
8. DAVID'S LAMENTATION - 1778
Music From Federalist Era 9. CONSTITUTION SONG (1788)
10. ODE TO PRESIDENT GEORGE WASINGTON (1789)
- excerpt from historical play celebrating U.S. Constitution (1987)
11. MOUNT VERNON - Oliver Holden, 1799
Music From New England Singing Masters
12. CORONATION - Oliver Holden (1793)
13. VICTORY - Daniel Read (1793)
14. NEW JERUSALEM - Jeremiah Ingalls, 1796
15. NORTHFIELD - Jeremiah Ingalls
16. NEW BETHLEHEM - Edward French, 1799
17. THE DOVE - Samuel Capen, 1805
Civil War Years: 18. JOHN BROWN and BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
(original versions, 1860s)
19. GIVE US THIS DAY - Stephen Foster, 1863
The Gilded Age:
20. SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE PILGRIMS - Temperance Hymn
21. OLD STOUGHTON - Edwin Arthur Jones, 1886
22. THE LORD IS KING - Edwin Arthur Jones, 1890
23. EASTER CAROL - Charles Ives, 1892
24. O, BOSTON - arr. by Roger Lee Hall, 1980
(Boston's 350th anniversary)
25. DEDICATION - Roger Lee Hall, 1986
(Old Stoughton Musical Society's 200th)
26. PEACE - Roger Lee Hall- First Performance, 1981
27. SONG OF THE OLD FOLKS (tune: AULD LANG SYNE) -
Boston's 350th in 1980
Would you like to schedule a lecture or workshop about "Singing Stoughton"? Read more at this link:
Thanks to the efforts of musicologist and composer Roger Lee Hall, the Old Stoughton Musical Society (OSMS) was listed as America's oldest choral society in The Guinness Book of Records and in Chase's Calendar of Events.
For many years Roger has been involved with music preservation. He served as the first Chairman of the Stoughton Arts Council from 1980 to 1984, and also was a member of the Massachusetts Arts Advisory Committee during the 1980s.
Also, Roger was the Chairman of the Old Stoughton Musical Society Bicentennial Committee in 1986.
In the 1980s he discovered the manuscript music of E.A. Jones and especially his major work, the 1881 cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra titled, Song of Our Saviour, which received its World Premiere performance in Stoughton in 1992 and was written about in the Boston Globe.
Roger was the OSMS conductor for several seasons and composed two commemorative works for them: